Samsung Galaxy S8: UK release date, price, specs and rumours

Samsung Galaxy S8 release date: rumours specs price
Samsung Galaxy S8 release date: Bixby AI to feature on new smartphone Credit: Evan Blass/Twitter

The next generation of Samsung's flagship smartphone, called the Samsung Galaxy S8, is due for release in the coming months. 

Samsung will be hoping to regain consumer trust after the botched release of the Note 7 phone last year with the S8. As part of its bid, it will bring some of the standout features of the recalled Note 7 to the S8, as well as safe batteries and a new AI assistant. 

Voice assistant Bixby, the much-rumoured artificial intelligence system, will be introduced when the Galaxy S8 smartphone is unveiled later this month, Samsung has confirmed. 

The device will be unveiled on Wednesday March 29 at 4pm.

What features and specs will it have?

Samsung is expected to ditch the home button on the upcoming Galaxy S8 to make way for a larger screen that fills the front of the device.

It will reportedly come in two sizes, with 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch curved edge screens - with the larger being called the Galaxy S8 Plus. The curved screen was used in the S6 and S7 Edge, but this would be the first time it features on both of Samsung's flagships.

Such large displays might sound like they mean enormous phones, but the screens are set to take up a massive 83pc of the front of the phone, meaning the size of the device itself will not change much.

Bixby 

Another standout feature will be Bixby, Samsung's first AI assistant designed to rival Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.

Samsung promises Bixby will offer users “a new way to interact with their phone”, claiming it is “fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market”. 

Bixby will be able to support any task users ask of it, as well as understand the current context of commands based on where a user is within an app or service on their device, according to Samsung. 

“Instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world, a reflection of the abilities of designers, it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us,” Samsung said.

“The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added.

“With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort.”

Bixby will be gradually applied to all Samsung appliances, the company added.

Edge-to-edge display

The only parts of the front not covered in screen will be a strip at the top containing an 8MP selfie camera and iris scanning sensor that lets users unlock their phone by looking at it. This technology was used in the doomed Note 7 phone last year.

The screen will be AMOLED, have Always On technology and, for the first time, be pressure sensitive - following Apple's lead with 3D Touch, according to rumours. It is possible that it will be 4K, although Samsung may hold this update for the S9. 

The Galaxy S8 is expected to have a headphone jack but no home button, according to leaks

Leaked pictures appear to have dispelled any suggestions that Samsung is planning to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack. 

It will probably run Android's Nougat software and debut Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 835 chip. Indications suggest the S8 will come in 64GB and 128GB storage capacities, with a possible 256GB version as well. It will most likely be water resistant to IP68. 

Leaked pictures from Venturebeat clearly show the headphone jack Credit: venturebeat

Leaks suggest there will be no physical home button or fingerprint scanner on the front. The fingerprint scanner could be moved to the back - or buried within the screen, as the iPhone 8 is rumoured to do.

The 12MP main camera could have a new augmented image search that lets users search the web for items they point it at. For example, it could take them to a shopping website for a product in the frame.  

These photos also show a lack of a home button Credit: Winfuture.de

The Galaxy S8 will probably use batteries from the same manufacturers as those who made the faulty ones for the Note 7, but Samsung assured customers it has dramatically improved safety. The phones are said to be 11pc faster and 20pc more energy efficient than the Galaxy S7 thanks to improved microchip and graphics technology.

And they could come with the ability to connect to a monitor so to control the phone with a keyboard and mouse, the Guardian reports. 

When will it be launched?

The phone's release was delayed following the debacle with the faulty Note 7.

Where Samsung normally unveils its flagship Galaxy S phones at Mobile World Congress in February, it will instead hold an event for the Galaxy S8 on March 29. The company announced the date in February, alongside a teaser video, which appears to confirm that the phone will feature a so-called "infinity screen" that takes up much of its front.

How do I watch the launch?

Samsung will be livestreaming the launch of the S8 on its website from 4pm on Wednesday March 29. We can expect the event to last an hour or more.

As for an actual release date, fans will have to hold on a little longer. The phone was set to go on sale on Friday April 21 but has reportedly now been pushed back a week to Friday April 28.

How the Samsung Galaxy S8 could look

How much will it cost?

It has been reported that both Galaxy S8 models will cost €100 (£85) more than the S7. That means in Europe the 5.8-inch version will be €799 and the 6.2-inch €899. It is not clear how the UK prices will change, but they could increase due to recent currency fluctuations. 

According to gadget retailer MobileFun, the S8 will cost £799 and the S8 Plus £899.