Samsung Galaxy S9: what we want to see

Update: A new rumor suggests the Samsung Galaxy S9 could support modular accessories, but that the fingerprint scanner won't be built into the screen. Elsewhere, we've once again heard that the top-end Snapdragon 845 chipset could be used in at least some models of the Samsung Galaxy S9, suggesting the phone will be every bit as powerful as you'd expect.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 only hit stores earlier this year, but we're already hearing rumors of the Samsung Galaxy S9, with one report claiming the phone is already in the first few stages of production.

We've put together an overview of the rumors and news we've heard so far. You'll find that below, along with everything we know about the inevitable Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

But we've also included a list of improvements we hope Samsung will include on its next phone, because as good as the S8 is, it's not perfect.

Cut to the chase:

  • What is it? Samsung's 2018 flagship phone
  • When is it out? In 2018, probably March or April release
  • What will it cost? It's going to be pricey, around $720, £689, AU$1,199

Samsung Galaxy S9 price and release date

We so far know nothing about when the Samsung Galaxy S9 will be announced, so we'll just have to go off what Samsung has done in the past.

Samsung announced the Galaxy S8 in late March, so we'd expect it will follow up with the Galaxy S9 roughly a year later, at the end of March 2018. 

But it was late in announcing the Galaxy S8 in 2017 - the company waited about a month longer than normal, so it's possible that the S9 will land around the end of February, in which case it might be launched at Mobile World Congress 2018, as that's likely to take place at that sort of time.

What we can safely predict is the Samsung Galaxy S9 is sure to be expensive, as the Galaxy S8 launched at $720, £689, AU$1,199.

Samsung Galaxy S9 news and rumors

Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy S9, but some sources claim the company has already started work on producing its next flagship phone.

The Bell reports unnamed industry sources saying that Samsung has been hard at work on the display panels for the Galaxy S9 since late March 2017. If Samsung has started work on the S9’s display panels that’s apparently about 6 months earlier than usual.

That doesn't come as a massive surprise, as many companies start work on their phones before one generation has even been announced, but it's good to get the rumors flowing already about the next Samsung phone.

Samsung and Qualcomm have also started working on a new mobile chip according to The Investor. The chip is apparently likely to be called the Snapdragon 845 - up from the Snapdragon 835 found in some versions of the Galaxy S8 - and is supposedly going to be used in the Samsung Galaxy S9.

The Snapdragon 845's use has again been rumored, this time by a reasonably reliable source, so it's looking likely.

So far we don't know anything about the power or performance of the Snapdragon 845 chipset, but we'd wager it won't be the only one Samsung uses, with a new Exynos chip likely headed to S9 handsets in some parts of the world.

And speaking of a new Exynos chip, Samsung has revealed that it has developed LTE modems for the next generation of its chips. Why should you care? Because these modems support theoretical download speeds of 1.2Gbps - faster than any other phone, meaning you could potentially download an HD movie within just 10 seconds.

(Image: © Samsung)

It seems one of the big chipset developments may allow the company to include a much bigger battery too. A new report suggests Samsung will now use Substrate-like PCB tech that will allow the Exynos chipset manufacturer to include a bigger battery without increasing the size of the processor.

It may mean the extra battery won't be on the Qualcomm Snapdragon toting Galaxy S9, but it could mean big improvements for those who get the Exynos version. 

One of the big issues with the Samsung Galaxy S8 was the fact the fingerprint sensor was shoved to the back of the phone, after rumors abounded that the reader was supposed to go under the display's glass but it just didn't work.

However, the new Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor can sit below quite thick displays, and OLED technology (used in Samsung flagship phones) was specifically mentioned.

All that points to the Samsung Galaxy S9 having fingerprint-sensing technology below the glass... and if Apple integrates that into the iPhone 8, then Samsung will have to follow suit.

Then again, one tipster claims an in-screen scanner isn't in the cards, so don't count on that feature just yet.

And the Galaxy S9 is sure to get some new features too, one of which could be a modular design, with magnets on the back letting you attach hardware accessories (which could take the form of battery packs, zoom lenses or any number of other things), a bit like Motorola's Moto Mods.

Only one source has mentioned this possibility so far, so we'd take it with a huge pinch of salt, but it could be a key selling point of the S9 if true.

Aside from that, in late 2016 Samsung licensed a new glass coating technology that makes water bounce off your smartphone screen. Samsung plans to include this tech in an upcoming phone, so it may mean the Galaxy S9 is much easier to use in the rain. Watch the video below to see how the technology works.

As you can imagine, the rumors remain thin on the ground at the moment, but we'll be scooping our way through the best and worst of them - so bookmark this page if you ever want to know the very latest on the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Samsung Galaxy S9: what we want to see

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is still the new shiny, but we've had a brainstorm about the improvements we'd like to see on the Galaxy S9.

1. A foldable screen

Rumors of the Samsung Galaxy X - a phone with a foldable display - have been building for the past few years.

A Samsung executive has told the media that the company doesn't plan to launch a fully foldable phone until at least 2019, but plans may change in the coming months.

For Samsung to build the first truly foldable phone and sell it in 2018 would be a major boost to the South Korean company, and may change the way we use our phones forever.

2. A smaller version

Samsung doesn't offer an Android alternative to the iPhone SE. Instead the company has the Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus for the mid-sized and larger phone lovers out there.

We'd like to see Samsung embrace a smaller display on the Galaxy S9, or offer up a third version that includes a smaller screen instead.

3. A fingerprint sensor under the screen

It's clear Samsung wanted to move the fingerprint sensor under the screen for the Galaxy S8, but didn't have enough time to make it work.

Instead Samsung included a touch-sensitive home button under the display, which is useful, but we'd like to see the company go the full way and include a fingerprint sensor below the screen.

4. A lower price

Samsung has had to increase the price for the Galaxy S8, making it one of the most expensive flagship phones on the market.

If you're buying it as part of a two-year deal it's not as expensive as you'd expect, but we'd like to see Samsung reduce the price for next year's phone if at all possible.

5. Dual-lens camera

Rumors for the Galaxy S8 suggested Samsung was working on a dual-lens shooter like the iPhone 7 Plus or the LG G6 but it never came to fruition.

Considering the camera improvements on the Galaxy S8 seem to be rather limited it would be great for Samsung to push the camera tech in the phone to a dual-lens setup on the Galaxy S9.