Samsung Galaxy S8: All you need to know

Samsung's flagship S series finally caught up with Apple's iPhones in terms of popularity and features, but will Galaxy S8 surpass iPhone 7 in terms of its capabilities and fan following?

Samsung Galaxy S8 has so far been the subject of varied rumours, the most interesting being its VR-capable hardware.

Even though the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge are still seven months away from launch, their arrival will be preceded by the Galaxy Note 7 early next month and probably Galaxy S7 Edge Plus later this year. Despite such phablets challenging the likes of iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7 Plus which will launch later this year, the importance of Galaxy S8 in effectively challenging what iPhones stand for can never be doubted.

Samsung's new 6GB LPDDR4 RAM may debut with Galaxy Note 6 phablet

According to Phone Arena, who are basing their reports on a news source from China, Samsung Galaxy S8 will feature a 4K Ultra HD display with a resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels. As of now, the only flagship phone with such a display is Sony's Xperia Z5 Premium, whose display also features a pixel density of an unheard of 806 ppi. Given that Apple may launch high-resolution OLED displays with its iPhones by next year, Samsung would do well to take the lead in this regard. However, the company will also have to launch a much more powerful battery to sustain the 4K display for a day or more.

Back in June, Injong Rhee, head of R&D for software and services at Samsung, said that the company is working on developing standalone VR headsets that will not need smartphones displays for their output. “We are working on wireless and dedicated VR devices, not necessarily working with our mobile phone. VR is amazing, but the industry is still at its infancy,” he said. Given that such headsets may take years to develop, patent and commercialize, the S8's 4K Ultra HD display might do all the hard work when mated with Samsung's Gear VR or its successors.

It is also rumoured that the Galaxy S8 will be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 830 processor whose architecture will be based on an energy-efficient 10nm FinFET process and which will probably offer support for virtual reality content. Given that Samsung used both Exynos 8890 and Snapdragon 820 SoCs in Galaxy S7 devices, we don't think Samsung would want to do away with Qualcomm processors altogether by next year. However, we won't be surprised if all Galaxy S8 handsets turn up with Exynos processors. Samsung has been working towards indigenising all its products and their components for a while. A perfect example of such an approach is Samsung's Gear S series smartwatches. Since the inaugural Gear S, all Samsung smartwatches have been powered by the company's home-grown Tizen OS in place of the dominant Android Wear platform.

Samsung will launch Galaxy Note 7 on August 2

Samsung may also launch the Galaxy S8 with its new 10-nanometer LPDDR4 6GB smartphone RAM which is also expected to power the upcoming Note 7 phablet. Apart from featuring a higher capacity, the new RAM is based on a 10nm standard which, compared to the existing 14nm standard in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge devices, will consume lesser energy and will thereby increase the battery life of phones.

Samsung is also putting finishing touches to its Samsung Music app which is set to be released with future Samsung handsets. At the moment, the app is somewhere between a beta stage and a full-fledged version. Launch back in May on the Google Play Store, it is presently intended for developers and enthusiasts to try it out, get used to it and suggest changes which can make it even better. Built specifically for Samsung's Galaxy phones, the app is getting constantly updated and apart from getting rid of bugs, it is also filling up with new features and functionalities. Our money is on Samsung Pay launching officially with the Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress early next year.

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