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Everything you need to know about Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, Bixby and more

Harshith Mallya
30th Mar 2017
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Samsung Electronics on Wednesday announced the launch of the company's new flagship phones, Galaxy S8 and S8+, at the company's event 'Galaxy Unpacked 2017'. Addressing the audience at the opening event, DJ Koh, President of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business, claimed that Unpacked was not just the launch of a new device, but a milestone marking the beginning of a new way to experience the world.

As a continuation of the Galaxy series, the Galaxy S8 promises an entirely new mobile experience with features, such as a bezel-less Infinity Display and Bixby, an intelligent interface, that offers a new level of functionality and convenience. Samsung also showcased DeX – a new service that lets users power a PC-like environment from their mobile – and new versions of Gear VR and Gear 360.

DJ Koh unveiling Samsung's new devices, Image credit- Samsung Newsroom

Galaxy S8 and S8+

The Galaxy S8 range builds on Samsung’s heritage in the Galaxy series of phones, and will be available in two form factors- 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and 6.2-inch Galaxy S8+. Both phones feature an infinity display and bezel-less design form for a smooth, continuous surface with no buttons or harsh angles. The result is aimed at providing an immersive viewing experience without distractions and making multi-tasking more convenient. To best showcase these features, Samsung installed a screen that stretched up and over the stage. The ceiling-like display, along with a slew of immersive effects, consistently transformed the stage throughout the event.

Ceiling screen and immersive show effects, Image credit- Samsung Newsroom

The Galaxy S8 also features corning Gorilla Glass 5 on both the front and back for durability and a high-quality finish.

Features

In addition to the design upgrades, other additional features include-

• 8MP Smart Autofocus Camera: The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are equipped with an advanced 8MP F1.7 smart auto-focus front camera and 12MP F1.7 Dual Pixel rear camera for low-light, zoom and anti-blur photos with enhanced image processing.

• Performance: The Galaxy S8 and S8+ feature what Samsung claims to be the industry’s first 10nm processor, enabling heightened speed and efficiency. It is also gigabit LTE and gigabit Wi-Fi ready with support for up to 1 Gbps so users can quickly download files.

• Entertainment: Certified by the UHD Alliance as MOBILE HDR PREMIUM, Galaxy S8 and S8+ let users see the same vibrant colours and contrasts that the filmmakers intended you see while watching your favourite shows. In addition, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer gaming experiences with superior graphic technology, as well as Game Pack, featuring top game titles, including select titles supported by the Vulkan API.

• Samsung's 'Fort Knox': The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are built on Samsung Knox, a defense-grade security platform. In addition, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will offer a selection of biometric technologies including a fingerprint scanner, iris scanner and facial recognition so users can select a secure biometric authentication method that works best for them.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will also come with the foundational Galaxy features, including:

  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • MicroSD support up to 256GB
  • Always-on display
  • Fast and wireless charging capabilities
Image credit- Samsung Newsroom

Samsung's voice assistant- Bixby

Bixby is an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, users will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch, vision and text commands. At launch, Bixby’s Voice function will integrate with several Samsung native apps and features including Camera, Contacts, Gallery, Messages and Settings, with the plan to expand its capabilities to include more Samsung and third-party apps in the near future.

Bixby offers four main features: Voice, Vision, Reminder and Home.

Image credit- Samsung Newsroom

Samsung noted that contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalised help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location. Users can also shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology. As the Bixby ecosystem grows, it will connect across devices, apps and services as a ubiquitous interface, and open up new experiences and scenarios to simplify life.

Beyond the phone experiences- VR, DeX, Samsung Health and Pay

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ unlocks the new Gear VR with controller, powered by Oculus. Enabling convenient one-handed control and navigation, the controller provides better motion interaction when accessing interactive VR content. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will also connect to the new Gear 360 to create 4K 360-degree videos and 15MP photos.

Leveraging the processing power of the Galaxy S8 and S8+, Samsung DeX is a solution that transforms a user's smartphone into a desktop by providing a secure desktop-like experience. With Samsung DeX, users can display and edit data from their phone, making working from a smartphone faster and smarter.

In addition, as more IoT devices enter the market, and the connected network becomes more complex, Samsung Connect aims to simplify smart device management. With Samsung Connect, users can activate IoT-enabled devices through a quick three-step configuration process and manage all connected devices through one integrated app.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ also come with the enhanced Samsung Health service, which is one of Samsung’s most widely used services, with 60 million monthly active users and 11 million daily active users worldwide. Samsung Health includes tele-health (US only), personal coaching, social capabilities that redefine traditional health and fitness.

Users can leave their physical wallet behind with Samsung Pay, turning their Galaxy S8 and S8+ into a digital wallet they can use almost anywhere they’d use a credit or debit card. With more than 870 worldwide banking partnerships, Samsung Pay claims to have processed more than 240 million transactions to date.

Pricing and availability

Justin Denison, SVP of Product Strategy at Samsung Electronics America, announcing the release dates. Image credit- Samsung Newsroom

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available starting April 21, and will be offered in across different colours, including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Gold. While Samsung hasn't confirmed the prices for India yet. The Verge notes that the international full retail price range could be about $720 for S8 and $840 for S8+.

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