The Galaxy S8's processor could be enormously powerful

And the phone could launch ahead of schedule

Other than the new Pixel and Pixel XL handsets there aren't any more major smartphone launches expected in 2016, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 could be here in early 2017 and new rumors suggest it will be far more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S7.

According to Weibo leaker I Ice Universe, Samsung's upcoming Exynos 8895 processor (which is likely to power the new phone) runs at up to 3GHz. That's up from just 2.3GHz in the Exynos 8890 which powers most versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (and up from a maximum 2.15GHz in the Snapdragon 820 versions of those phones shipped to the US).

It's probable that the US will again get a Snapdragon chip – possibly the unannounced Snapdragon 830, which is sure to be powerful too, but the rest of the world can likely look forward to the Exynos 8895.

The leak, spotted by wccftech, adds that the Exynos chip will be optimized for low power usage of no higher than 5W and that image processing performance could be improved by over 70%, suggesting that Samsung is putting a focus on its new flagship's camera. That would make sense given the large strides Apple has made with the dual-lens iPhone 7 Plus.

Supposedly the chip achieved a single-core Geekbench score of 2301 and a multi-core one of 7019, while in our own tests the Exynos version of the Galaxy S7 managed a multi-core score of 6542, so that would make for a significant improvement.

Questionable leaks and an early launch

That's if these rumors are accurate, but we'd take them with a huge pinch of salt, as there's no evidence to back them up and I Ice Universe has been wrong before.

But we might know how accurate this all is sooner than expected, as an analyst speaking to The Korea Herald has suggested that Samsung may bring forward the launch of the Galaxy S8, to help counter the impact of having to recall the Galaxy Note 7.

This too we'd take with a massive helping of salt, as it sounds like little more than speculation, but it's always possible that Samsung will launch its next flagship ahead of the late February date we were expecting – though either way we doubt we'll see the S8 before early 2017.