The dust has barely settled on the Samsung Galaxy S9‘s launch, but work on the newest model of Samsung’s world-beating smartphone is well underway — and we’re already inundated with rumors and whispers about the Samsung Galaxy S10 and its foldable cousin, the Galaxy X.
So whether we’re hearing about an even more advanced camera, jaw-dropping good looks, or — in Samsung’s potentially most radical move — increased battery capacity, we’ve gathered all the rumors, leaks, and news into one place so you can quickly find out everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S10.
Galaxy S phones are performance flagships; how will Samsung ensure the new phones are among the best? It’s a fair bet that the Galaxy S10 will feature a new iteration of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chip, most likely the Snapdragon 855. Samsung sunk $5.6 billion into a foundry for rumored 7mn chipsets for the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 phones. Risk trials for those chips will begin later this year, with Samsung expecting mass production in early 2019 — just in time for the S10’s release.
Samsung remains tight-lipped about the Galaxy S10, but we know one thing for sure: It won’t be the company’s first phone with 5G. Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh Dong-Jin confirmed that fact at a press event in Korea, squashing any previous rumors that claimed otherwise. So the S10 won’t be the first 5G smartphone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be the second. It’s still possible the Galaxy S10 could include support for faster 5G networks, but only time will tell.
Koh said Samsung is still working with local carriers to be the first to roll out a 5G phone, with plans to launch 5G in March within specific locations. But he didn’t give any details on exactly which Samsung phone it will be. It’s possible that it could come in the form of Samsung’s foldable smartphone, known as the Galaxy X or Galaxy F.
Finally, it may sound mundane but there’s every reason to assume Samsung will push for increased battery life with the S10. Battery improvements were on our wish list for the Galaxy S9 too; what we saw was … not impressive. Samsung boosted the battery capacity of the Note 9, however, and with rumors swirling of a new L-shaped battery boosting the phone’s life, we’re hopeful that the S10 will shine in this area.
How will you unlock and secure the Galaxy S10? While the S9 has Intelligent Scan tech to take a hybrid image of your face as well as iris data, it’s not secure enough for purchase verification and a far cry from the highly advanced and secure Face ID introduced on the Apple iPhone X. Samsung may change this for the S10, and introduce a new fingerprint sensor too.
A patent, first discovered by Patently Mobile in July 2018, shows Samsung is actively working on an in-display fingerprint sensor. This new sensor will use ultrasound instead of images to map out one’s fingerprints. It should provide a much more secure authentication source than what’s currently on the market.
These alterations may push Samsung to drop iris scanning from the Galaxy S10, but only if it can master the in-display sensor to accompany a new secure face-recognition system. According to South Korean publication The Bell, prototype samples of the S10 have not been ordered with iris scanners, a decision that may also help offset costs if the two new security systems are being included.
Out with the iris, and in with the face. Earlier rumors said Samsung had teamed up with 3D-camera startup Mantis Vision to provide 3D-sensing camera tech for Samsung’s upcoming smartphones, and those rumors have seemingly been confirmed by a report that the Galaxy S10 will include a full 3D camera, potentially equaling the iPhone X experience. This could also help Samsung’s underpowered AR Emoji, which aren’t anywhere near as accurate as Apple’s Animoji. Tests from across the Digital Trends office led to some — er — fairly disturbing uncanny valley creations.
The discontinuation of iris scanning may only happen if Samsung can include an in-display fingerprint sensor on the S10. Reportedly dropped from the Galaxy Note 9 because of technical issues, it may be ready for the S10. The Bell states Samsung is working hard to create a fingerprint-on-display (FOD) scanner, with some seeming success.
Software and special features
While it’s still early to know exactly what Samsung plans to bring to the Samsung Galaxy S10, we do have a few ideas. First off, it’s almost certain Samsung’s 2019 flagship will ship with Android P. We’re also expecting to see a major update to Bixby since Samsung purchased Viv, a startup created by the founders of Siri, and has reportedly been working with them on Bixby for a few years.
There’s also the possibility that the Galaxy S10 will feature improved health apps. According to a patent recently unearthed by Let’s Go Digital, Samsung is working on an app that determines your skin type and can suggest recommendations to limit sun exposure. The app will apparently use photos of different parts of your body to determine skin type. Once your skin type is registered it can constantly provide tips and measure your UV exposure.
