Gears & Gadgets

Samsung reportedly planning five flagship phone models for early 2019

We’re rapidly approaching 2019, and that means it will soon be time for Samsung’s yearly Galaxy S flagship launch. The company has been facing declining smartphone sales for some time now, and if the latest Wall Street Journal report is to be believed, it seems Samsung’s 2019 strategy will be to launch a whole bunch of high-end smartphone models and let the market decide.

The Journal‘s report claims the Galaxy S10 launch should happen sometime in February, and instead of the usual two smartphone models (one big, one small), Samsung will launch three variants of the Galaxy S10 at once. The report says the three models will have “displays that range in size from 5.8 inches to 6.4 inches”—so instead of “big” and “small,” it sounds like we’re getting “small,” “medium,” and “large.” After similar designs for the S8 and S9, the S10 is expected to be all new.

Additionally, the report claims Samsung will be prepping a fourth version of the Galaxy S10 with 5G connectivity and an even bigger screen. The device, codenamed “Beyond X,” is said to have a 6.7-inch display and a whopping six cameras: two in the front and four in the back. The Journal didn’t say what Samsung was planning to use all these cameras for, but we can take a guess. The two front cameras would most likely follow the Pixel 3’s lead and include a wide-angle lens in addition to the normal selfie cam, sort of like a built-in selfie stick. For the four on the back, Samsung recently released a phone with four rear cameras—the Galaxy A9—so it’s a good bet the S10 will follow the same layout. The A9’s rear-camera setup basically includes every dual camera gimmick of the past few years: you get a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens, a main camera, and a depth camera for bokeh effects.

This bigger, 5G-capable Galaxy S10 is likely to see a later spring release, according to the report. Samsung is currently in talks with carriers to see who can scrape together a mobile 5G network by then. The first 4G devices were incredibly battery hungry, thanks to the first-generation 4G modems that existed as a separate chip, instead of the SoC-integrated modems of later designs. It looks like 5G is going down a similar path for launch, with separate 5G chips. It would not surprise me to hear that the 5G model has the biggest screen just so it can fit a bigger battery and power this expensive new modem.

High-end Samsung smartphone #5 is the mythical foldable smartphone, which Samsung teased on stage earlier this month. A report from South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said the phone would cost $ 1,770 and be called the “Galaxy F,” but The Wall Street Journal claims that “Samsung executives are debating the foldable phone’s name,” and “Samsung Flex” and “Galaxy Flex” are two names being tossed around.

There are more S10 rumors: Evan Blass shared a few S10 tidbits earlier this month, saying that, instead of a notch, the S10 would use a “hole punch” front camera cutout. We know Samsung is working on this style of display—it showed off the “Infinity-O” hole punch screen design at its recent developer conference, so that sounds like a good fit. Blass also says the device will have an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, which, again, we know the company is working on with Qualcomm. The Galaxy S series is usually the vanguard for the new Qualcomm chip, which, rumor has it, is called the Snapdragon 8150.

2019 definitely sounds like the year of the “more is more” approach from Samsung. With sales on the decline, surely one of these five models will be a hit in the market. Right?

Listing image by Samsung

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Tech – Ars Technica