After months of leaks, speculation and constant scrutiny, Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930) finally launched their next generation of flagship smartphones. Named the Galaxy S8 and S8+, the devices offer a host of new features, not the least of which is increased screen size of 5.8 inches and 6.2 inches, respectively. 2017 is already shaping out to be a very exciting year for the smartphone industry, with the launch of the highly rated LG G6, and the upcoming launch of iPhone 8, possibly Google Pixel 2, are set to add fuel to the fire.
A while back, we outlined how Samsung will have to produce something special to ensure the success of the Galaxy S8 and recover from the Note 7 fiasco. After this announcement, it seems like they have managed to do just that – that too in style!
Let us have a closer look at the new Galaxy S8 and what it could mean for the special 10th anniversary iPhone launch.
Samsung’s Evolving Design Philosophy
It wasn’t a long while ago that Samsung’s flagship phones were considered ugly and cheaply built. Samsung was renowned for providing the best specifications of any Android phone, but their design and build quality was sub-par. This is absolutely not the case anymore. Simply put, the new Galaxy S8 is a thing of beauty. It features an edge-to-edge curved “infinity display” housed in a seamless glass and metal construction. The display itself covers 83% of the screen with minimal bezels. This has allowed Samsung to fit a much larger screen compared to the iPhone 7 (4.7 inch) at the cost of a mere 1 mm width and 0.9 mm thickness. Similarly, the Galaxy S8+ fits a massive 6.2-inch screen in a package which is 4.5 mm narrower and 0.7 mm thicker than the iPhone 7 Plus (5.5 inches).
The display itself has an enhanced resolution of 2960×1440 with a ppi of 568 and 531 on the S8 and S8+ respectively. This is considerably more than what the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer. Samsung, apparently, has managed to beat Apple in their own game. They have come up with a design that is arguably better than Apple’s, who have been using a similar one for the past 3 years.
It is vital that Apple shakes up the design of the iPhone 8 and return to the top as smartphone design kings if they are to compete with the Galaxy S8. If rumours are to be believed, Apple may end up beating Samsung in the display department if the iPhone 8 features an OLED display.
Samsung Going After The Productivity Space
One of the unexpected highlights of Samsung’s announcement was the Dex docking station. This will allow the Galaxy S8 to be used as a desktop computer with external displays. Samsung claims to have optimised Android 7.0 for a bigger screen experience and added features such as multi-window support and UI optimisation. Samsung has also announced that consumers will be able to run full Windows OS on the S8 via software such as VMWare.
This can potentially be a major revolution for the future. For years, Apple has been lauded for their seamless experience across devices. Samsung has decided to go one step further and try to create a one-device solution for all needs. It could eliminate the need for laptops and tablets for many people. As we reported before, mobile adoption is expanding at the expense of desktops. This move by Samsung can potentially exacerbate that situation.
Bixby Is Here, And Siri Should Be Worried
Like we outlined in a previous article, Samsung will unveil their new virtual digital assistant “Bixby” with the Galaxy S8. The industry has high hopes for Bixby, especially since it is developed by the original Siri creators. Samsung’s demo showcased Bixby’s ability to understand more complex commands as well as its deeper app integration. In fact, Samsung claims that anything that can be done by touch in-app, can now be done by Bixby as long as the app supports Bixby integration. This would be a bad news for Apple and Siri, whose functionality is still limited compared to the competition. It is clear that major improvements to Siri will have to be made in order to compete with the likes of Alexa, Bixby and Google assistant.
The icing on the cake is the fact that Galaxy S8 will be shipped with both Bixby and Google Assistant.
The Value Proposition
Besides the considerable innovation, Samsung also seems to be striving towards providing a more enticing package to its customers. The Galaxy S8 will feature top of the line specs and other innovations like the iris scanner, stereo speakers, wireless charging etc.. Samsung, however, is now providing Harman AKG headphones worth $99 with each phone. They are also offering an Oculus headset, controller and free games as pre-order bonuses, all at a reported price of $750 and $850 for the Galaxy S8 and S8+ respectively.
In comparison, the price of iPhone 8 is expected to hover $800 and the premium variant of iPhone is rumoured to cost over $1000. To justify such an exaggerating price, Apple will have to come up with a really innovative iPhone with jaw dropping features. Otherwise, they may end up losing ground to Samsung.
- Samsung seems to have beaten Apple at their own game and created a better-designed device than the iPhone.
- Bixby poses a real threat to Siri and could be a major selling point for Samsung.
- Samsung is attempting to market the S8 as the single device solution for all productivity needs.
- The Galaxy S8 will reportedly be considerably cheaper than the iPhone 8. Apple will need to produce a really innovative product in order to compete.