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article imageSamsung unveils its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone

By James Walker     Mar 29, 2017 in Technology
Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S8, its 2017 flagship smartphone to rival Apple's iPhone and this year's premium Android handsets. The phone has an all-new design, a bezel-less display, Bixby intelligent assistant and improved camera hardware.
The Galaxy S8 is a milestone launch for Samsung. Introducing the company's first major design overhaul in several years, the S8 stands apart from previous Samsung products. This will help distance the S8 from the ill-fated Note 7, recalled and discontinued after being plagued by overheating issues that caused hundreds of fires.
Infinity Edge
Samsung is putting the past behind it today, describing the Galaxy S8 and its larger S8+ sibling as "smartphones without limits." The base Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch display whereas the S8+ gets a 6.2-inch panel. Both use Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and are branded as "Infinity Edge," referring to Samsung's new bezel-less design that sees the screen merge seamlessly into the back of the phone.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung
To make this design work, Samsung has been forced into abandoning its traditional physical and capacitive hardware keys. Long since removed by rival manufacturers, Samsung has retained its tactile home, back and multitasking keys over the past few generations of its products.
With the S8, the company is making the move to software keys, allowing the bottom bezel to be shrunken to extend the Infinity Edge display. The back and recent buttons are now customisable soft keys. The Home button gets a special treatment and is embedded beneath the screen. Samsung has managed to complete its long-rumoured tech, enabling it to usher in a new era of phone design. According to the company, the button feels like the old physical key.
Bixby
As previously announced, the Galaxy S8 ships with Samsung's new Bixby assistant preinstalled. Bixby remains unproven and is currently in an early state. Samsung is pitching the assistant as a way to simplify common smartphone tasks, promoting "multimodal" functionality that lets you control multiple apps simultaneously.
Samsung Galaxy S8 - Bixby
Samsung Galaxy S8 - Bixby
Samsung
Bixby is contextually aware and capable of learning your habits and preferences. It can also integrate with external services and hook into apps installed on the phone. The Bixby ecosystem will expand over time, aiming to rival Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
DeX
Samsung is launching the S8 with a new feature designed to rival Microsoft's Continuum. Samsung DeX lets you connect an S8 or S8+ to a display, keyboard and mouse and use apps in a desktop environment.
Samsung has created a "completely redesigned" Android interface that's optimised for desktop use. It features resizable windows, right-click context menus and a conventional web browser designed to be accessible with a mouse.
Samsung DeX
Samsung DeX
Samsung
Like Continuum, Samsung is pitching DeX as the ideal mobile solution for people who need a portable workstation or only want to buy one device. By purchasing a Galaxy S8 and docking station, you can own both a smartphone and a desktop PC when required. Samsung has worked with key productivity app developers to optimise their Android products for DeX. Adobe's Acrobat Reader and Lightroom mobile apps are already supported, as is Microsoft's Office suite.
When more functionality is required, DeX can be used to connect to virtual desktop servers and remotely access Windows systems. The only prerequisite for all this functionality is the optional Samsung DeX station. It supports HDMI monitors and Bluetooth and USB peripherals.
Hardware
Beyond the software features, Samsung has made sure the S8 features the most premium – if predictable – hardware available on modern phones. It comes with an octa-core processor, using either Samsung's own Exynos or Qualcomm Snapdragon silicon depending on variant. The rest of the device is identical regardless of the processor, including 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage and Android 7.0 Nougat.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung
The usual bevy of supporting features is provided, covering a heart rate monitor, USB Type-C, fast and wireless charging options, Bluetooth v5.0, Wi-Fi 80.211a/b/g/n and Samsung's iris scanning authentication tech. The S8 will be Samsung's first real chance to demonstrate this system after its debut on the abandoned Note 7.
A New Galaxy
Samsung's smartphone launches are always anticipated for months in advance but the S8's arrival is a stand-out event. The company has broken from its cycle of iterative device refreshes, developing an entirely new design and a robust selection of innovative software features.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung
At a time when the smartphone market is nearing saturation in many countries, phone manufacturers require distinctive features to stand out from the crowd. The Galaxy S8 could prove to be the most noticeable Android phone this year.
Samsung has ensured there's something to appeal to every audience, whether it's a mobile worker who could end up relying on DeX, a forward-thinking technologist interested in Bixby or just a typical consumer who wants a phone that powers through apps and carries a design worth showing off to friends.
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8
Samsung
"The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ usher in a new era of smartphone design and fantastic new services, opening up new ways to experience the world," said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. "The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy."
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ will be available from April 21 in several colours including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue and Maple Good. Samsung will be including  a set of new high-performance earphones made with AKG by Harman in the box of each device. Pricing and availability details haven't yet been confirmed but will vary with region.
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