Pre-orders started today for Samsung's newest smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus, both of which are set to hit the U.S. market on April 21.
Samsung has a lot riding on the success of these new flagship phones, which arrive just months after the company's costly failure with the fire-prone and, ultimately, recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7. In addition, the South Korean firm has only a few months to make a splash until rival Apple releases its iPhone 8 later this year.
The 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 is priced starting at $720, while the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus will sell for around $840. Both feature bodies of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and are available in midnight black, orchid gray, and arctic silver.
'Large Display, Not Large Phone'
The biggest design change evident in the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is something Samsung calls the "Infinity Display" that creates a curved-edge and nearly bezel-free screen. Reviewers have noted the design makes both devices feel bigger than phones that are similar in size, with the standard bezel bordering the screen. "The result is a large display, not a large phone," according to Samsung.
With the new design, Samsung has eliminated the physical home button at the bottom of the front screen, replacing it with a pressure-sensitive control area that's integrated into the display. That change means the fingerprint-based security sensor has been relocated to the back of the phone near the camera lens. Another significant design change is the addition of a new Bixby button on the side of the phone to activate Samsung's intelligent digital assistant.
The Galaxy S8 design opens up "new ways to experience the world," said Samsung Mobile Communications president DJ Koh in a statement. Koh said that the new phones are also aimed at rebuilding customers' confidence, though he did not specifically make reference to the company's failed Galaxy Note 7, expected to cost Samsung well over $5 billion.
"The Galaxy S8 is our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what's possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung's smartphone legacy," Koh said.
Docking Station for Desktop Use
Another feature arriving with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus is a new service called Samsung DeX that will let users connect their phones to desktop displays via docking stations and use them like PCs.
"Samsung DeX provides an Android-based, desktop-like experience that enables users to seamlessly access mobile apps, edit documents and browse the Web," Samsung said. "Furthermore, its optimized interface allows users to easily multitask, watch videos in resizable windows, reply to messages via a task bar and more, directly from their smartphone on a larger display using a keyboard and mouse."
The DeX docking station, which Samsung is selling for $149.99 through its online store, includes an HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet port, a USB type-C power-in and a cooling fan. Samsung said the accessory will be available globally when the S8 and S8 Plus hit the market.