Samsung’s Galaxy S range of smartphones are known for their trend-setting looks, so how will the Galaxy S10 move things along? Rumors already state the Galaxy S10’s design has apparently been finalized, and that it will be similar to the S9. It’s possible there may be three versions of the Galaxy S10, according to multiple inside sources speaking to The Bell. Referred to under the code name Beyond; the Beyond 1 and Beyond 2 are likely the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. Both models will reportedly feature fingerprint-on-display (FOD) technology as well as AMOLED screens. This news was further corroborated by well-known TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that there will be one model with a 5.8-inch display, one with a 6.1-inch display, and one with a 6.4-inch display, and that the two higher-end models will have Samsung’s FOD.
The sources also refer to the Beyond 0, which is possibly a Galaxy S10 Mini — a budget version of the flagship apparently with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Samsung often releases a tough version of its latest Galaxy S phone, so the Beyond 0 may also refer to a Galaxy S10 Active.
How about the screen size? Reports vary. According to ET News, the Galaxy S10 will feature a 6.2-inch screen, while The Bell has echoed an earlier report suggesting the S10 will have a 5.8-inch screen and the S10 Plus a 6.3-inch screen. The panels are expected to be AMOLED, like previous Galaxy S phones.
The bezels around it may shrink due to the introduction of a sound-emitting OLED display, says ET News. Instead of using a traditional speaker, bone conduction and vibration will transmit sound directly through the display. Such technology will mean even smaller bezels on the Galaxy S10 since a top-firing speaker cutout will no longer be necessary.
Previous news of a patent approved in March 2018 shows a phone with a screen-to-body ratio of 99 percent, and no visible speakers, front-facing camera, or fingerprint sensor. While creating this phone isn’t outside the realm of possibility — the front-facing camera could be under the display, as could the fingerprint sensor — it now seems more likely that such a radical redesign is not intended for the Galaxy S10.
Another earlier patent granted by the World Intellectual Property Organisation reveals that Samsung is working on phone designs that are as close to bezel-free as possible, with fingerprint scanners placed beneath the display tech — this could also be linked to the long-rumored foldable Galaxy smartphone.
Last year for the Plus model
Let’s be honest: There’s not a huge difference between Samsung Galaxy Plus handsets and their Note siblings. And in an overly saturated smartphone market, it becomes difficult to justify releasing two similar handsets each year.
According to the South Korean business site The Bell, Samsung is planning to retire its Plus line of Galaxy handsets after the release of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in 2019. The company plans to merge the Plus model handsets with its Note line to increase profitability. The rumor comes on the heels of news that sales of the Galaxy S9 smartphones have been sluggish, with second quarter shipments falling behind the pace for the first quarter.
Samsung greatly improved the camera on the Galaxy S9 over the Galaxy S8; but what about its plans for the Galaxy S10? For the Galaxy S10 Plus, Samsung may look to Huawei for inspiration, and include a triple-lens camera on the rear, just like the P20 Pro. Then, for good measure, it will add another lens to the selfie camera array, giving the Galaxy S10 five camera lenses in total according to sources speaking to The Bell.
The same dual-lens camera on the S9 Plus will return on the S10 Plus, but this time it may come with an additional 16-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens with a 120-degree angle. The dual selfie camera may replicate the system used on the Samsung Galaxy A8, presumably with key improvements representative of the Galaxy S range. While a dual-lens front camera will almost certainly be used to generate bokeh-style shots, it’s not clear yet what benefits an additional, even wider angle lens will bring to the rear camera.
Release date and name
Are we fools for expecting Samsung to stick to its previous release schedule? Perhaps, but we’d still take that wager. However, not everyone agrees, and The Bell says Samsung is aiming for a January 2019 release for the Galaxy S10 at the annual CES trade show in Las Vegas.
It’s possible, but unlikely. While Samsung launched the Galaxy S9 at MWC 2018, the Galaxy S8 was launched at its own “Unpacked” event in 2017 — and while the Galaxy S10 isn’t likely to be as big a redesign as the S8 was, it’s possible that Samsung will again choose to reveal its newest phone at its own special event and not jostle for headlines during CES. However, the reasoning behind a CES launch is that at MWC 2019, Samsung will introduce the foldable Galaxy X.
The Galaxy S10’s code name is apparently “Beyond,” likely signifying that Samsung sees the S10 as the next big thing, with the sort of features that make you want to buy it. In terms of the actual phone’s name, while we’ve tentatively named this article the Galaxy S10, there’s no guarantee that’s what Samsung’s next generation of the S-range phone will be named. Some early rumors point that Samsung will be looking to ditch some of its long-time branding in favor of a fresher name.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Samsung in the coming months, so watch for our updates on the latest Galaxy S10 news.
Updated on August 13: Samsung confirms Galaxy S10 won’t have 5G.