UPDATE: A leak on Chinese website Weibo claims that the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will feature more RAM and storage than the standard S9.
The rumour, which comes from an "insider", claims that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be available in two variants: a 4GB RAM/64GB model, and a 4GB RAM/128GB model, while the larger Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus will be available in three variants: a 6GB RAM/64GB model, a 6GB RAM/128GB model, and a 6GB RAM/256GB model.
In addition, the rumour states that Samsung could, if the demand is shown to be there, explore releasing a 512GB edition of the S9 Plus as well.
The extra RAM and storage does make sense to us here at T3 Towers for the larger handset, however, we will be interested to see in which territories these models get a release.
Samsung has revealed its latest custom smartphone processor, the Exynos 9 Series 9810, which almost certainly will feature in its upcoming flagship Galaxy S9 range of phones.
Intriguingly, on top of the usual improvements in speed and size that usually accompany new mobile CPU releases, the announcement also states that the Exynos 9810 will feature "sophisticated features to enhance user experience with deep learning-based software. This cutting-edge technology allows the processor to accurately identify items or persons in the photos for fast image searching or categorization. Furthermore, the Exynos 9810 enables a depth sensing feature to scan user’s face in 3D for face tracking filters as well as strong security when unlocking a device with one’s face."
Now to us here at T3 Towers that sounds incredibly like the sweet Face ID tech loaded into the iPhone X and, after seeing how slick and well implemented it was on Apple's flagship, it makes perfect sense that Samsung would work it into its latest handset.
In terms of raw specs, the Exynos 9810 has four performance cores than can reach speeds of up to 2.9GHz, and four efficiency cores for extending battery life when the device is in a low-power mode or application.
A fully operational device purporting to be a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus has been leaked on YouTube. The phone in the supposed hands-on video has been quickly debunked as a fake though, with it most likely a Chinese clone called the HDC S9. Interestingly, however, the device does seem to be based on most of the supposed leaked information about the S9, so whether or not Samsung's new device will look similar is still unclear, as too whether or not we will get a sneak peak at the handset at CES 2018.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 was released in mid-April last year, after an announcement in late March, but sources claim that won’t become a pattern. According to Bloomberg, Samsung plans to fully unveil its next-gen Galaxy S9 at an event in February 2018, with the device then hitting store shelves in mid-March. Considering the amount of precise details that are currently leaking out about the phone, such as the screen's aspect ratio (see immediately below), a month earlier release for the Samsung Galaxy S9 certainly seems feasible.
Sources speaking to GalaxyClub have said that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will feature the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio as the S8 but apparently it is going to have even smaller bezels - leading to even more screen space on the handset.
According to the comments, the screen-to-body ratio is going to be as high as 90 per cent on both the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus, while the continuation of the same aspect ratio is to ensure uniformity across Samsung's new smartphone range.
Will we see a glimpse of the S9 and S9 Plus at CES? Things are definitely still unclear right now...
Samsung has denied that the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be revealed at CES 2018, with a spokesperson for the company stating that “it is unlikely” to be demonstrated. The news of the apparent S9 no show at CES 2018 comes after renowned leaker Evan Blass said, over at Venture Beat, that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ would make a public appearance at CES in Las Vegas in January. He cited "someone briefed on the company’s plans".
Now handsets being shown off to select partners behind closed doors at CES would come as no surprise — phones that launch in the early part of the year often make appearances in private briefings at CES.
But a public outing for the new phones at CES? That would be new, so if that happens, we would expect a brief teaser rather than a full-on reveal. It may of course all be a bunch of smoke a mirrors, after all Samsung's quote isn't definite one way or the other, so we'll just have to wait and see. We'll be at CES so we'll let you know what happens.
Original story continues...
Whether or not you're a seasoned Samsung fan, there's no doubt the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 were some of the very best handsets of 2017, all minimal bezels and Infinity Displays and soft curves. They even held on to their fingerprint sensors too...
It's now more than six months since the first of those phones made its debut, which means it's time to start thinking about what Samsung is going to do as a sequel - the sort of features we might see on its flagship phone line next year. Here's what we know so far.
