Samsung Galaxy S10 predictions - what's reasonable to expect and what's probably not happening
This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Galaxy S10 family concept by @WaqarKhanHD
Yup, it’s (almost) that time of year again. Only a few big smartphones are left to be unveiled by the end of the month, after which you’ll need to make that impossible decision. Will you buy a new flagship this holiday season? If so, which one suits your needs best? If not, what are you waiting for?
If the answer to the latter question is the Samsung Galaxy S10, let us start by saying we totally get that. While it’s definitely hard to argue with the appeal of the Galaxy Note 9, S9+, or even the regular, single-cam GS9, the world’s top smartphone vendor is widely expected to be preparing something special for an early 2019 announcement.
Left to right - the Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy S8+
Then again, there’s a good reason why the company’s 2018 high-end designs look so similar to their predecessors. It’s probably not because radical changes are coming next year. Instead, this is a design language that just works.
But let’s analyze existing rumors one by one and try to conclude what’s reasonable to expect from the Galaxy S10 and what’s... not so much:
Do you ever find yourself dreaming of a simpler world where foldable phones have become standard and we’re no longer bombarded with rumors of delays, production setbacks, and more and more companies interested in making this concept a commercial reality?
This is certainly an exciting but tricky concept
Fortunately, it seems the Galaxy F is happening at last. For real. Probably. But even though Samsung’s bigwigs insist this won’t be a gimmick and you will be able to buy it worldwide as early as next year, the foldable technology is certainly not ready for adoption on such a mainstream device as the S10. It may not be ready in time for the Galaxy S11 either.
Besides, the real-life benefits of a tablet-style gadget you can also use as a phone, then easily store in your trouser pocket, are unlikely to justify the high costs of such a risky build. Even if foldable devices do end up standing the test of time, the ever-shrinking popularity of tablets suggests the masses may not be very excited about this hybrid type.
Verdict: Probably not
Significant design changes?
What exactly does “significant” mean? That’s the question we need to answer before attempting to decipher and extrapolate from recent statements by Samsung Mobile President DJ Koh.
Are snazzy new colors significant enough? How about two new biometric identification methods? A few extra cameras and a larger than ever product lineup?
The Galaxy Note 9 is already an engineering marvel
If those sound like exciting upgrades to you, Samsung’s tenth Galaxy S-series release is bound to make you very happy. But if you’re anticipating some other type of revolutionary aesthetic alteration, you may want to prepare yourself for a world of disappointment.
It’s obviously too early to be certain of these things, but unless Samsung discovers some new extraterrestrial technology between now and February or March 2019, odds are the Galaxy S10 will be a rectangular (rigid) slab with a large and beautiful screen, as well as razor-thin bezels.
Verdict: Let’s be rational
For this section, I would like to quote a few relevant Samsung Mobile US tweets. “The notch-free life is a good life.” “If you like having more RAM, expandable storage, and living notch-free, we’ve got you.” “Time to botch the notch.” And, of course, my personal favorite, this perfectly scathing description of everything that’s wrong with the Pixel 3 XL notch - “you could land a plane on it.”
There will be none of this on the Galaxy S10
Now, granted, certain companies have been known to mock certain others before eventually following their suit, but these are all fresh tweets. So, yeah, notch haters are probably safe for at least one more Galaxy S generation. No idea about headphone jack devotees, however.
Verdict: No way, Jose
Who needs a tablet that can fold into a phone when you can have a phone capable of switching to a full desktop experience without a docking station, a pad... or even a cable?
Of course, the DeX Mode software is not perfect and there are plenty of “serious” computing things you can’t do with your Galaxy Note 9 just yet. But more than anything, a wireless DeX connection would make for a great Galaxy S10 sales hook.
Verdict: A strong maybe
This is an older rumor you may have forgotten about, but it makes just as much sense now as it did before the Note 9 saw daylight looking pretty much like an S Pen-wielding Galaxy S9+. The Galaxy Note family had a good run, but what’s the point in keeping it around now?
It’s no longer experimental, it’s no longer bold, and it might be cannibalizing sales rather than maximizing them. Besides, if Samsung truly believes in the mainstream future of foldable phones, certain resources will need to be shuffled around. It simply wouldn’t make sense to go from two to three flagship lineups.
Verdict: Not as unlikely as you think
All the cameras in the world
It’s not about the number, it’s how you use them. If you don’t believe us, remember the excellent job Google did with the single rear-facing shooter of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re not drooling in anticipation of the commercial release of the world’s first quad-camera phone.
Interestingly, the Galaxy S10 is tipped to play it “safe” with no more than five cams in total. We’re talking “only” three rear snappers, as well as two selfie cameras, at least as far as an “ultra-premium” variant is concerned.
But the dual-lens Note 9 is already an impressive performer, so adding a third imaging sensor could well take things to the next level in terms of wide-angle photography.
Verdict: Prepare to be dazzled
Moar processing power
How much faster can a phone get? These diminutive devices are already capable of things that seemed physically impossible just a few years ago, making laptops pretty much useless, but incredibly enough, the world’s first 7nm-based chips appear to be proving there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
The sky is the limit for Samsung’s next-gen in-house Exynos beast, as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8150, a processor so radically upgraded that a new naming scheme is warranted.
Verdict: We ain’t seen nothing yet
The best in biometrics
Samsung may have missed its window to pioneer in-display fingerprint sensors, but both that and 3D facial recognition methods are still hard to find in a Western flagship handset. Besides, it’s not always about being first. Being accurate, fast and secure is equally as (if not more) important. Then again, nothing’s etched in stone.
Who's ready to leave conventional fingerprint readers behind?
Verdict: Wait and see
Will the fourth Galaxy S10 version support 5G connectivity? Will it matter anytime soon? Will Korea be the only market to get it at first? These are just a few of our unanswered questions that could ultimately make or break an anniversary device in need of as many “hooks” as possible. But like age, it’s vital to keep in mind the 5 in 5G is just a number. We probably still have several years to go before the next mobile industry revolution truly kicks in.
Verdict: Patience, young grasshoppers