The Galaxy S10 (and, presumably, the S10+) promise to be the most important Samsung releases in years, and not just because the Galaxy S9 has suffered from slow sales. This will mark the tenth anniversary of the South Korean tech giant's flagship smartphone.
The handsets will likely go up against three new iPhones from Apple that are expected to debut this fall, and the new Galaxies could be the first from Samsung to offer 3D face scanners.
Here's everything we've heard about the Galaxy S10 so far.
Latest Rumors (August 2018)
- Samsung mobile president DJ Koh has confirmed that the Galaxy S10 will not have 5G technology built it. It will be coming to another phone first.
- A report from an industry analyst suggests we could see as many as three different models of the Galaxy S10, some of which will feature ultrasonic fingerprint sensors built into the display.
A trio of models?
Samsung may follow Apple's footsteps and release not two but three models of its upcoming Galaxy S10. This report comes from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo via Business Insider, who claims the company is planning 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch handsets. It also follows an earlier report from ETNews back in June that listed a trio of devices with the code name Beyond.
The kicker is that Kuo says two of those three devices will implement fingerprint on display technology, a goal many phone makers have been working toward for years. The Galaxy S9 and S9+, as well as the Galaxy Note 9, were all rumored to feature ultrasonic fingerprint sensors built into the screen at some point in their development, indicating Samsung could be closer than ever to finally delivering the feature.
According to Kuo, the cheapest of the three Galaxy S10s will not use the same technology, opting instead for a more conventional scanner placed on the side of the phone. The just-released Moto Z3 Play employed a similar design. Kuo's report adds that Samsung is expected to push the in-display fingerprint sensor feature heavily leading up to the phones' launch, presumably in late-February or early-March of 2019.
Faster all around
Outside of the requisite improvements to the phone's processor, the Galaxy S10 has been rumored to support faster RAM and storage modules than what is available in most handsets today.
The story comes from Ice Universe, a well-known Samsung leaker, who says Samsung will begin producing LPDDR5 and UFS 3.0 chips this year. In the same breath, Ice Universe says they're "looking forward" to the Galaxy S10, suggesting that the company's next flagship will feature these components.
The upshot of these additions is a phone that's snappier and more efficient. UFS 3.0 in particular helps storage consume less power, accommodate a wider bandwidth and work at hotter temperatures. As for the LPDDR5 RAM, faster read and write speeds will enable new content, like the recording of 8K and even slower-motion videos.
True bezel-free design, in-screen fingerprint reader
While Samsung may have missed the opportunity to be the first phone maker using in-display fingerprint scanning technology, that highly-anticipated feature will finally make its way to the Galaxy S10, according to reports.
One story, originally from ChosunBiz in May, alleges that Samsung has finally informed its suppliers that it will not deliver in-display fingerprint scanning with the Galaxy Note 9, in favor of launching it with the Galaxy S10. The company was reportedly undecided on whether to introduce the feature in its upcoming phablet, likely due late summer or early fall 2018. This may explain all the conflicting rumors that have emerged over the past several months about both phones' fingerprint sensors.
The in-display scanner could be accompanied by a bold new technology that transmits audio through vibrations in the phone's glass panel. This comes by way of Korea's ETNews, which claims Samsung may rely on this system to replace the Galaxy S10's front-facing speaker if the company incorporates a truly all-screen design. However, the phone could still feature a conventional second speaker along the bottom of the frame.
An earlier report from The Bell in April claimed that Samsung had already finalized the S10's design and that it included an embedded fingerprint sensor. The article states that Samsung is teaming up with Synaptics, Qualcomm and Aegis Tech on the feature, while Chosun's more recent story mentions that it should be a more effective solution that what most Chinese phone makers are relying upon. A subsequent Bell report confirms that Samsung is still planning on going with the embedded fingerprint sensor, and that the S10 will drop iris scanning as an unlocking option for the phone.
