Yes, it's official — Samsung will announce their next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S9, at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) at the tail end of February, rather than at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week as was rumoured. Here's why they picked that date — and what else you need to know about the Galaxy S9!
Why launch at MWC this time?
Last year, Samsung eschewed MWC, launching their smartphone in late March, more than a month later than normal. It's important to remember the context — Samsung had just suffered their most embarrassing moment, as exploding batteries had caused the critically praised Galaxy Note 7 to go up in flames (in some cases, quite literally).
By delaying the launch, Samsung signalled that they cared more about consumer confidence in their brand than beating rivals like the LG G6 to market. They also had a trick up their sleeves, in the form of a redesigned phone featuring a big screen and tiny bezels. The strategy worked, and the Galaxy S8 proved to be the biggest Android phone launch of the year.
Now, Samsung are feeling comfortable once again. As other phones have adopted similar all-screen designs, getting out a little earlier makes more sense. That's why we're back to a traditional MWC launch, where Samsung can eclipse their rivals through sheer force of marketing.
What's new with the Galaxy S9?
Like the Galaxy S8, the S9 will come in two versions: the vanilla Galaxy S9 and the larger Galaxy S9+. Both phones will look near identical to their predecessors, but there are some significant changes inside and out. Here's what you need to know.
First up, the biggest flaw of the Galaxy S8 (and the Note 8) will be fixed: the annoyingly placed fingerprint sensor will be moved below the rear camera, a central position that's easy to reach. Combined with an improved facial recognition system, the Galaxy S9 should be much easier to log into.
The all-screen design is also expected to evolve, with thinner bezels that emphasise the expansive screen even better. It's not clear if the phone will be the same size but with a larger screen, or whether the phone will get a little smaller and have the same size screen. Either way, it should be a nice iteration on a successful theme.
Inside, the phone will come with Samsung's recently revealed Exynos 9810 processor. Samsung are claiming doubled single-core performance and 40% better multi-core performance, which should make for an absolutely screaming phone. The processor can even support recording 4K in slow-motion 120 frames per second — sweet. There are even rumours that the Galaxy S9 Plus will get a second camera, just like the Plus model iPhone.
The Galaxy S9 should cost a little more than its predecessor on launch, at £699 for the vanilla S9 and £799 for the S9 Plus. If these rumoured prices are accurate, it would be an increase of £10 and £20, respectively. Of course, once the Galaxy S9 launches, the Galaxy S8 will be discounted. (You can even get the Galaxy S8 or S8+ from giffgaff right here).
The Galaxy S9 should be announced at a Samsung Unpacked event on February 25th, one day before the main MWC conference. We'll cover both the Galaxy S9 event and the Mobile World Congress, so check out the giffgaff blog from February 25th onwards for all the details!
A late February announcement date would imply retail availability in early March, although we don't have a specific date confirmed yet.
So — would you buy the Galaxy S9? Are you going to read our Galaxy S9 coverage in late February? Let us know using the Google Poll below!