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Everything We Think We Know About Samsung’s Next Galaxy Phone

Samsung is expected to release its first major smartphone since it recalled the Galaxy Note 7 sometime in early 2017.

The phone, which will presumably be called the Galaxy S8, is rumored to include a brand-new design and a smarter digital assistant, among other new additions. Tech pundits and investors will be eyeing this launch closely as Samsung looks to recover lost ground from the Note 7 fiasco.

Here’s a look at what to expect based on the rumors and reports that have emerged so far.

Winter or Spring Launch

In years past, Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy smartphones in February or March during Mobile World Congress, an annual tech conference in Barcelona. Next year, however, Samsung may introduce its new iPhone competitor as late as April, according to the Wall Street Journal.

New Virtual Assistant

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 could come with a new virtual assistant powered by technology from startup Viv Labs, which Samsung (SSNLF) agreed to acquire earlier this year. This digital assistant would allow Galaxy S8 owners to access third-party services just by speaking, as developers will be able to attach their services to it, Reuters reports. The phone may also include a dedicated button along the side of the device for summoning the assistant, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Apple, Amazon, and Google (GOOG) have also been working to enhance their own voice-activated assistants. Apple (AAPL) launched an update in September that enables iPhone owners to use apps like Uber and Venmo through Siri, making it possible to send cash or call a cab with one’s voice. Meanwhile, Amazon’s voice-controlled Alexa (AMZN) now works with more than 4,000 apps.

No Headphone Jack

Samsung’s next major smartphone may only include a USB-C port and no headphone jack, according to a report from blog Sam Mobile. Apple made a similar decision with its iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, both of which only feature a single Lightning port for charging and connecting accessories. The move could allow Samsung to make the phone thinner without compromising in other areas.

Camera Upgrades

Samsung’s next smartphone may include significant upgrades to both the front and main cameras. The front-facing camera is said to come with an autofocus feature that will make it possible to capture subjects more clearly from a distance, reports Korean news outlet ETNews. This would likely result in higher-quality selfies, crucial as apps like Snapchat continue to grow in popularity.

The Galaxy S8 may also get a dual-lens rear camera, according to a separate report from the same website. Although the report doesn’t specifically mention how a dual camera would improve image quality, companies like Apple and HTC (HTC) have added dual-lens cameras to their phones for creating photos that make subjects appear sharper against a blurred background or for including 3-D effects in images.

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New Design

Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 look almost identical, but this might not be the case for the Galaxy S8. Samsung may redesign its flagship phone with a new borderless screen that takes up the entire face of the device, says ETNews. This also means the S8 won’t include a home button, according to the report, with Samsung instead opting to implement fingerprint sensors beneath the phone’s glass screen. Apple may have a similar change in store for next year’s iPhone, which is also rumored to have an edge-to-edge glass screen.

Pressure-Sensitive Screen

The Galaxy S8 may include a screen that reacts differently depending on how hard a user presses it, according to the Investor. This would make it possible to zoom in on a photo or create app shortcuts by pressing harder on the screen, similar to the iPhone’s 3D Touch.

Samsung may add an early version of the tech to the S8 with full functionality coming in a year or two, the report says. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Samsung would add pressure-sensitive screen tech to the Galaxy S7, although Samsung has yet to release a phone with such a feature.

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