Samsung Galaxy S8 news and release date: Samsung's new flagship "delayed till April"

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is set to be announced after January’s Mobile World Congress show, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. An anonymous source told the paper that rather that announcing its new flagship phone at MWC as it has in the past it would wait until as late as April to unviel the new product. 

The delayed launch is likely to be down the company’s desire to ensure that the Galaxy S8 doesn’t have any repeat of the issues which troubled the Galaxy Note 7. The S8 is far more important to Samsung’s fortunes than the Note 7, and so any further major issues could be catastrophic.

Samsung has confirmed that it will be including a powerful new AI assistant in the Galaxy S8. Having bought Viv Labs Inc, an AI company run by the co-creator of Siri, Samsung clearly wants to put the technology to use in its newest handset.

It’s not entirely clear what Samsung plans to allow users and developers to do with the technology. Currently it has simply stated that developers will be able to “attach and upload services” to extend the AI’s functionality.

Samsung’s plan for an AI assistant in the Galaxy S8 is a smart one. Not only does it mean it won’t have to make use of Google’s inevitable Assistant rollout across Android, but it allows for Samsung’s flagship phone to become the main hub of a Samsung-appliance-led smart home. Seeing as the South Korean company is huge in the home appliances and white-goods market, its use of AI could be incredibly powerful for the home.

Those of you wondering if Samsung decided to disclose any other information around the Galaxy S8 will be sorely disappointed. We still have no official word on price, release date or any other specs and features. Still, I’m sure we can expect all those by the time Mobile World Congress comes around again next year.

Samsung Galaxy S8 could launch with a foldable companion phone

It looks as though 2017 could be a big year for Samsung, with rumours surfacing that the tech giant will launch as many as five flagship devices ­– including a high-end Galaxy S8 and a foldable Galaxy X. 

The rumours come from Samsung Mobile, which cites recent reports from Korea about Samsung’s plans to launch a foldable phone in 2017. Said reports seem to stem from social media, so have to be taken with a pinch of salt. They do however chime with long-standing rumours that Samsung is developing a foldable phone, supported by a number of patents filed over the past few years by the company.

According to the Korean posts, the foldable Galaxy X will feature a 4K display with diamond PenTile subpixel arrangement. The other alleged four flagships making Samsung’s 2017 lineup include the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Edge, Note 7 and Note 7 Edge. 

How a phone with a foldable touchscreen will slot into Samsung’s lineup is unclear. It makes sense for the company not to risk premiering such dramatic new tech with its headline Galaxy S line, although creating a whole new line of phones could end up spreading its device options too thin. 

08/07/2016: Samsung’s updated notification light – known as Smart Glow – has been mentioned a couple of times, namely through a diagram for the upcoming Galaxy J2. Now, a picture of the Galaxy J2 (2016), published by SamMobile, shows the next-gen notification feature in place. 

While the ring around the rear-camera of the pictured Galaxy J2 is white, the idea is that it’ll glow various colours to signal if you’ve missed calls or messages by specific contacts. It will also apparently be able to let you know if your battery is running low, or line up photos with the rear camera by glowing when the module detects a face.

Just because the Smart Glow is reportedly being used in the Galaxy J2, doesn’t mean it’ll make it into the Galaxy S8. The fact, however, that Samsung has linked up a lot of features to its new notification light – as well as claims that it’ll expand functionality in the future, to light up depending on the weather or the user’s heart rate – suggests there are plans to roll it out to future flagships.

If it does make it to the S8, Samsung may want to slim the bulky ring to fit with its leading flagship’s high-end aesthetic. It will also want to be careful not to turn its handset into a mini disco ball.

Samsung Galaxy S8 may get iPhone-style home button

In a world of very similar-looking rectangles, Samsung’s pill-shaped home button is one of the Galaxy brand’s few defining aesthetic features. It looks like that might no longer be the case for the Galaxy S8, however, with a pair of patents suggesting Samsung’s home button may get a redesign.

The first of the two patents, picked up by Patently Mobile, shows a circular home button, which the patent suggests could be used to house a fingerprint sensor. The shape of the new button looks, feels and (probably) smells like Apple’s iPhone design, although there are rumours that the iPhone 7 may scrap the home button altogether.

The other patent shows a fingerpad sensor on the back of the phone, placed on top of the device with a camera module shifted to the side. Of course, Samsung may end up using neither of these. Even if it does, they might not be used in the Galaxy S8. With rumours that the Galaxy Note 7 will get an iris scanner, fingerprint scanners may be on the way out.

Still, it suggests that the company is playing around with a more substantial redesign for the S8, compared to the similar look it honed with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7.

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