Samsung Galaxy S8 Preview

Posted on March 29, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Hardware with 64 Comments

Samsung Galaxy S8 Preview

It’s always news when Samsung updates its flagship handsets. But today’s Galaxy S8 announcement is particularly momentous, even for the world’s biggest maker of smartphones.

It’s been a tough year for Samsung, which suffered an historic recall for the Galaxy Note 7 and then temporarily ceded its sales crown to Apple when that firm’s iPhone 7 lineup sold much better than expected. But the Galaxy S8 family looks good enough to power a comeback.

Let me dispense with two bits of nonsense that won’t matter in the slightest up-front: Bixby and DeX.

Bixby is Samsung’s digital personal assistant, and it would be interesting if something called Google Assistant wasn’t already built into Android. We do not need yet another one of these things, and I expect the world to simply ignore this.

DeX, meanwhile, works like Microsoft’s ignored Continuum technology: It lets you dock your handset and use an external display, keyboard, and mouse, creating a sort of Android-powered pseudo-PC. This is one of those ideas that is good on paper—I’m sure it’s a terrific demo—but makes almost zero sense in the real world. There are simpler ways to blast phone-based content to a big screen, and better devices—Chromebooks, PCs, and Macs, for starters—for those who need a computer.

OK, let’s get to the heart of the matter: The new phones—and, yes, there are two different models, the S8 and the S8 Plus—look pretty amazing.

Both are much bigger than Samsung’s previous flagships, sporting 5.8-inch and 6.2-inch displays, respectively. Those displays are both super-widescreen units that span almost the entire front surface of the devices. Those screens are also both wraparound unit, like previous Edge versions, so that’s no longer a model differentiator: You can’t get a Galaxy S8 with a flat screen. Instead, you get an S8, or you get an S8 Plus.

Both displays utilize the same resolution, which is 2960 x 1440. That works out to 570 ppi on the 5.8-inch model and 529 ppi on the 6.2-inch model. By comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus offers only 401 ppi on its smaller 5.5-inch display.

Internally, the Samsung Galaxy S8 packs exactly the punch you’d expect from a 2017 flagship: an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor (in the US, anyway), 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal storage with microSD expansion. The rear camera is unchanged from last year—it’s the same 12 MP unit (with optical image stabilization) that Samsung used in the Galaxy S7—but that’s probably OK because that camera consistently rated at or near the top of all smartphone cameras. And Samsung claims that it’s improved things on the software side, for whatever that’s worth. (The front-facing camera is upgraded to 8 MP.)

The Galaxy S8 includes a 3000 mAh (non-removable) battery, while the bigger plus features a 3500 mAh version. Samsung says that it has fixed the problems that dogged last year’s Note 7, and has likewise improved matters so that the batteries should not degrade as quickly over time as previous versions. Both phones include Qualcomm Quick Charge technology and wireless charging.

The one thing I’m not particularly excited about, as usual, is Samsung’s software. From the goofy-like navigation bar buttons, which are inexplicably different from stock Android, to the system’s strange color scheme and icon style are just not my thing. Hopefully, you can replace all that nonsense with the stock Google launcher. One thing you won’t be able to replace is the Home button, which is now virtualized on the wide screen. Early reports suggest it’s not as natural as the haptic-powered Home screen that Apple uses on the iPhone 7. But you can sign-in with your face, using optical recognition.

I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I may need to pick one of these up. In the US, these phones will come in black, gray, and silver bodies, with blue and gold available only internationally. Pricing will start north of $700 and go from there, with availability beginning April 21 in the US.

You can learn more at the Samsung website.

 

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Comments (64)

64 responses to “Samsung Galaxy S8 Preview”

  1. Avatar

    harmjr

    The one thing that intrigued me was the continuum knock off.

    I wonder how well that will work with Microsoft's Remote Desktop App.

