The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ launched in spring 2017, but speculation for their successors is already in full flow. As is always the way, as soon as one great device appears, there are always those wanting more.
Here are all the rumours relating to what we assume will be called the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ when they launch, though apparently codenamed "Star" for now. We've also thrown in a few things we'd like to see too so feel free to do the same in the comments.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Release date
- 25 February 2018 a potential launch date
- Earlier reveal than S8 has been suggested
- MWC 2018 being heavily rumoured
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ were officially announced on 29 March, with general availability starting on 28 April so we aren't expecting to see the S9 and S9+ before March 2018.
Twitter user Ricciolo1 has claimed the devices will launch earlier in the year than their predecessors, suggesting Mobile World Congress could be the launch platform again, though there have also been a couple of rumours suggesting a CES reveal. The S8 launch was reportedly a little later because of the availability of the hardware needed to power it. With production of the 10nm FinFET hardware now being better established, that delay is unlikely to happen again.
Business Korea believes the S9 and S9+ will be revealed at CES 2018, along with the LG G7, while Venturebeat claims "someone briefed on the company's plans" has said the two devices are expected to make their first public appearance at the Vegas show in early January. Venturebeat also adds there is still expected to be a March event though, suggesting if anything is revealed about the S9 and S9+ at CES, it could be something small.
We suspect that Samsung will be making some mobile announcement at CES 2018, but we doubt it will be the full device reveal, with Mobile World Congress much more likely. The traditional date would be 25 February in Barcelona and MWC is being suggested by Korean paper The Bell.
Sammobile has reported that there will be two models again this year and their model numbers are known as SM-G960 for the S9 and SM-G965 for the S9+.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Design
- Huge design changes not expected from S8 and S8+, apart from rear
- All-screen front likely to remain
- Fingerprint sensor built into display reported and disputed
We're not expecting huge design changes in terms of the front from the Galaxy S8 to the S9, with subtle changes more likely.
Leakster Evan Blass tweeted saying it would "definitely [be] a 'tock' year" for the devices, suggesting a minor update. That almost all-screen front from the S8 will remain a key design detail, along with the dual curved edges.
The rear of the S9 and S9+ is expected to change however, and according to Ice Universe, they will change "a lot", though the previously reliable source didn't expand on what these changes might be.
We wouldn't be surprised to see a dual-rear camera as the Note 8 offers, as well as a repositioning of the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor - the placement of the fingerprint sensor has been the most criticised element of the S8 and S8+. There's talk of a fingerprint sensor embedded in the display, something that hardware company Synaptics has confirmed will be available in 2018.
PocketNow recently reported this would be the case based on some unnamed industry sources cited by Korean media, though KGI reports this won't happen until the Note 9 and Ice Universe is "100 per cent" sure an under-screen sensor won't happen for the S9.
Apparently the S9 will see the sensor moved to a more ergonomic position, but not under the screen. That's been rendered on Twitter, as well as appearing in a leaked app, suggesting that a slight tweak in layout might be possible. More detailed renders from OnLeaks working with @MySmartPrice show what the S9 could look like in more details - previously many of these renders have been accurate, so we're pretty confident this is the S9+ design.
Another rumour suggests the S9 will take on a modular design, similar to the Motorola Moto Z series. Eldar Murtazin doesn't reveal his source but claims the S9 will be able to accommodate one mod at a time, though several mods could be stacked on top of each other. We can't really see this being likely: LG's modular approach was a disaster and Motorola's modular offering comes with compromises that Samsung currently doesn't have to deal with.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Display
- Screen sizes reported to remain same as S8 and S8+
- Infinity display expected again
- Super AMOLED panel and Mobile HDR Premium both likely
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the S9+, will no doubt continue the trend of the large display, minimal footprint. The S8 has a 5.8-inch screen, while the S8+ has a 6.2-inch screen, though thanks to their 18.5:9 ratios, their bodies are narrower than other handsets with smaller displays.
Whether the S9 will increase its display size further remains to be seen for now, though Korean site The Bell claims the Infinity Display will remain a key focus for the 2018 flagship. According to a PocketNow report, Korean Media has claimed the S9 and S9+ will both retain the current screen sizes so 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch respectively.
We'd expect the panel to stick with Super AMOLED, given it has offered Samsung so much success in the last few years and we'd also expect to see Mobile HDR on board again. By 2018, this latter feature is likely to be more prominent too as more content becomes available to take advantage of it.