Should Samsung go with a fingerprint sensor underneath the S10's display, it likely won't use an optical sensor. Samsung Mobile's D.J. Koh reportedly said that optical sensors offer a "bad user experience." Instead, the phone maker could opt for an ultrasonic sensor.
However, it's possible that one version of the S10 released in 2019 may not have an embedded fingerprint sensor. A report from SamMobile suggests that one model might move the fingerprint reader to the side of the phone.
Sticking with Qualcomm
In a move that could inform what happens in the Galaxy S10, Samsung in February announced that it had invested $5.6 billion in a new factory to build 7-nanometer chipsets. Not only would that allow for a smaller chip, but it would also pave the way for the company to make a variety of design changes with the extra room it'll have inside the handset.
According to a report from Phone Arena, Samsung will begin testing the chip later this year and get it ready for mass production in early 2019 — perfect timing for the Galaxy S10.
We should also note that Samsung will work on the chip technology with Qualcomm, which the phone maker has done with the last few Snapdragon processors. The Snapdragon 855, then, should be coming to the Galaxy S10, at least for U.S.-bound versions of the phone.
A 3D face scanner
Samsung has been criticized for not developing a 3D face scanner to compete with the Face ID in Apple's iPhone X. But a report from The Investor says that Samsung has partnered with 3D camera firm Mantis Vision to finally get a 3D scanner into the Galaxy S10.
Not much is known about the feature yet, but it's believed that the Mantis Vision technology will be able to compete on the same level as the Face ID feature on the iPhone X.
The Bell, another Korean publication, also contends that the S10 could include a 3D face-sensing module. That report says Samsung has code-named next year's Galaxy phone "Beyond."
Triple cameras in tow
Huawei's P20 Pro introduced us to the concept of three rear cameras this year, with the extra lens helping produce better shots in low-light. Samsung reportedly is eyeing a triple-lens setup for its next Galaxy phone, with KB Securities analyst Kim Dong-won publishing a research note that says the S10 will have three cameras on the rear. (Apple is reportedly looking at adding the feature to its phones, possibly as soon as this fall to get the jump on the S10.)
But why stop with just three rear lenses? The Bell reports that Samsung might add a second front lens to the Galaxy S10, all the better for supporting Portrait Mode effects on selfies. That would give the S10 five cameras in total. For what it's worth, LG is also rumored to be going with a five-camera design for its upcoming LG V40 later this year.
That could also mean three phones, according to a ETNews report that discovered three devices with the Beyond code-name. Based on this report, Samsung would introduce single-, dual- and triple-lens versions of the S10.
Name change on the way?
Samsung is said to be working on a foldable smartphone that could be known as the Galaxy X. And although that won't infringe on the company's Galaxy S schedule, it could cause a naming problem. After all, if one smartphone is called the Galaxy X, naming another phone the Galaxy S10 might cause confusion.
A report in February from The Investor cited an interview with Samsung mobile chief Dongjin Koh, who hinted that Samsung might move away from the numbered branding on the Galaxy S line. So, rather than calling its next smartphone the Galaxy S10, Samsung might opt for an alternative name. It might also choose, simply, the Galaxy S.
"Although Samsung will stick to Galaxy, we have been thinking about whether we need to maintain the S moniker or the numbering system," Koh said in that interview.
It's too soon to predict the exact release date for the Galaxy S10, but if history is any guide, Samsung will likely stick to a similar timetable in 2019 as in other years. That means you should expect to see the new handset announced at next year's Mobile World Congress show, which gets underway Feb. 25. If Samsung follows a similar pattern for the S10 as did for the S9, the new phone would hit shelves by the middle of March 2019.
However, it's possible that the S10 won't be the first premium phone Samsung introduces next year. Serial leaker Ice Universe says that Samsung could unveil its foldable Galaxy X phone at CES 2019 in January. Under this scenario, the S10 would still be in line to debut at Mobile World Congress the following month.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide
See Also : Top 10 Galaxy S9 Features
- Galaxy S9 User Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Rumors: Release Date, Specs and More
- First Phone with In-Screen Fingerprint Sensor Feels Right