Samsung Galaxy S8 likely to lose home button, feature curved screen, headphone jack

The next Galaxy smartphone from Samsung Electronics Ltd. will be making a clean break from its predecessors, according to Wall Street Journal insiders.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” writers Eun-Young Jeong and Jonathan Cheng have revealed the next iteration of Samsung’s flagship device will, like Apple Inc.’s iPhone 7, no longer include a home button, while the fingerprint scanner used to unlock the device will be moved to a new location in the back.

Other likely changes include a curved screen, a button on the side that will activate the company’s new Siri-like virtual assistant, Bixby, and two available sizes for consumers to choose from.

And unlike the iPhone 7, it will feature a headphone jack.

The device is scheduled to be revealed at a New York City-based event late next month, the Wall Street Journal’s sources say, noting that certain features could change in the interim.

Samsung itself declined to comment on the story.

It’s likely that Samsung is hoping the Galaxy S8’s streamlined design and virtual assistant, whom sources said is designed to answer voiced questions from users, will help consumers forget the embarrassing debacle of last year’s Galaxy Note 7 recall, which began in September after reports that the device’s 3,500 mAh battery was prone to heating up and exploding surfaced in late August.

Though Samsung officials initially believed that only batteries manufactured by one of its two suppliers, Samsung affiliate Samsung SDI Co., were overheating, an internal investigation ultimately discovered the fires were caused both by irregularly sized batteries and manufacturing issues.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung SDI has spent 150 billion Korean won (approximately $170 million Canadian) since the Galaxy Note 7 recall on improving product safety, in addition to launching an X-ray inspection process for all batteries. The division is expected to manufacture batteries for the Galaxy S8 too.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former IT World Canada associate editor turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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