    • Avatar

      nbplopes

      In reply to lilmoe:


      Samsung was almost nothing in the smartphone scene before Android or copying Apple. Blaming that on consumer ignorance is an exercise in smoke screen making. And they copied and copied, than started anticipating Apple in launching features. Every time there was a rumor about Apple doing something Samsung took the rumor and implemented something before Apple launch on top of Android of it the implementation was in practice broken ... This practice repeats itself with Galaxy S8, there are rumor that Apple is getting read of the analog button while providing haptic feedback ... so on and so forth ... and here comes Samsung first (I just wonder if by being the manufactures of a lot of iPhone components they are using privileged information to do this ... it is all too coincidental).


      Having said this two things of note as Samsung seam to be arriving to a third stage since Galaxy S6:

      1) Android popularity and market share owes a lot to Samsung. So much so that in practice I believe that Android is almost as much Samsung as it is Google's. They pushed the limit of hardware and design to show Android the best it could, even comparable to the iPhone since Galaxy S6

      2) In this third stage Samsung seams to be in the direction of creating their own and unique computing vision as well as design language for the mobile age. Again since Galaxy S6, curved displays an so on.

      Has you have said this practice of copying the best out there is pretty common, Microsoft does it all the time in their quest for total assimilation. But it seams to me that Samsung really goes the extra mile on this to say the least.

      Personally I really feel uncomfortable feeding this practice. I really do. But I also think that the Samsung UI on top of Android is becoming unique while departing from the default Android experience in many ways positive.

      PS: I have a Galaxy A5 S

      • Avatar

        lilmoe

        In reply to nbplopes:

        "Samsung was almost nothing in the smartphone scene before Android or copying Apple"

        Seriously? That's absolutely NOT true.


        I hate the word "copy". While I used it to prove a point, it just gives an impression that they're making carbon-copy clones, like Chinese knock-off phones. That has NEVER been the case. "Imitation" and "inspiration" are better words for what they did in the past.

        Migrating successful individual features to your products is not, by any means, copying. It's adding value to your product. Something that every manufacturer should do, just like in the automotive industry. Otherwise, air conditioning and power windows wouldn't be standard on cars now. People like Paul criticize Microsoft for not incorporating a fingerprint scanner in some of their devices, yet calls it "copying" when it comes to Samsung... Totally unfair and unreasonable.


        "Every time there was a rumor about Apple doing something Samsung took the rumor and implemented something before Apple launch on top of Android of it the implementation was in practice broken"

        Please stop supporting this pathetic and unethical behavior that Apple supported (and shareholder owned) media outlets, like BGR and The Verge, are instigating. It takes years to implement a feature, even for a manufacturing giant like Samsung. This is NOT how the supply chain works. Features are available for all to incorporate, and who does what first mostly depends on who can secure a contract or licensing terms with the innovators of such technologies, with the most profitable/feasible terms first. Apple sometimes gets a lead in a certain feature solely because of sheer volume of a SINGLE PRODUCT. That volume makes it cheaper for them to incorporate technologies that need more time to inevitably reach other OEMs.

        This notion that Samsung "listens to rumors, then copies them to be first" is nothing but childish, stupid, and irresponsible. I absolutely HATE the way Apple goes on about these rumors. It's disgusting. When Samsung were in talks with Synaptics for incorporating their ultrasound fingerprint scanners (which were demonstrated last year or the year before BTW) under the screen, rumors started hitting the pipeline that Apple is doing the same thing. Pathetic.


        "there are rumor that Apple is getting read of the analog button while providing haptic feedback"

        This is a VERY evident example of Apple copying Samsung first based on rumors. Their take on this specific feature was absolutely meaningless. There wasn't a problem to be solved. However, Samsung NEEDS that feature to make their all-screen implementation more practical. One just needs to use common sense to see who copied who there.


        Samsung innovates in their hardware. They actually design and build almost the entirety of the phone, unlike everyone else. Screens, RAM, Storage, custom processors (design and fabrication), modems, camera sensors, imaging processors, etc, etc... Since the Galaxy S3, Samsung has been the major driver of innovation of the smartphone industry, and the ones doing the copying were Apple (AND Google). Claiming otherwise, is just plain bias. While Apple made the smartphone accessible to a larger audience, Samsung has nurtured it to the more functional device we have today.


