Samsung is still the top seller of Android phones, but the last few months have thrown its future into doubt. The company will have to earn back consumer trust following the Galaxy Note 7 saga with 2017’s Galaxy S8 launch. Samsung was originally expected to announce the Galaxy S8 at an event at Mobile World Congress in February. That’s where it announced the Galaxy S7 last year. However, a new report claims the launch has been pushed back to April with a New York-based event.
The reason for the alleged delay is simply that Samsung needs more time to get all its ducks in a row before launching a new phone following the Note 7 cancellation. That phone famously had a tendency to catch fire due to a battery fault of some sort. We don’t actually know the cause of the battery fires yet, but Samsung has reportedly identified the cause on its end, and is having its investigation verified by regulatory agencies. The report should be made public by year’s end.
A previous independent report claimed that Samsung’s design tolerances for the Note 7 were too tight, leading to damage as the battery swelled and contracted during use. That would explain why both original and replacement Note 7 devices with different batteries both caught fire in unacceptable numbers. It was a major embarrassment, but could you imagine what would happen if the Galaxy S8 had similar issues? It can’t even appear to have issues with battery fires. Every phone model has some small number of defects and fires caused by damage, but Samsung is going to be under intense scrutiny. This thing needs to be bulletproof — thus the delay.
According to SamMobile, which has a good record with Samsung leaks, the company will be using the extra two months to work with regulatory agencies to test the phone, thus assuaging the fears of consumers. Samsung may also be scaling back the number of GS8 variants. Last year, the Galaxy S7 came in standard and Edge versions. This year there will allegedly only be an Edge phone with the curved AMOLED panel, which has sold better than the flat versions in recent years.
The Galaxy S8 will likely bring back features that debuted in the Galaxy Note 7, like the iris scanner. It has also been rumored to drop the physical clicky home button in favor of a capacitive version, which is much more common on competing phones these days. We’ll probably find out for sure in April. You can expect US carrier sales to launch a few weeks after the event.