Samsung Galaxy S9: the story so far
Before we dive into the features we're expecting on the Samsung Galaxy S9 (and Samsung Galaxy S9+), let's remind ourselves of the features we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S8 (and Samsung Galaxy S8+).
It's hard to think of anything much that Samsung left out - these two phones had top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processors, up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (plus space for a microSD slot), and 12 megapixel, f/1.7 aperture rear-facing cameras.
Then of course there were the displays, 5.8 and 6.2 inches respectively, extending the screens to 18.5:9 aspect ratios and packing in more than 4 million pixels each.
Apart from that screen size, and the size of the overall chassis, there's not too much to choose between the two handsets - as of this year, they both now feature curved edges at each side. The bigger S8+ has a bigger battery, but it also has a bigger screen to power.
Add in bonus extras like wireless charging and waterproofing with an IP68 rating, and those are two big acts to follow. They act as a baseline for what we're expecting to see in 2018 - Samsung is going to try and raise the bar in some if not all those areas.
In particular the camera didn't receive much of a bump between the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Samsung Galaxy S8 - this is one place we might see a significant upgrade this time, which brings us on to...
Samsung Galaxy S9: features and specs
Let's start with that camera and it seems likely that we'll get a bump in this area - remember the Note 8 got an upgrade to a dual-sensor 12MP model, so there's every reason to suspect the Galaxy S9 will get the same improvements.
Another report suggests super-slow-mo video is going to be included for budding moviemakers, up to 1,000 frames-per-second if you need it.
Interestingly, there's a patent application doing the rounds that shows the fingerprint sensor might return to the front of the device via a notch down at the bottom of the screen. That would certainly be an improvement over the sensor placement on the S8 and S8+.
As for the internal power, it's likely that the rumoured Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 will be in the phone in some regions, and an upgraded Exynos chip in others. That should be paired with 6GB of RAM.
Reports from Asia say that the battery is going to get a major upgrade too, which wouldn't be a surprise - the battery packs inside the S8 and the S8+ weren't particularly huge, and everybody wants more battery life.
Samsung is also expected to match Apple with a 3D face-scanning system of some kind - you can already unlock the S8 and S8+ phones with your eyes, but the system in the Galaxy S9 should be much accurate, advanced and capable.
It looks like the S9 might be getting more smarts. A report on BGR.com posted on November 21 links to a tweeted image of a presentation slide naming Samsung’s Galaxy AI UX, featuring a Bixby logo on the same slide.
What does this mean? More artificial intelligence baked into the phone, especially in the Bixby assistant, probably.
This isn't a big surprise as AI is a huge focus for phone makers now.
We don't know anything else about the not-officially-announced Galaxy AI UX beyond this slide, but we'll bring you updated info as it surfaces.
There have also been hints that the Galaxy S9 will launch with a series of modular accessories, but as other manufacturers like LG and Motorola have struggled to make modular add-ons take off, we're not so sure about that rumour.
Samsung Galaxy S9: release date and price
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and its bigger sibling were announced and unveiled on 29 March, 2017, and so we're looking at around the same release date in 2018 for the Galaxy S9 and S9+, or perhaps earlier.
Interestingly, Samsung decided not to launch the phone at the big Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona at the end of February - that's something the company has done with its flagships in the past, and it may well go back to that routine next year. MWC 2018 is scheduled for 26 February to 1 March, though press launches usually happen a day or two before.
As for price, the Galaxy S8 originally retailed for £639 in the UK and $725 in the US SIM-free, with the S8+ coming in at £780 in the UK and $825 in the US SIM-free.
We'd expect the Galaxy S9 and S9+ prices to be around that level, too, though maybe just a touch lower.
These are Samsung's premium phones, after all - so they'll be commanding premium prices next year as well. With the iPhone X starting at such a high level, Samsung won't feel under too much pressure to cut its prices next time around.
There's no doubt the two Galaxy S8 phones have been big hits for Samsung this year, and that means the Galaxy S9 should be well worth waiting for - look for camera improvements, a Bixby that's better than ever, another Infinity Display screen, and maybe a few surprises as well.