As it turns out, the only thing that could knock out Samsung's durable Galaxy S Active line of smartphones was Samsung itself — at least, according to a new report.
The folks over at SamMobile are predicting that Samsung has decided against selling the Galaxy S9 Active this year. While Samsung hasn't confirmed that's the case, SamMobile noted that the Galaxy S6 Active and Galaxy S7 Active went on sale in June in both 2015 and 2016. The Galaxy S8 Active was already available by mid-August of 2017.
Now, though, things have changed. There has been no talk or even speculation about a Galaxy S9 Active. And with the Galaxy Note 9 hitting stores this Friday (Aug. 24), there may be no window left for an Active version of the S9.
As a reminder, the Galaxy Active is a line of reinforced smartphones designed to be used by road warriors and anyone concerned that their standard handsets might not be able to hold up against regular use. They come with reinforced corners and are substantially bulkier than the standard models.
In addition to not offering any sign of a pending release, Samsung has also not launched any firmware for the Active models. The company has always released new firmware updates for Actives soon after the launch of its standard models. With that firmware now absent, it's just another sign that the Active line isn't in the works.
Finally, SamMobile argues that price might be stopping Samsung from launching an Active this year. The site notes that the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9 are already expensive smartphones. Samsung usually charges a premium on the Active models. Considering a Galaxy S9 will set you back nearly $1,000 already, going with an Active that could cost hundreds of dollars more might not do much to appeal to folks. Some might even prefer to buy a Galaxy S9 and hope for the best when traveling with it.
Now that Samsung makes its leading flagship water-resistant — both the S9 and Note 9 carry an IP68 water resistance rating — some of the need for an Active version of its phones has been addressed. The Active version of the Galaxy S usually carried a larger battery and a shatter-resistant screen, but even there, Samsung's regular flagships hold up pretty well to heavy use. The Galaxy S9 lasted a better-than-average 10 hours and 52 minutes on our battery test, placing it just outside of the longest lasting smartphones. And Samsung's flagship also fared well in our torture tests, even if the S9 wasn't as durable as Apple's iPhone X or the Moto Z2 Force.
To be sure, this is just speculation at this point. And it's possible that Samsung could ultimately decide to launch a Galaxy S9 Active. But given how many details about its new smartphones leak, and considering we haven't heard much about an Active so far, there's a good sign the Active will be AWOL in 2018.