Recent leaks indicate that all of the aforementioned features and more are coming to Samsung's next flagship, but there still are many questions left. How are the under-display cameras going to work? Are there going to be holes in the screen instead of a notch? What about the iris scanner and the earpiece? And, of course, what is it the phone itself going to look like?
In an attempt to paint a clearer picture of what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S10 in terms of design and features, we dug deep in the well of rumors and information currently available about the upcoming flagship. In our research, we took into consideration not only the rumors currently circulating in the media but also a number of intriguing patents that could potentially shed more light on how the rumored under-display camera of the Galaxy S10 may work. Suffice to say, we stumbled on some very interesting stuff that makes us even more excited about Samsung's upcoming flagship.
Going from everything we've learned, we decided to create a series of conceptual renders of the Samsung Galaxy S10 that attempt to visualize and explain how the different features of the phone will work together. Without further ado, here they are.
Samsung has been adamantly anti-notch for quite some time now but at its developer conference earlier this month, the company revealed a series of notched displays that will most likely be coming to Samsung-branded devices in 2019 and beyond. These feature three distinctive styles of notch — V-shaped, U-shaped, and O-shaped — but what's got us interested the most is the fourth type of display, which is simply called "New Infinity" and has no notch. It was shown prominently on-screen during the presentation but wasn't addressed in any meaningful way on stage.
We can't say for sure whether the "New Infinity" tech will be ready for prime time for the Galaxy S10, but it clearly is Samsung's ultimate goal for mobile display technology. The Infinity V, U, and O are likely coming to Samsung's mid-range lineups, but we feel like the Galaxy S10 won't have a notch in the traditional sense. After all, Samsung spent so much effort lampooning Apple and Google, it would be quite strange to launch a milestone device like the S10 with a notch. Right?
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ could have front-facing cameras that you see only when they need to see you
If current rumors are any indication, the Samsung Galaxy S10 will have many under-display sensors, including a fingerprint reader, one or more front-facing cameras, earpiece, and possibly an iris scanner. This sounds cool and all, but it actually raises more questions than it answers. For one, may people are worried that these under-display cameras will actually manifest as cut-outs in the display. Understandably so, with all the notch hate going around, people wouldn't want holes in their screens (although this would arguably be a better solution than the notch, purely in terms of providing a bigger display area).
image source: JerryRigEverything
OnePlus 6T's in-display fingerprint scanner has a lens and an image sensor. On the right, you can see what the screen looks like with the camera removed. Turning on the phone with the scanner detached still produces a bright enough picture that almost completely hides the aperture under the screen.
Having a camera under the display is possible with OLED. Due to the technology's nature, specifically the fact it doesn't require a backlight, OLED displays can be transparent, yet still show images visible to our eyes. This is because OLED panels can emit visible light on their own, without the need for a separate light source behind them.
While doing research, we also stumbled on an interesting patent from way back in 2005, describing how this could be achieved with the then-emerging OLED display technology. The patent was filed for by technology designer and engineer David Hartkop, and though it didn't make it through the litigation process, it was published and has since been referenced by the majority of big mobile tech companies. Over the 13 years since it was published, the patent was referenced and cited by the likes of Apple, LG, Samsung, and many others, including Google, Sony, Essential, and Kodak. Samsung most recently cited Hartkop's idea in a 2015 patent for — you guessed it — a device with a camera (and other sensors) under its display.
patent by David Hartkop
This patent for a camera hidden behind an OLED display has been referenced by many tech companies over the years, including Samsung, Apple, and LG
We have already discussed the notch and its merits in length in our "Short History of the Notch" where we said we believe that this design choice is simply part of a transitional phase toward a bezel-less, notch-less future. And the only feasible, solid-state way to achieve this vision is by tucking away stuff behind the screen. There's always the "slider screen" solution that's becoming a bit of a trend with some Chinese brands, but history shows us that companies like Samsung and Apple are more likely to opt for solutions without moving parts (for obvious reasons). This is how we got the notch, and this is why the future of the selfie camera is under the screen.