        "Personally I really feel uncomfortable feeding this practice"

        You shouldn't. OEMs should strive to bring value to their products, with reasonable means, to the consumer. Everyone copies. But purposely highlighting Samsung only "copiers" is unacceptable and wrong.


        Just try ignoring the stigma surrounding Samsung (which the media worked really hard at) for a moment and the picture will be very clear to you. Perception and image are childs' play for Apple, Samsung can only intercept with objectively better hardware, more value, and a HUGE marketing budget.

    • Avatar

      lilmoe

      In reply to lilmoe:

      Ugh.... Editing my comment deleted the whole thing and can't seem to get it to commit. I've tried several browsers, not working...


      Original Comment:


      It's time that you let go of that totally unwarranted bias against Samsung, Paul. They're not the market leader of mobile devices just because of marketing you know.



      "Copying Apple" (copying =/= cloning) at the initial stage was the absolute right thing to do. Consumers are ignorant of tech. People, at the time, thought that only iPhones did specific things in a specific way. Immititating the iPhone was the easiest and most straightforward way of telling consumers that "hey, our phones do the same too, and more". Apple, Microsoft, Google and just about everyone else does the same in terms of imitating successful features (and are even more elloborate in copying), yet you give these guys a pass. I can't comprehend why. Samsung has been the leader in innovation for a while now in just about everything, and are just about the only ones raising the bar and moving progress forwards in a meaningful way, with the least amount of compromise. I mean, even Nokia's previous engineers and imaging experts have always compared their cameras to Galaxies, not iPhones.



      If I'm going to be honest, I'd say that Google's latests attempts are nothing but iPhone clones. Yet they're doing a bad job at that. The hardware is full of problems, and the software, well, is undesireable. Lets be honest here, no one outside the technosphere wants stock Android (or Google's take). Every other OEM is either copying Samsung, or Apple, or a little of both. That includes LG, HTC, and all other Chinese OEMs. Sales numbers don't lie. If you want a Pixel, then you're just better off buying an iPhone instead since that's what you most probably what. The iPhone is objectively a better phone than the Pixel. But the Galaxy S7 is, objectively, miles ahead in terms of hardware. And unless you're dead set on iOS (for whatever subjective reason), the software is great. The S8 should widen that gap further and stay on top till the Note8.



      Samsung's software, since the Nougat update at least, really is the very best IMO. You really need to give their built-in apps a try instead of dismissing them like every other undeciplined tech journalist. The browser supports ad-block, and makes the mobile browsing experience flawless in terms of speed and snappiness. The gallery, calendar and email apps are the best out there IMO. If you don't like the look and feel of the interface, or icons, you can simply choose a different theme. Touchwiz does support that, you know. If for whatever reason you still don't like them, then it's still Android, go ahead and change everything; you still have the best hardware.



      The camera has been the very best all-rounder for a while, especially in manual mode (you just need to fiddle with ISO to make it as lowe as possible). Nothing compares. The S8's back shooter's hardware is in fact improved with stacked RAM (which in addition to better slow-mo and burst modes, makes image scanning much better). The image processing in auto is vastly improved with stacked imaging. The stacked sensor should allow for much better video, with the least amount of jello effect.



      The radios have always been best in class, with the lowest SAR levels and best reception in the industry.



      Also, you're just missing out on these amazing screens. AMOLED? HDR? 1000nits of brightness?



      "I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I may need to pick one of these up"



      Yes. You really do. You owe it to yourself, as a tech enthusiast, to give the best smartphone hardware a true and objective chance. Don't dismiss Samsung's software and built-in apps. Really give them a try. Get used to them, THEN try something else. You'll know what I, and lots of others are, talking about.



      *edited for grammar and clarification.

