Galaxy S9 May Ditch the S8's Greatest Flaw

Samsung watchers expect the company to roll out its next flagship phone earlier than the usual spring launch date. But a new report suggests that Samsung is looking at a really early debut for the Galaxy S9 — as in, right around the start of 2018. Even better, the new phone could feature a design change from the S8. that will please a lot of users.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

According to VentureBeat's Evan Blass, who has a strong track record when it comes to upcoming phone details, Samsung is looking at providing a sneak peek at the Galaxy S9 during January's Consumer Electronic Show, with a full reveal coming later in March. That would be a departure from previous Galaxy phone launches, as Samsung didn't reveal any Galaxy S8 details until late March this year.

But it's news about the fingerprint sensor on the new phone that has us more excited than the sped-up release plans. Blass reports that the fingerprint sensor will find a new home on the Galaxy S9, in a much more convenient place than where it is on current Samsung phones.

One of Samsung’s few missteps with the Galaxy S8 was its oddly placed fingerprint sensor, which sat beside the camera on the back of the phone. It was a design choice panned by most customers and critics. If the latest rumor is correct, Samsung appears to have listened, as it will reportedly opt for a more traditional placement with the S9, with the scanner will now reside centrally below the camera stack. That would make it much easier to put your finger on the sensor without accidentally smudging the camera lens.

MORE: Samsung Galaxy S9 Rumors: Everything We Know So Far

In other respects, both the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are expected to be conservative upgrades after last year’s massive redesign. Users can expect the same edge-to-edge curved Infinity display. VentureBeat, citing a source briefed on Samsung's plans, actually calls the new handsets “nearly identical” to the previous generation. That’s a big win for fans of the headphone jack, a feature the Galaxy S8 retained that increasingly more phones are ditching these days.

However, a bigger spec boost for the larger S9+ could be in the cards. That includes an extra two gigabytes of RAM bringing the on-board memory to 6GB, which would match the Galaxy Note 8. The standard S9 would still offer 4GB of RAM like its predecessor. The S9+ will also reportedly get a second rear camera, which would differentiate it from the S9 the same way Apple separates the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. The lack of dual cameras was one of the greatest deficiencies of the S8+ compared to the iPhone 8 Plus, and such an addition would put the two big-screen flagships on equal footing in terms of photography.

These enhancements for the S9 could accompany a new DeX docking station, the device used to connect Galaxy S8 and Note 8 handsets to monitors, so they can be used as desktop computers. The new DeX station reportedly lays the phones face up, so their screens can function as touchpads or virtual keyboards in a pinch.

The release schedule laid out in this new report is a departure from what we've previously heard about Samsung's rollout plans for its new phone. Earlier reports had the phone debuting in February, possible at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. But even just a preview at CES would mean a speedier launch for the next Samsung phone.

Expect rumors to heat up as we get closer to CES; the show begins January 9.

Adam Ismail is a staff writer at Jalopnik and previously worked on Tom's Guide covering smartphones, car tech and gaming. His love for all things mobile began with the original Motorola Droid; since then he’s owned a variety of Android and iOS-powered handsets, refusing to stay loyal to one platform. His work has also appeared on Digital Trends and GTPlanet. When he’s not fiddling with the latest devices, he’s at an indie pop show, recording a podcast or playing Sega Dreamcast.