The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy 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.
Editor's Note: The holidays are here. Make sure to read our guide to the best Galaxy S9 and S9+ Black Friday deals of the season.
Credit: Concept Creator
Here's everything we've heard about the Galaxy S10 so far.
Latest Galaxy S10 Leaks and Rumors (Nov. 13)
- Leaked Snapdragon 8150 processor (the chip likely in the S10) benchmarks suggest speeds that beat even Apple's A12 Bionic.
- Reliable leaker Ice Universe claimed on Nov. 9 that the Galaxy S10 looks nothing like any of the leaks or renders we've seen so far.
- Samsung could be working on a Galaxy S10 Lite, which would utilize Samsung's edge-to-edge Infinity-O screen and could have a selfie camera built right into the screen.
Galaxy S10 Release Date
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.
Credit: LetsgodigitalHowever, 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.
True bezel-free design, lots more colors
While the Galaxy S9 mostly repeated the S8's design, fans should expect "very significant" changes to the S10's exterior. That quote comes courtesy of none other than Samsung mobile chief D.J. Koh, who related that information to Chinese media, before it was picked up by SamMobile.
While Koh was careful not to offer more details, this remark happened about the same time as notable Samsung leaker Ice Universe tweeted a series of display specifications for the company's upcoming flagship. According to Ice Universe, we could see three models of the S10 at 5.8- and 6.4-inch sizes, and the 5.8-inch model may come in flat and curved display variants.
More recently, Ice Universe shared an image reportedly lifted from a beta version of Android 9 Pie running on a Galaxy Note 9. The new software contains a "Night Mode," which incorporates a graphic of a notch-less device with an edge-to-edge display for descriptive purposes.
Credit: Ice UniverseThe sketch in question correlates with Samsung's recent announcements as well as rumors that the company is working on a group of technologies that embed various sensors beneath and into the display glass. In tandem, these technologies would allow a truly form-fitting, bezel-free design the likes of which we haven't seen yet.
DJ Koh has also said on the record that the Galaxy S10 will offer "amazing" colors. This is according to Forbes, which also discovered a leak from
OnLeaks' Steve Hemmerstoffer that details the S10's possible design. Hemmerstoffer claims that Samsung will deliver "no less than nine" new gradient color schemes for its Galaxy S10.
In-display fingerprint sensor
A report from Bloomberg says that the Galaxy S10 will feature a fingerprint scanner embedded underneath the display, which lines up with previous rumors.
While Samsung missed its opportunity to become the first phone maker offering in-display fingerprint scanning technology, the S10 should offer the most advanced implementation of this technology yet.
Samsung should be able to improve on the optical fingerprint sensor in the Nex S. Credit: Tom's GuideETNews has linked the Galaxy S10 to in-display fingerprint recognition. According to the site, the sensor will be provided by Qualcomm, and represents the third generation of the company's ultrasonic technology. That last detail is critical, because D.J. Koh reportedly has expressed that optical sensors offer a "bad user experience"compared to their ultrasonic counterparts.
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.
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.
Credit: Ice Universe
Front camera behind display?
Samsung may combine fingerprint-on-display and sound-on-display technologies with another design breakthrough that allows the device's front-facing camera and ambient light sensors to live behind the screen, yet still penetrate the glass when they need to. Samsung is calling this "under panel sensor" technology, and it was previewed at a private event the phone maker ran for its closest industry partners in Shenzhen, China in mid-October, according to Forbes and well-known Samsung leaker Ice Universe.
While Samsung's breakthroughs are certainly exciting in that they could potentially spell death for the notch, it is unlikely all of these technologies will debut in the Galaxy S10. Rather, they're much more likely to appear in the 2020 Galaxy flagship — something Ice Universe also noted.
Bloomberg's report seems to confirm these rumors, saying that the "S10 has triple cameras on the back while the front camera is visible and tucked under the screen."
5G inside (at least one model)
There could be a fourth model of the Galaxy S10 that would have 5G capability built in, according to a report from XDA developers. This is based on leaked code. However, if this edition of the S10 does become available, it will likely be after the initial launch. Samsung has previously said that the Galaxy S10 would not be the company's first 5G phone.
Bloomberg has more recently reported that Samsung is working with Verizon on a 5G version of the Galaxy S10.
Three models (maybe four)
We've heard multiple times from various sources that Samsung could release not two but three models of its upcoming Galaxy S10.
Bloomberg's report in late October seemingly confirmed that Samsung will be releasing three Galaxy S10 models, including a more affordable model.
TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in July that the company is planning 5.8-inch, 6.1-inch and 6.4-inch handsets, via Business Insider.
That followed an earlier report from ETNews back in June that listed a trio of devices with the code name Beyond. And finally, a report from Korean publication The Bell in October (by way of SamMobile) also claimed the top S10 model would see a 6.44-inch display with a 19:9 aspect ratio.
The kicker is that Kuo has said 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 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.
Adding to the speculation around multiple Galaxy S10 models is the rumored Galaxy S10 Lite, which was tipped by leaker/designer Benjamin Geskin. This device would use Samsung's all-screen Infinity-O display, and could have a front-facing camera hold built right into the screen.
Faster RAM and UFS 3.0 Storage
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.
While we may have to wait another year for LPDDR5 RAM to arrive in Samsung's smartphones, it seems almost certain at this point that the Galaxy S10 will support UFS 3.0. The news was reported by Android Central, which shared that Samsung has confirmed its first UFS 3.0 products will ship in the first half of 2019 at 128GB, 256GB and 512GB sizes. That's square in terms of timing with the S10's expected launch in early-to-mid Spring.
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.
CPU: Snapdragon 855 or 8150?
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.
It's important to note that Samsung employs both its own Exynos and Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors in its phones, and uses one or the other depending on the requirements of each region's carriers. Snapdragon-powered Galaxy devices typically only launch in North America — so it should come as little surprise that the Snapdragon 855 should be coming to at least U.S.-bound versions of the Galaxy S10.
Furthermore, XDA Developers recently discovered references in Samsung's Android 9 Pie firmware to a chipset known as the Snapdragon 8150. It's unknown whether this is simply a testing name for what will eventually be called the 855, or the final moniker the processor will go by.
Leaked Snapdragon 8150 benchmarks on the AnTuTu performance test show world-beating performance. Its score of 362,292 even tops the 353,210 point mark earned by Apple's A12 Bionic, which powers the iPhone XS and XS Max, as well as the iPhone XR.
Recently, Qualcomm has been sampling versions of that silicon to phone makers. Whatever it ends up being called, the chip utilizes a 7nm process, and the company has stated it will be available for "premium-tier smartphones and other mobile devices." Apple's brand-new A12 Bionic — the system-on-chip found inside the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR — was the world's first mass-produced 7nm mobile processor.
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.
A report in early October seems to confirm that Samsung will be offering triple rear cameras on the Galaxy S10. A leak from SamMobile says the first camera will come with a 12-megapixel sensor, f/1.5-2.4 variable aperture, and a 78-degree field-of-view. The second will be a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/1.9 aperture and a 123-degree field-of-view. And the last camera will reportedly ome with a 13-megapixel sensor and an f/2.4 aperture.
The source, who was not named in the report, said that the 12- and 13-megapixel options will each have autofocus and optical image stabilization built-in. The 16-megapixel camera will not.
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.
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."
A new Galaxy interface
XDA developers has discovered what could be the Android 9 Pie interface for the Galaxy S9, which has a sleek dark mode. There are also lots of other refinements. The overall look is cleaner and less cluttered. And it's reasonable to expect that this UI or something like it will make it to the Galaxy 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.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Tom's Guide
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