  2. Avatar

    beckerrt

    Yes! Finally, Paul will review a Samsung phone! I think his last was the Galaxy S5 if I'm not mistaken. Long time ago.

  3. Avatar

    Jorge Garcia

    DeX is the future, MS is the past. It's all about the Apps, plain and simple.


    So, Samsung, please make (soon):


    1. A complete range of Laptops running DeX/Android. (Maybe dual boot to Windows for those rarer and rarer legacy programs???)

    2. Traditional PC boxes and/or “puck-like” TV-PC’s that run DeX/Android.

    3. DeX OS available as a downloadable ISO, so I can convert most of my Family’s existing Windows PC’s over to DeX and forget about Windows’ stupid update process and viruses, etc.


    Conversely, what is Google thinking? They're still trying to put lipstick on ChromeOS and "hacking it" to run Android Apps. Sure, it's a nice gesture, to satisfy the existing Chromebook user base, but 1.4 billion people use Android and BY NOW they could have/should have created a device-adaptable version of it for PC-like devices, just like RemixOS and now DeX has. If Google doesn't announce "Android for Everything" (or GoogleOS, as I'd call it) at this upcoming I/O, my jaw will drop at how they are literally handing over the Android torch to Samsung.


    Android O = Operating system, as in desktop :)

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to Jorge Garcia:

      The purpose of Dex is to allow a desktop-like experience to a Samsung phone when you get a Dex hub and peripherals. A Dex laptop makes no sense at all.

      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600: It does to me. I'm still waiting for those "Holy Grail" Laptops and PCs that can replace yesteryear's x86 Windows machines, yet run Android Apps natively. ChromeOS, even with the latest "Android App" hack doesn't cut it or me. DeX is essentially a (very well done) "desktop skin" of Android, and as such has a lot of applications beyond the S8's gimmicky dock adaptation that almost no one will be able to use conveniently.


        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to Jorge Garcia:

          I don't see what's wrong with the Chromebook's UI. Personally I don't see much added value in running Android apps on them, but certainly Google could improve the way Android apps are displayed on them if it became an issue. No need to license DeX from Samsung.

      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to skane2600: Let me give a real-world example. Say, it's 2018 and you have a daughter going to college. She's only ever owned/cared to own mobile devices but now she needs a laptop to do actual assignments on. For argument's sake, you're in the 90% of people who can't afford a Mac/iPad Pro, nor do you want to support Apple's evil ecosystem lock-in. You go to Best Buy and on one side you have a Windows Laptop that you know will get viruses if your daughter clicks on the wrong thing and/or likely get stuck in an update cycle or two that you will personally have to "fix" from time to time. Then on the other side there is a sleek Samsung Laptop that runs Dex and is productive "enough" for a student, but runs Android and therefore CAN install the newest social media apps and games as they come out. I'D PICK THE DEX MACHINE 100%.


        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to Jorge Garcia:

          Seems like a pretty speculative scenario. My daughters already have Windows laptops and haven't had any trouble with viruses. One of my teenage daughters doesn't even want a phone. I'm not worried about Apple's "evilness", I just don't want to pay a premium for the status of owning an Apple device. Social media will always be available via the web so we are covered there. Any games they play are either on a 3DS, a Wii or on the web. I realize our family may not be typical but I don't think your scenario is that typical either.

          • Avatar

            Jorge Garcia

            In reply to skane2600: DeX itself may not evolve into anything grand, but Google's version of DeX will be. Android may be a mess, but it won't always be. It's all about the Apps, it always is. MS missed the Mobile boat, so now they have no Apps and probably never will, unless Google lets them emulate or something. Apple has the Apps, but they are too stratospheric to count as mainstream computing, especially true worldwide. Google has the Apps, and the momentum, but they just refuse to corner the PC market as they could have starting 2 years ago had they released a version of Android that begins to compete with Windows in a proper way. Just my view.


