Samsung Unveils Galaxy S8 ‘Comeback’ Phone After Note 7 Fire Woes
Samsung has unveiled new versions of its flagship smartphone as it looks to bounce back from the disaster of its fire-prone Note 7 handset.
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus bump up the screen size by doing away with a physical home B.utton and dramatically reducing the frame – or bezel.
Taking up nearly all of the front of the phone, the screen curves around the side like the previous model.
The Samsung logo is gone and the home B.utton is instead ‘virtual’ and on the display itself.
The S8 comes in at 5.8 inches (up from 5.1 on the S7) and the Plus measures 6.2 inches (up from 5.5 on the S7 Edge).
Apple’s iPhone 7, one of the phone’s closest rivals, is sold in 4.7 inch and 5.5-inch versions.
But – possibly to cover the cost of such a fancy screen – Samsung has also significantly hiked the price.
The S8 will be £689 and the Plus £779 (that’s up from £569 and £639 on the S7).
Tech fans saving up for the release can also look forward to trying out the firm’s new Siri-like personal assistant, Bixby.
The voice-activated feature can handle many of the functions done via touch and can recognise and retrieve information from the web when a user scans an object, such as an item of clothing or book, with their camera.
As for the battery – which sparked last year’s PR disaster and subsequent recall of the Note 7 – Samsung says the S8 cells will go through multiple inspections that include X-rays and extreme temperature stress tests.
They are also said to have better longevity, retaining most of the charge after several years of use.
Last year’s Note 7 fire debacle, where battery problems caused some to combust, led to the device being banned from planes in the US and forced Samsung to remove the handset from sale.
“The Galaxy S8 is the most important phone for Samsung in a decade and every aspect will be under the microscope following the Note 7 recall,” said Ben Wood, a smartphone industry analyst with UK-based CCS Insight.
Other features of the S8 include iris scanning to unlock the phone, the front-facing camera boosted from five to eight megapixels, and an optional docking station to turn the phone into a desktop computer.
The new models, unveiled at dual events in London and New York, will go on general sale in the UK on 28 April and a week earlier in the US