The Samsung Galaxy S10 is some way off - early 2019 - but the rumour mill is already turning. Following the launch of the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung's next big launch will be a new flagship device - and a 10-year anniversary device at that.
Rumours are few and leaks scarce, but we're picking through the details to form a picture of the next Galaxy handset.
Samsung Galaxy S10 release date
- Experience suggests MWC launch
- Likely to be in stores mid-March
Each year, rumours suggest that there will be an "earlier" launch of flagship devices. Rarely does this prove to be true, except in the case of the Note 7 in 2016, which moved the launch to early August. CES - January - often gets suggested as a launch venue, but with the world's biggest and most significant mobile phone conference at the end of February, it's the most likely venue for the Galaxy S10 to be announced.
Typically, Samsung holds a Galaxy Unpacked event in Barcelona on a grand scale on the eve of Mobile World Congress. To make an educated guess, we're looking at 24 February, the evening before MWC 2019 opens.
Sources are saying Samsung may finally introduce its much-rumoured foldable smartphone at Mobile World Congress 2019 in February, so we may see two devices. This early in the rumour cycle of either device, however, and there's plenty of time for things to change.
Samsung Galaxy S10 design
- Codenamed Beyond
- Likely to be a metal and glass design
- Likely to stick to two sizes
Korean website The Bell claims that Samsung's 2019 flagship handset will go by the name "Beyond" throughout its development process. As soon as we heard the name Beyond, we thought about Samsung's theme tune, Over the Horizon. It very much fits Samsung's ambitious thinking ideaology.
In reality, this early in the rumour cycle, we don't know much about what this phone might look like. Samsung's Mobile Division CEO, DJ Koh, apparently told Chinese media that big changes are coming, though he did not specify what these would be.
The current design is slim, high quality and distinctive with that Infinity Display but as it is the 10th anniversary of the Galaxy device next year, a radical change does make sense, as Apple did with the iPhone X in 2017. We suspect the bezels will reduce - perhaps with a small chamfered edge like the Note 9 - and we're expecting new colours, though at the moment it's too early to tell what other design changes Samsung might introduce.
Make sure you read the camera section below though, because that could change things quite considerably.
Samsung Galaxy S10 display, with fingerprint scanning
- In-display fingerprint scanner confirmed
Rumour has it that Samsung has been working on under-display fingerprint scanners for some time. We've heard that this will be coming from Qualcomm, with ETNews claiming that Samsung themselves have confirmed this. It's not the first: Huawei put an under-display scanner in the Porsche Design Mate RS and there's rumour that the OnePlus 6T will get it too.
Elsewhere on the display Ice Universe claims a boost in resolution.
Rumored that the screen resolution of the Galaxy S10 will exceed 600PPI— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) 14 May 2018
The Galaxy S9 and S9+ already offer incredibly sharp displays, with 570 and 530ppi respectively, but 600ppi would a big step forward. The 600ppi will likely be for the smaller S10, whereas the Galaxy S10+ will take a slight dip in density. For Samsung to achieve 600ppi in a similar 5.8-inch screen as the Galaxy S9, the resolution of the display will need to be increased to near 4K quality.
We're hearing the S10 will once again use Samsung's Infinity Display, but will increase in size ever so slightly, to 5.8-inches (up from 5.77) and 6.3-inches (up from 6.22) for the S10 and S10+ respectively. The display design has reportedly been finalised and will go into production in November, however, things can of course change between now and then.
Respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the S10 will come in three different sizes, according to Business Insider. Those three sizes will be 5.8 inches, 6.1 inches, and 6.4 inches. The larger two S10 models will likely be high-end versions, as they will feature in-display fingerprint sensors, while the smaller model, which will presumably be the entry-level version, will pack a fingerprint sensor on the back.
We're not convinced this will be the case - Samsung doesn't need three phones in this space.
What are the Samsung Galaxy S10 specs?
- Won't necessarily be 5G
- Likely to have latest Exynos and Snapdragon SoC
- 3.5mm headphone socket likely to stay
Ice Universe reckons that the phone will be a 5G handset and feature a dedicated neural processing chip. Here's his full, estimated spec list, for what it's worth:
- AI-specific chipset, with CPU, GPU and separate neural processor
- 5G modem
- UFS 3.0 storage
- LPDDR5 RAM
- 93 per cent or more screen-to-body ratio
- 9th-generation mobile Super AMOLED display
- 3D AI processing with camera
- L-shaped battery
In August 2018 Samsung put the dampener on the report of the S10 being a 5G phone. Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh told Korean journalists that the company is working with South Korean carriers to launch a 5G phone - but it won't be the upcoming Galaxy S10. That might not matter to most of the world, as 5G networks haven't yet rolled out.
Samsung is working on a separate 5G phone, though it gave no other details to the media, leaving many to suspect it'll be a one-off device distinct from the Galaxy S and Note lines. It's also unclear if it'll be its foldable phone, with Samsung confirming that it's planning multiple foldable phones, according to ZDNet.
Elsewhere, Samsung has a habit of offering the latest Exynos hardware and the latest Qualcomm hardware. The next generation is likely to move to 7nm for improved efficiencies, and in some system-on-chip forms is likely to be available with a 5G modem. Whether 5G is used or not, remains to be seen, we suspect Samsung will not equip phones with a 5G modem before the market is ready for it.
There are other little details we don't yet know - like whether Samsung is going to continue to offer a 3.5mm headphone socket. There's a rumour that the company is going to have an under-display ear speaker.
Samsung Galaxy S10 software
- Samsung User Experience
- Android Pie with Google Assistant
The new handset will run Samsung's interface on top of Android Pie. It's also likely the next-generation Bixby will be involved as well, but we don't think it will be hugely different to the Galaxy Note 9.
Samsung has incrementally moved its software along through recent devices. It's the most feature-packed and impressive reworking of Android and we don't think it needs changing. Certainly there are areas where Samsung is going to continue to expand, like SmartThings and Bixby, as it looks to expand connections to devices around the phone
Galaxy S10 camera: Three lenses?
- Three rear cameras
- Two front cameras
It's been claimed by Sammobile the 2019 flagship may come with a triple-lens camera, something Huawei introduced on the P20 Pro earlier this year. Details are scarce for now, but given Huawei's P20 Pro camera abilities, a triple lens system would be great to see from Samsung.
All About Samsung also believes the rear could have three lenses and the front could have two meaning the device - or, at least, the S10+ - could have an incredible five cameras. This all hinges on Samsung adding a wide-angle lens to its phone, following rivals LG. There's speculation that this might result in a dual-camera arrangement with dual-aperture and wide-angle on the Galaxy S10, and dual-aperture, wide-angle and zoom on Galaxy S10+.
It sounds a little like wishful thinking to us, but there's plenty of time for more rumours to circulate before we even get close to launch.