            • Avatar

              skane2600

              In reply to Jorge Garcia:

              To say that MS has no Apps is a big exaggeration. But anyway, Windows has programs, millions (if not billions) of them. Mobile is fine for a limited subset of computing, primarily consuming content. Apps are important in mobile because the browsing experience in general on a phone is awful. The smartphone as CPU unit approach of Continuum and Dex is going to fail because it's essentially the same tethered experience as a desktop PC or Mac except with more constraints on performance and no access to most established productivity applications. Laptops (Windows, Mac, Linux) although bigger and heavier, are actually a better mobile solution than a smartphone with Dex-type capability because everything you need is integrated into one device. You don't have to live with a degraded experience just because you are on a train, a plane or Starbucks.

    • Avatar

      jrickel96

      In reply to Jorge Garcia:

      DeX is hardly the future. Probably won't even exist on the next Galaxy in a year.


      Android has proven to be not very good on anything not a phone. Despite the tablets that are out there, the amount of apps optimized for the larger screens is minuscule. The same will happen for the even more limited DeX.


      Seriously, how many people will buy the dock? 10% of those that buy the S8? Maybe less.


      So let's say it sells 30 million (that's a high number). So 3 million docks? Those are Windows Phone numbers. So why do we think a ton of app developers will take the time to make their apps work with DeX properly when they haven't optimized with tablet specific apps either, despite more Android tablets being sold than that?


      Very few people actually use desktops anymore. They use laptops if they use a PC. There is no laptop dock for this. Most people that use desktops do so because they need the power or they do it for work. Android has greater security concerns than Windows on desktop. I know of no company that would be interested in using it as their primary OS for doing business. No POS systems run on Android for sales.


      You can talk about viruses on Windows, but Android is much worse and Android has an app problem. That problem is that the OS does not hold apps to a high standard so developers take shortcuts that compromise processor and memory usage while also not caring about power consumption. Switching to the iPhone from my Nexus 6P really reveals how bad Android is - and I got worse battery life on Android N than I did on M despite running a clean Google experience.


      Then there's fragmentation. Android O? Barely anyone uses N nearly a year after it came out. Lollipop is the most run version. Marshmellow is second. Nougat was at 1.2% back in February and probably hasn't grown much since. It will with the S8, but Marshmellow will likely be #1.


      So Android O will be tops in Android marketshare two to three years after it gets released. Why would anyone want to use Android for business when it never gets updates?


      And as for DeX, most S8 updates will be tied to a carrier. So you'll be held by the whims of carriers or Samsung for updates - not Google.


      Even if Google does more, Samsung will still control what gets deployed for the S8. Whereas Microsoft updates Windows on Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc regardless of the OEM.


      DeX is not the future. It has not hope of being successful in any meaningful way. Your best hope for portable desktops is Windows on ARM. Everyone I know in tech actually DO believe that is a gamechanger if it does deliver the Win32 capabilities promised. You won't need Citrix to run those apps.


      Android is a mess. Fragmentation is all over. Google has no real control over it. Security issues abound. Developers have no incentive to produce quality apps - compare this to iOS where they are forced to.


      I just got a major update for iOS the other day on my iPad Pro and my iPhone 7 Plus. It included a new File System and my carrier could do nothing to stop it.


      I just got a new update on my Xbox.


      And I'll get a new update on my Windows desktop and on my Windows laptop.


      While my Nexus will get updates, it will only get them for maybe one more year from Google. And most of those updates are for security purposes because Android is so porous. But the Nexus and the Pixels are the rarities.


      When will the S8 get updates? When will it get security updates? Will Samsung just abandon it when the S9 comes out?


      Android isn't going anywhere, but it's also not in any position to make a real play at the desktop or laptop market because the experience is so disunified. Few people I talk to speak highly of Android. They speak highly of their Galaxy or their G6 or their Pixel. They have zero loyalty to the OS. It just happens to be what they run - and most have issues with the OS. But it was cheap for the OEMs.


