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Samsung's New Budget Phone Teases Big Galaxy S9 Changes

Samsung's new budget handsets could give us a hint at what to expect from next year's Galaxy S9.

The Korean tech giant on Tuesday (Dec. 19) announced the Galaxy A8 and Galaxy A8+. The devices are decidedly similar to this year's Galaxy S8, featuring thin bezels that leave no room for a physical home button around the display.

They also come in two flavors, with the standard model featuring a 5.6-inch screen and the Galaxy A8+ delivering a 6-inch display. Add that to their octa-core processors, and the Galaxy A8s could be appealing alternatives to the more expensive S8 line when they hit in January.

But the Galaxy A8s also come with some important changes in their design. For one, the devices have a fingerprint sensor on that sits below the rear-facing camera rather than to the side of it. Better yet, the fingerprint sensor appears to look quite similar to the renderings we've been seeing for the Galaxy S9's sensor. It's possible the same component coming to next year's Samsung flagship has been bundled in the Galaxy A8.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S9 Rumors: Everything You Need to Know

Additionally, there's a surprise on the front of the Galaxy A8: a dual-lens camera. The device has a single rear-lens camera, but comes with 16- and 8-megapixel shooters on the front. It's believed that the Galaxy S9+ will come with dual rear cameras, but two front-facing cameras hasn't been tipped. Samsung's decision on the Galaxy A8 could suggest a change.

Of course, Samsung itself isn't saying what its plans might be for the Galaxy S9 and didn't say whether the Galaxy A8 provides any hints at the future. But luckily, we won't need to wait long to get an answer: Samsung is expected to announce the Galaxy S9 line in February and launch it soon after in March. Until then, look for many more rumors to surface on what Samsung might or might not have planned for its next flagship.

Image Credit: Samsung

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.