Announced yesterday, Samsung's new mid-range Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus will sport many of the features found on the company's flagship S devices, including a nearly full-screen Infinity Display and dual front camera with advanced focusing technology. Set to arrive on the market sometime in January, the new phones are expected to be priced between $350 and $450.
Meanwhile, Samsung is reportedly planning to launch its next-generation Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in February, a little less than one year after it released the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus and just five months after the arrival of its Galaxy Note 8.
Recent leaks about the design of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus suggest the new flagships will bring incremental, rather than, dramatic updates over last year's design. This could disappoint fans looking for a Samsung equivalent to Apple's new iPhone X, but it's possible the South Korean firm might unveil something more revolutionary at next month's CES in Las Vegas.
Low-, Mid-Range Phones Led Way for Samsung in '17
In 2017, Samsung got back on track with solidly reviewed and well-selling devices, such as the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8, following its disastrous and costly experience with the fire-prone and universally recalled Galaxy Note 7 in 2016. However, the company reported lower earnings in the third quarter of this year due to the dominance of low-end and mid-range phone sales over its flagship devices.
The newest of those mid-range devices, the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus (pictured above), will come with a nearly bezel-free look that's now expected in premium phones. The 5.6-inch Galaxy A8 and the 6-inch Galaxy A8 Plus will both run Android 7.1.1 and will support fast-charging via a USB Type-C connector.
Both will also feature a Super AMOLED display with a rear 16-megapixel camera and dual (16-megapixel and 8-megapixel) front-facing cameras, with advanced features for improved focusing, low-light photography, video image stabilization, and time-lapse video creation.
Available in black, orchid gray, gold, and blue, the Galaxy A8 and A8 Plus will also support an Always On Display, and Samsung Pay for mobile transactions.
Targeting High-End, 5G in 2018
Looking ahead to 2018, Samsung said in its Q3 financial results, released Oct. 31, that it plans to "strengthen its leadership in the high-end market with flagship smartphones and improve profitability through optimizing product lineups. Moreover, the company will strive to secure business growth opportunities through new technologies such as 5G and by strengthening the services and software competencies."
Samsung plans to launch its next flagship device in February, according to a report published Friday in Bloomberg. The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus "will be similar to the current Galaxy models, but include upgraded camera systems," according to unidentified sources cited in the report.
"The launch will be a significant one for Samsung, potentially serving as a way for the phone maker to continue strong global momentum despite the appeal of the new top-of-the-line iPhone X and a forecast of a dip in market share," Bloomberg reported. "Samsung's new models will present Cupertino, California-based Apple with formidable rivals just months into the iPhone X's life cycle."
In early November, the analyst firm IDC reported that Samsung remained the global smartphone leader, with its 83.3 million units shipped in 2017 representing a 9.5-percent increase over 2016. However, IDC noted that Q4 could prove strong for Apple "as the new X will lead at the high-end and as older discounted models will offer something for everyone in between."