Will Samsung increase the resolution from Quad HD+? Who knows. It wouldn't be too shocking to see a 4K display, especially since Sony offers one on its Xperia XZ Premium and given the trend for VR, but for now, it's guesswork.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Iris scanning
- Improved iris scanning reported
Iris scanning is present on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ and it works well so we'd expect to see the technology appear on the S9, probably further improved again.
There has been a Tweet to suggest the S9 will feature a 3D sensor front camera, though no further information was revealed.
However, there has been a more specific detail claiming that the iris scanner will increase in resolution to make it more capable, able to be used when wearing glasses or in low light. There are reports that Samsung is keen to get more banking apps compatible with iris scanning.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Camera
- Great performer expected
- Possibility of dual-rear camera setup
- Super slow-motion reported
The Samsung Galaxy S devices have offered excellent camera functionality since the Galaxy S6, improving year-on-year, so we'd expect the same from the Galaxy S9.
There aren't any rumours surrounding megapixels as yet, but expect a great performer, wide aperture and more advanced features, as is normally the way with a new flagship.
The Galaxy Note 8 features a dual-rear camera. It was the first Samsung device to offer this but it wouldn't be too surprising to see the S9 follow suit as it normally brings in a few of the standout features from the Note series. IceUniverse has claimed this will be the case and it will feature a new anti-glare coating called BBAR (Broadband Anti-Reflection) that will help protect against glare.
There have also been rumours to suggest Samsung is working on a 1000fps image sensor, which will allow the S9 to be capable of super slow-motion video recording, like the Sony XZ Premium. Samsung is apparently working on building the sensor itself rather than outsourcing to a third-party.
In other sensor news, Samsung has also announced two new ISOCELL sensors in the form of the Fast 2L9 and Slim 2X7, both of which are claimed to offer detailed pictures in low-light environments without a camera bump. There is currently no word as to whether either will be associated with the S9 or S9+.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Hardware
- Latest processor from Exynos or Qualcomm likely
- Increase in RAM plausible
- AKG Bluetooth in-ear headphones might come in box
Given the Galaxy S9 and S9+ will be flagship devices, powerful hardware is pretty much a given. We can therefore expect the latest processor from Exynos or Qualcomm under the hood, though which one will probably be region specific as it has been the last couple of years.
It is thought Samsung will use the Exynos 9810 chip which will apparently feature an integrated neural engine that will be responsible for AI tasks, freeing up some of the responsibilities of the main processor for improved battery life and performance, much as the SD845 offers.
The S8 and S8+ both have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, as well as microSD. Whether we will see any of these numbers increase isn't currently known but we wouldn't be surprised to see a jump in RAM to 6GB, especially given some devices like the OnePlus 5 and Note 8 already offer this.
Battery-wise, again it is not clear if we will see an increase in capacity for the S9, but there will no doubt be improvements in performance from the processor and the software, even if the capacity stays the same. USB Type-C is almost a certainty, while the 3.5mm headphone jack will probably remain questionable until launch.
There have already been conflicting reports surrounding the headphone jack on the S9. Ice Universe claims the headphone jack will remain for the S9, while Techdroider believes it won't. IceUniverse has said the Samsung Galaxy S9 will come with AKG Bluetooth in-ear headphones in the box, though adds that this doesn't mean the headphone jack will be removed.
With no renders or leaked images as yet, this is something that will likely be debated by numerous sources for several months to come.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Software
- Android Oreo with TouchWiz expected
- Bixby voice assistant likely
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ will no doubt launch on Android Oreo. It will also have Samsung's TouchWiz software over the top.
It's too early to tell what kind of features will be on board, but they will likely incorporate what we're expecting from Android Oreo, while also offering some Samsung-specific features too. We're expecting Bixby to be on board like the S8 and S8+, probably with some advancements, as well as Google Assistant.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+: Conclusion
For now, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are pretty much all guesswork. They will no doubt bring a host of improvements over the Galaxy S8 and S8+, as all succeeding flagships do but nothing has been confirmed as yet.
We'll keep this feature updated with any rumours that appear regarding the Galaxy S9 and S9+. If you're getting itchy feet and the S8 and S8+ don't tickle your fancy, it's worth having a look at our Note 8 feature for now to see if that device might be able to tick your boxes.