Some Initial Thoughts on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

(A free SGS8 wallpaper for you, courtesy of Walloid…)

This may surprise you, but I personally don’t see Samsung as a smartphone enthusiast brand. Here in Canada you can only buy their latest models locked to a carrier, and Samsung continues to build in additional region-blocking restrictions on grey market unlocked devices. Rooting a Galaxy or Note seems unnecessarily difficult, and if you don’t, it’s been proven that their flagship devices slow down over time.

That being said, I cannot deny that for the vast majority of the world Samsung is Android, thus making any new flagship release a very big deal. I do think that the South Korean conglomerate serves the enthusiast community by setting the bar for displays and cameras, and maybe design. On these three fronts the S8 and S8+ don’t disappoint, and both phones make good on 2017’s promise to kill the bezel.

Here are some additional thoughts on notable new features in the S8/S8+, in the hopes of kick-starting a wider discussion about the latest from Samsung.

Bixby

Here’s the world’s biggest Android OEM flexing its marketshare muscle—how else could you possibly  justify a proprietary in-house AI alternative to Google Assistant? Though Samsung may reap some short-term benefits from scraping up data from early adopters, I expect this feature to be abandoned in a year or two. What currently passes for “artificial intelligence” in smartphones is still pretty hard to pull off well.

Bluetooth

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know—the S8 and S8+ are the first smartphones with Bluetooth v5 support. It will obviously come to other phones as well, but for the Samsungs it means you can stream Bluetooth audio to two different sources at the same time, even adjust the volume independently for each. That’s a pretty neat trick!

DeX

This is an idea we’ve seen before, with Convergence from Ubuntu and Continuum from Microsoft. As seems to be the case with each of those, I predict that nobody will ever actually use DeX—but it will help push Samsung sales even further by being a killer in-store display.

What do you think of the new S8 and S8+?

Links: Android Police, Howard Forums (1) (2), XDA (1) (2)

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