Samsung's launch event for the Galaxy S8 is done and dusted.
So, what did the company announce? Well, obviously we saw the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus flagships smartphones, but those weren’t the only devices on display. Samsung also updated product lines ranging from smart home to virtual reality. Here's everything you need to know.
What did Samsung announce?
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus
The new Galaxy S8 comes in two sizes, the regular model offering a 5.8-inch display and the S8+ offering a 6.2-inch display. Unlike the S7 devices, there's now no flat model. Both have dual curved edges. Samsung also opted to change the aspect of the display to make them taller, so while that 6.2-inch display sounds huge, the phone is only about as wide as a 5.5-inch device and not much taller.
Adapting to this new 18.5:9 aspect ratio sees some ambitious and significant changes to the Galaxy S. There's no physical home button, moving to a pressure sensitive display arrangement for the home button, with customisable navigation controls on the screen. The fingerprint scanner moves to the rear alongside the 12-megapixel camera. Read more about the Galaxy S8 here and Galaxy S8 Plus here.
Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S8 open immediately and run until 19 April. Deliveries start from 20 April for pre-orders, with general availability from 28 April. The Samsung Galaxy S8 price is £689, while the Galaxy S8 Plus price is £779.
orget about Google Assistant, Samsung's new Android flagships, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ sport their own voice assistant called Bixby. Fully announced via a Samsung blog post, Bixby is an AI system that's designed to make device interaction easier, specifically designed to avoid the complexity of increasingly fully-featured devices. It will make its debut on the Samsung Galaxy S8 devices.
It is also designed to work across a range of Samsung products. The service essentially works in the same way as other AI solutions like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa in that it listens to your voice, interprets the information and returns the resulting action. The contextual awareness means you can get it to take actions without laboriously detailing exactly what to do with what.
New Gear VR with Controller
Samsung's new Gear VR headset was technically unveiled at Mobile World Congress a month ago, but now we know it is compatible with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S Plus. Samsung revealed its support along with Samsung VR, a new platform that will showcase virtual reality content and provide users of Samsung devices a way to find and view 360-degree content and experiences easily.
Samsung VR will have over 8,000 videos and 2,000 "premium experiences" available to watch, play and use at launch. The new Gear VR headset is again designed by Oculus for mobile virtual reality apps and gaming. It comes with a dedicated, wireless controller, which features a one-handed, ergonomic design with a touchpad to restrict head movement and ensure a more comfortable experience.
The new Gear VR cost $129.99 and will ship on 21 April. It is compatible with the Galaxy S8, S7, S6, and Galaxy Note 5. The controller, which comes bundled with new Gear VR, costs $39.99. If you preorder a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, you will get the Gear VR and controller for free.
New Gear 360
Samsung has introduced an all-new Gear 360 virtual reality camera to coincide with the launch of the Samsung VR content platform. The new Gear 360 ushers in 4K recording for the first time from its dual 8.4-megapixel cameras and Bright Lens F2.2 aperture, both with fisheye lenses. With the new camera comes a new design too, which makes the Gear 360 more ergonomic than before for holding in your hand.
It also ditches the small tri-pod of the old model in favour or a small rubber-disced bottom. You can access a number of viewing modes, editing tools and photo effects and filters to add to your videos and images, and everything you do create can be easily shared. Alternatively, content can be stored on a microSD card inside the camera up to 256GB. Compatible smartphones include the entire Samsung Galaxy lineup.
Apple iPhone SE users and above can connect to the Gear 360, too, as can Windows and Mac computers. Pricing and availability of the new Gear 360 are yet to be revealed.
Samsung Connect Home
At its core, Samsung Connect Home provides mesh-based Wi-Fi to boost your connectivity at home. With a mesh router, you can get online anywhere in your house. There will be no more spots where connectivity is slowed or just doesn't reach. Imagine being able to stream in the living room and kitchen while someone else games in the basement - all without any contest for bandwidth or Wi-Fi congestion.
Another unique aspect of Samsung Connect Home is that it doubles as an Internet of Things Hub, meaning it allows different connected devices from different manufacturers to communicate with each other, and you can control them all through a smartphone app. It can directly communicate with connected gadgets over Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, Zigbee, or Z-wave. These gadgets include things like Philips Hue lights.
The "standard" version has a 2 x 2 MU-MIMO antenna array and a slower 710MHz quad-core processor at AC1300 (capped speeds of 866Mbps in the 5GHz spectrum), while the "Pro" version has a 4 x 4 antenna and a faster 1.7GHz dual-core chip. It supports quad-band 802.11ac at AC2600 (capped speeds of 1.7Gbps). The Pro version offers 1,500-square feet coverage, but unlike the standard version, it doesn’t come in a three-pack.
Samsung didn't announce pricing or release date information.
The DeX - a clever contraction of "desktop experience" - is the Android equivalent of Microsoft's Display Dock that launched with Windows 10 on mobile, allowing to use the power of your phone to run a desktop computing environment. Samsung said that it's enterprise ready, offering a way of using your Samsung smartphone as the brains behind your desktop computer.
The Samung DeX is a clever design as it folds out from its flattened puck shape to form a dock, with the back rest incorporating a fan for cooling the phone, and a USB Type-C in the base for power and data transfer. It features the following connections on the base: 2x USB 2.0, HDMI, Ethernet, and USB Type-C. This means you can set it up as a workstation. It's a good looking thing and a clever solution.
Samsung has yet to confirm how much DeX will cost.
Can you still watch Galaxy Unpacked 2017?
Yes. Samsung has posted an entire replay of the event so that you can watch the company unveil everything for yourself. But it's a 360-degree version, which allows you to view the action from all angles.