Samsung has officially launched its next smartphone — the Samsung Galaxy S8. The removal of a physical home button and the introduction of a new, Siri-like virtual assistant are the most noteworthy changes.
The immediately obvious change is that the home button, found in its predecessors and pretty much every major smartphone on the market, has been ditched. Instead, all commands will be executed by tapping on the stunning screen that curves around the phone’s sides. A pressure sensor and vibration module have, however, been added to provide feedback.
The other big addition is Bixby, a Siri-like virtual assistant that is activated by a dedicated side-button and allows apps to be controlled by voice. Samsung says it offers features absent in Apple and Google equivalents — though it remains to be seen exactly what they are.
There are two versions of the S8: the standard Galaxy S8 with a 5.8-inch screen and the larger S8 Plus with a 6.2-inch screen. The screens of both models have the same resolution as before, but are now brighter, supporting high dynamic range (HDR) playback of videos for extra clarity.
Other new features includes a more detailed eight megapixel front-camera with faster autofocus, a 10% more powerful graphics processing unit, an iris scanner (which will allow “eye-prints” to be used as an ID alternative to fingerprints), and a new Samsung Connect app that can be used to control smart home appliances.
The launch follows a disastrous last 12 months for Samsung after its Note7 was infamously recalled twice after fires.
Both new Galaxy S8 models are available for pre-order on March 30 and will be shipping in the U.S. on April 21. Pricing information has yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned for more information.
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