      I'll be interested to see what happens when we have Ultra Mobile PCs that actually can run real Windows and also run the adaptive shell. I suspect those will be successful in the business world and I also suspect that Nadella is right. The smartphone is just a step and it will die. DeX just seeks to prolong the smartphone. Let's see what's next. I doubt it's DeX.

      • Avatar

        Jorge Garcia

        In reply to jrickel96: Everything you say is true, and I don't disagree with any of it, but my view is that Win32 will only be around for business reasons in the not-too-distant future. I'm a fan of Windows/MS, but they are screwed outside of the business world. 1.4 Billion people use Android, so it will improve, it HAS to. Every Win32 program/tool that CAN be ported to Android, IS being ported to Android as we speak, and that's especially true now that Samsung is throwing its weight behind the idea.



        • Avatar

          jrickel96

          In reply to Jorge Garcia:


          Win32 will certainly be around for games. Even current college students continue to use it for any serious things they do. I've worked with a lot of 19-21 year olds that have Android phones but see them as jokes for anything relating to productivity. They feel the same about Chromebooks. These are students studying medicine and engineering.


          Speaking of medicine, Android has no future there. Google's productivity suite is not HIPAA compliant nor is Android as an OS. Same goes for Android for most governments around the world.


          Android has HAD to improve for years and it hasn't. The fragmentation has not improved. It is still beholden to the OEMs and the carriers. How do you easily manage Android devices? You don't. When you deal with BYOD, they're all over the place.


          And we can talk nice about the S8, but truth is that a VERY SMALL amount of those Android devices are premium ones on the level of the S8 or G6, etc.


          This desktop idea will be limited to the Samsung and the Qualcomm 835. But we really have to see what happens if we see 835 powered laptops and mini laptops, etc that are able to work on mobile networks AND get updates direct from Microsoft.


          I actually think Microsoft's current concept of the future is the more likely one - a full desktop PC in your pocket, possibly with keyboard attached. That version of a 6" phone could connect to a BT keyboard and go into desktop mode. I doubt that the S8 could do that.


          Most of those Android ports are just not good. Android is a terrible development environment. How long until java truly goes away? How can Google or Samsung guarantee better memory management from apps, better power management?


          I used the improved Doze on Android N with the Nexus 6P. It was horrible. My iPhone 7 Plus KILLS it in battery life, despite having a smaller battery. I've found the same when comparing with a friend's Pixel XL.


          Android is severely fragments. The processors are all over the place. There's still hundreds of millions of KitKat users around the world. It's Open Source, so the amount of control you can exert is minimal.


          I don't expect Windows on ARM to suddenly cause Android to sink, but we have yet to see Android succeed on anything other than the phone format and most users of Android don't like it. They use it out of necessity.


          But let's see what happens when we get new form factors of Windows devices that can use ARM and can take SIMs to connect wirelessly.


          Truth is that most people still do serious business on laptops. Samsung still sells those and they likely will not want to cannibalize those sales. Whereas Samsung's desktop market is quite small.


          I expect DeX will be dead in less than a year. Before the year is out we will likely have ultra portable Windows PCs that have cell connections and will be able to fit into all kinds of form factors while running a true desktop class OS with a new shell that will be truly adaptive to the form factor and with a holographic suite built in that is ready for AR usage going forward as well.


          Samsung's weight means very little. Most of the phones they sell are not high end ones. Most are mid-range or low end.


          Based on the December 2016 numbers, Apple sells 70% of all PREMIUM global smartphones while Samsung sells just 17%.


          If Apple made the iPhone do this, you'd have an argument. But no one will buy the S8 relatively speaking. The iPhone kills Samsung in premium sales.


          I bet most of the Qualcomm 835s will end up in Dells, Lenovos, and HPs as the PC market pushes into new territory. And we'll see if the smartphone as we know it will survive.


          Microsoft's last push is their best one. Legacy Win32 support with UWP wrappers. UWP being fully adaptive to multiple platforms, including holographic.