The Galaxy S8 still looks relevant, but that won't be the case next year, if the Galaxy S10 adopts true bezel-less design
Of course, to implement an under-screen, high-quality front-facing camera would be more difficult than using an in-display fingerprint scanner of any variety. That's because an optical fingerprint reader needs to focus on your thumb on the screen, while a selfie camera would need to focus beyond the screen and on your face. This introduces a number of potential issues about the transparency of the screen and how content is displayed there. All of this, according to Harktop's patent, could theoretically be solved by temporarily changing the frame rate of the screen in a way that leaves a fraction of a second per frame that is entirely blank. The camera could then be synchronized to shoot moment when the blank portion of the image refresh is passing in front of the lens' position behind the screen.
Samsung Galaxy S10 will almost certainly use an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner
One of the things that's almost certainly going to be under the display of the Galaxy S10 is the fingerprint scanner. According to reliable sources, it's not going to be an optical sensor, but rather a faster (and more expensive), Qualcomm-made ultrasonic fingerprint reader.
Ultrasonic technology uses sound to map your fingerprint. The module sends a wave of pressure through the display and onto your finger, that then bounces off of the ridges of your fingerprint and returns to the sensor to generate a 3D map of it (this happens ultra-fast, don't worry). Ultrasonic fingerprint readers can also work through both glass and metal, and with wet fingers as well, because the pressure waves can pass through thin materials and liquids.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ is rumored to have a triple camera setup, while the regular Galaxy S10 is said to feature two main cameras. The dual-camera setup is expected to follow in the footsteps of the Galaxy S9+ and the Galaxy Note 9 and combine a regular shooter with a wide-angle, while the triple camera of the S10+ is said to pack regular, wide-angle, and telephoto snappers altogether.
Whatever configuration Samsung chooses, it's most likely going to be the next big step in Galaxy cameras and possibly even smartphone photography is a whole.
We don't know whether Samsung would go for a vertical or a horizontal camera setup for the Galaxy S10+, but we feel like the vertical design has more of a 'Galaxy' feel to it
In recent times, as smartphones have become increasingly homogenous in terms of design, color has made a big come-back as a major differentiating factor. In the pre-smartphone days, cell phones used to be quirky and colorful — many of them, anyways — but as physical keypads made way for immersive touch screens, sending prices on a never-ending hike, people started taking their pocket computers seriously. A bit too seriously, perhaps. Suddenly, most everything was black, white, or silver. Thankfully, over the last year, smartphone manufacturers have decided to bring some much-needed vibrancy to their products – a trend that arguably started with Huawei's P20 Pro and its dazzling gradient finish, and continues still.
Samsung, give us a special 'Galaxy' edition color for the S10!
If recent rumors are to be believed, the Samsung is planning to give the Galaxy S10 some dazzling gradient finishes. We have no idea yet what colors may be combined, but we think that emerald green to blue, blue to orange, and purple to black would look quite nice. And if Samsung decides to go the extra mile and give us a special 'Galaxy' color for the S10? Heck, we'd be all over that, though the actual chances of this happening are rather slim, we'd say.
We think a blue-to-orange gradient finish would look great on the Galaxy S10
But tell us what colors you want to see and what you want from the Galaxy S10 as a whole. Would you be disappointed if the S10 had a camera cut-out on the screen? What if it were as awesome as in our concept images, would it be an insta-buy for you? Tell us in the comments below!
Also, if you'd like to see more of our Samsung Galaxy S10 concept renders, don't forget to check out the gallery at the end of this post.
Disclaimer: The images featured in this material have been made by PhoneArena and are based on preliminary information about the respective device(s), such as, but not limited to, factory CAD blueprints and live photos of the device(s), or accessories thereof. As such, the images found herein may not be fully representative of the final design of the device(s).