Apple is reportedly planning a major new update to the next iPhone, but Samsung might offer it first.
Samsung is considering delivering an all-screen face in its next handset, believed to be known as the Galaxy S8, Bloomberg is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. Rather than offer a traditional design with a screen on the front and a bezel all around, the Galaxy S8’s entire face could be a glass screen, making the display substantially larger than the current Galaxy S7. In addition, Samsung might move the device’s Home Button to under the glass, eliminating the physical button it uses now.
A slew of rumors have suggested that next year’s iPhone could come with new display technology that lets Apple (aapl) completely cover the face of the handset with glass. The display would stretch from one end of the face to the other and also come with a Home Button baked into the glass.
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If the Bloomberg report is true, Samsung could get the jump on the feature as the company is expected to announce its new handset in April. Apple is believed to be readying a new iPhone announcement for next September.
For Samsung, the Galaxy S8’s performance is critical. The company over the last several months has been riddled with trouble after it was forced to discontinue its Galaxy Note 7 after reports of its battery exploding and injuring owners. While it has apologized for the defect, it’s done little to help its ailing brand or pay the billions of dollars in losses it’s incurred because of the flaw.
The Note 7 was also designed to be Samsung’s answer to this year’s iPhone 7 and lead the company to a big announcement early next year with the Galaxy S8. Instead, Samsung is limping towards the Galaxy S8 on the back of the Galaxy S7, a smartphone that was released months ago.
Whether offering a dramatically new design in the Galaxy S8 will help Samsung overcome its challenges remains to be seen. Smartphone makers for years have been working on ways to make their smartphone’s screens more prominent and reduce the size of the bezels around the displays. So far, no prominent vendor has offered an all-glass face in the smartphone design due in part to manufacturing complexities. Now that manufacturers have caught up to the technology and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens that can accommodate such a design have become easier to produce, the time is ripe for major manufacturers to try it out.
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In addition to a new screen design, rumors are swirling that Samsung will deliver a better camera, more powerful components, and wireless charging in the Galaxy S8, expected to be announced next spring..
Samsung hasn’t confirmed its plans for any future handsets.