          I suspect the iPhone will be the last to go if the smartphone is transformed into something else. The S8 will be one of the first.


          I work around a lot of tech people and a lot of people in their 20s. No one is talking about the S8. A lot of the Android users are all thinking about switching to the iPhone because of how frustrated they are with Android. One of them just got an S7 and is thinking of taking it back for an iPhone 7 instead. He's only ever used Android, but it's increasingly frustrating - especially with Samsung's garbageware on their phones.


          I'm skeptical that Android has any real future. It may continue as a fragmented mess for years, but that's hardly dominance. There's no unity in the platform. Everyone is not only on different versions like Lollipop, Marshmellow, Kitkat, etc - but most people are on specific builds from OEMs that change things. The Nexus and the Pixel don't sell like crazy.


          And even if Google does their own Desktop feature, how many OEMs will use it? They introduced the ability to unify SD and built in storage in Marshmellow and pretty much all the OEMs disabled it in their builds.


          Frankly, I think Windows on ARM may be the only true hope.


          I did some work last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I spent a lot of time in the control room with a lot of super technical people (and it's all run on Windows, btw - these guys would NEVER trust Android to run anything of significance for such a big operation). After Microsoft's Windows on ARM announcement and demo of Win32 Photoshop all of these very technical people that were using iPhones and Android phones said that it was a gamechanger. The idea of carrying full Windows in your pocket and having it adapt to your situation appealed to them.


          DeX isn't that and Android doesn't have the power to do it. I'll be interested to see what happens there and if MS does something with Surface to change the game. They already did it with the Surface before. Google and Apple copied them to a point. Samsung copied. Dell copied. Lenovo copied.


          Let's see if this new Nadella led Microsoft with Panos Panay designing has something that will change everything. DeX is just a leftover from what MS did with Continuum. They are no longer doing that - they are doing REAL Windows.


          I just don't see the S8 changing anything. It's going to get killed by the iPhone 8, iPhone 7S, and the iPhone 7S Plus. Apple murders Samsung in premium phone sales.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to jrickel96:

            I agree with how messy Android is, but it remains to be seen if Windows on ARM will really be fully compatible with Intel-based full Windows. It's still not clear if the price/performance ratio will be significantly better with ARM. While UWP and other schemes attempt to make it possible for an app to be usable on both a phone and desktop, in practice it always requires special programming effort to produce a quality experience on multiple platforms.

            • Avatar

              jrickel96

              In reply to skane2600:

              Introduce another variable into this equation. Verizon is going to preinstall an app on their Android phones including the S8 that will collect customer browsing data, etc and send it back to Verizon for them to sell.


              This plays into Apple's hands because Verizon cannot do that on their phone directly, though they still can collect browsing data through their network.


              The door has long been opened for unlocked mobile devices and now that door is opening wider, especially if they focus on security.

          • Avatar

            Jorge Garcia

            In reply to jrickel96: Believe it or not, I agree with all your points and actually hope you're right and I'm wrong, but I just don't see it. 90% of humans only use a computer to consume and create -very- light content. When the next (or even current) Snapchat app is released, normal people (not us) will want it to be available on all their machines immediately, no excuses. That will be iOS, then Android, and someday hopefully in reverse order! But as we have seen in the last few years developers simply don't have time for a third racehorse, and UWP is too far behind now.


            • Avatar

              skane2600

              In reply to Jorge Garcia:

              I think the mistake that is made is thinking that the sale of a smartphone is a loss for PCs or Macs. A lot of things people do on a smartphone are things that people never did on PCs. IMO they are different tools primarily used for different purposes.

            • Avatar

              Jorge Garcia

              In reply to Jorge Garcia: I think everyone underestimates Samsung at their own peril. Does anyone think that Samsung "gladly" installs Windows or Android on any of their hardware? If they COULD replace Android with Tizen, they WOULD, and if they COULD replace Windows with something else that involves less of Microsoft and more of Samsung, they WOULD. In their minds at least, someday, they WILL run all of their own proprietary software, everywhere. I cannot believe that Google and Microsoft are both willingly supporting Samsung's engineering efforts, when Samsung would cut their throats in a heartbeat, if the marketplace ever gave them the opportunity to do so. At its core, DeX is a Windows knock-off based on Android, developed by one of the mightiest hardware makers on Earth, and as such it is a HUGE development IMHO.


