Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 and while the world gets a new flagship device, it also gets a glimpse of where the smartphone game is heading. Earlier this year we witnessed the launch of Nintendo’s Switch. A gaming console that can be attached to any display and also be capable of portable gaming, all through a single machine. Then, Google dropped a developer preview of Android O. This OS is an initial step towards empowering one device to fill multiple shoes.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 truly pushes the boundaries of our limited thinking to a new frontier. Powered by a Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 SoC coupled with 4GB RAM, the phone is all set to treat us with the latest and greatest of 2017. Phones were chosen to do much more than their core functionality. Today, this idea is being pushed further than ever before. Look at the Samsung Galaxy S8 as compared to Samsung’s phone lineup and it looks like an evolutionary refinement. But, on a macro scale, each phone release allows a peek into the future of what a phone can do.
Let’s take a look at what the Galaxy S8 brings to us in 2017 and also at the impact of these features in influencing the future of smartphones. This is an intellectual insight into Galaxy S8’s contribution of the prowess of smartphones in the years to come. Let’s get started.
Large displays on small footprints
The word everyone is aiming at is “bezel-less”. Although not fully achievable, the bezels on a smartphone are diminishing at a steady ready. Xiaomi’s Mi Mix introduced a concept design and awed the world with design possibilities. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 have pushed the limits with their elongated HDR-capable displays and manageable phone sizes.
This is what you can expect from every phone in the years to come. Imagine a day when you would be using a 6-inch display that can be managed with one hand while having a smaller footprint than your current phone.
Beautiful designs and display innovations
Touch screen displays are not only the visual output but also crucial touch inputs for smartphone control. Hence, the ergonomics of smartphone display play a huge role in its usability. With flagships like the Galaxy S8 pushing the design envelope, the future of smartphone design looks gorgeous.
Samsung has included a haptic feedback motor under the display mimicking a button press for those missing the feel of physical buttons. This is Android’s implementation of the 3D Touch on iPhones. Looking at the current scenario we can be assured that phones of the future will look and feel amazing to use. This is great news even if you are on a budget. Flagship phones pave the road for budget phone designs after all.
The Galaxy S8 looks like the designers only worked on the front, packed up and went home and the janitor had to finish up the rear.
— k (@krazyfrog) April 2, 2017
If only they had paid closer attention to both sides of the phone’s design, though.
Using phones for large screen computing
Samsung released the Samsung DeX, a way to use the Galaxy S8 in a desktop computing interface. We have seen several companies try their hands with something similar. What most of them lacked was the finesse, while some way ahead of their time. With technology, user acceptance and adoption is a driving factor towards the success or downfall of any idea.
Computing scenario has seen a change in customer behaviour. Desktop computing is a target based approach for gamers and professionals. On the other hand, casual users opt for laptops and other transforming tablets. Considering that casual users are not aiming at outright performance and smartphones are powerful enough to handle light multi-display computing, something like DeX could be a defining factor of future computing behaviour.
Innovative charging and better batteries
As ironic as this may sound, Samsung now runs eight-point battery checks and in turn innovated improved battery degradation. Were they planning this or is it an outcome of several accidents, we might never know. That said, the Galaxy S8’s batteries will degrade less quickly as compared to their predecessors.
This would result in added battery cycles, better battery performance over the usage period and perhaps even better battery life than the numbers claim. It is quite early to talk about the S8’s battery considering it is still awaiting commercial launch. But it is not wrong to say that battery might end up being the weakest link in smartphone scenario. With this small change in efficient degradation, will the battery life improve? We sure do hope so.
Also, Samsung has been a pioneer when it comes to battery charging options. This has stirred innovations and will continue to do so.
Newer ways to unlock your phone
Fingerprint sensors are now a standard across smartphones. A technology we witnessed in some bond movie a decade ago has made its way to a gadget we use daily. Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with Iris scanner and facial recognition built-in. These are alternatives to the already ageing fingerprint sensor for phone security.
In a weird way to enhance the usage of other security options, Samsung moved the Galaxy S8 fingerprint sensor to an unnatural position beside the rear camera. If people start using other sensors for unlocking their device, we could unlock our phones without fingering them.
Samsung has tried their hands on voice-based virtual phone assistant before. It was called S Voice and was a major disappointment. Apple has Siri, Google has Google Assistant, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana and now Samsung has Bixby.
Although we are yet to see Bixby in action, Samsung has added more functionality to what can be expected of a virtual assistant. Built in the native camera app too, Bixby can understand the context of the object in focus and return relevant information to users. Hence, your phone assistant is not just audio based but visually empowered as well. Like something? Fire up your camera and ask your assistant to search it for you.
Phone assistants will serve you better with more sensors at their disposal.
IoT enabled devices controlled seamlessly
Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 connects with any IoT (Internet of Things) capable device, especially the ones made by Samsung. Every gadget and appliance is on the verge of becoming smarter with the aid of sensors and internet connectivity. When they do, you would require an interface to get the most of your smart devices.
Smartphones could become the control hub for all your IoT enabled devices. You could give voice commands to your phone and change the way devices behave across your home or garage.
Image quality that rivals entry level DSLRs
Last year was the year of camera-centric phones. Samsung’s S7, Google’s Pixel and Apple’s iPhone 7 have been praised for their stellar ease of use and stunning image capture capabilities. The Galaxy S8 plans to continue this legacy with better image post-processing and optical image stabilisation.
This year onwards, the camera quality has improved leaps and bounds. From dual camera support to single cameras with all the bells and whistles, smartphone photography is easier than ever before. Casual content creators do not need an entry level DSLR if the scenario improves at this rate. With 4K RAW shooting modes and a plethora of still imagining aids, smartphone cameras are all one would ever need.