            • Avatar

              jrickel96

              In reply to Jorge Garcia:

              Except Snapchat is likely afairly minor player going forward. Instagram and Facebook are bigger and now offer their own Stories while Snapchat went public and will have increasing pressure to turn a profit, likely weighing the platform down with ads in an attempt to finally make some money. Twitter has a better chance of recovering long term. I've already seen a lot of friend populate Instagram's stories with the same content from Snapchat. Bet that'll happen on FB as that Stories feature becomes better known too. Why open Snapchat when you can do it all in FB?


              But those same people that use Snapchat also use laptops when they want to write papers or do anything serious. They won't go sit at a desk and plug in their phone.


              HP was actually onto something with the ability to wirelessly connect the phone to a laptop shell. Though the true step forward will come when a platform is able to embrace true scaleability.


              Developers have plenty of time for a third platform. It just has to be viable. UWP has actually grown quite a bit in the past year. Part of that is due to the Xbox coming into the fold. Due to that, a lot of major games going forward will be UWP. But since I left Windows 10 Mobile, UWP has delivered many apps I was looking for such as Vudu. There's also a reason why MS bought Xamarin and is expanding offerings with it, allowing more to develop for all three platforms simultaneously at a lower cost.


              Android will never overtake iOS for development. iOS is a consistent platform with very few permutations and very few issues on user hardware. Android is a mess and development is terrible. Most Android developers cut corners and most Android apps are very poorly optimized because there are no checks with Android - nor will there ever be.


              Android's central problem is that it's Android. It exhibits all the problems of an open source OS. All the different images coming from different places. The ability to be forked. The inability to control the quality of apps comes with it. And then there's Java. What happens when Google eliminates Java BUT has to build in support for Java and whatever is chosen to replace it?


              Android is never going to become a cohesive platform.


              And UWP is now available on about 500 million devices. That number will continue to grow with each new PC sold. It will take time, but it's actually in much better shape than you think. I know some devs who say Microsoft has built the most impressive developer support infrastructure behind the scenes. They deliver instant analytics on crashes, etc in a way Apple does not and a way Google definitely doesn't. Google lets you easily publish, but Google is terrible at allowing any kind of tracking to improve apps.


              Any gains Microsoft makes with Windows on ARM will encourage UWP and developers may find it to be a wonderful place to be when they try it. They'll also find they can use Microsoft's tools to easily take their UWP builds over to iOS and Android.


              If the smartphone market stays as it is, UWP is too far behind. But will smartphones continue to be what we have or will they evolve into something different. Who is best prepared for a possible paradigm shift? I'd argue that Microsoft is in the best position.


              If something supercedes smartphones, Apple and Android are both in for a world of hurt. Windows 10 has been built to adapt. They are ready for what's next.


              And at least people love their iPhones. They spend more money on apps than Android users (so do UWP users per capita - Android users spend hardly anything on apps). Few people love Android.


              I'll say it now for the record. Android will be pretty much nothing in less than a decade. Not saying Windows will climb back up, but whatever comes next will decimate Android and many of us will wonder why we ever used something so bad. Don't you remember when Blackberry was too far ahead and then Apple changed the game? The DeX is no gamechanger and Android has no unity to create any gamechangers.

          • Avatar

            skane2600

            In reply to jrickel96:

            I'm not as optimistic about UWP as you are. I see supporting UWP on XBox being more about promoting UWP than offering significant increased value. It seems to me that Windows on ARM is all about being able to run legacy apps, UWP runs on ARM already.

            • Avatar

              jrickel96

              In reply to skane2600:

              I'm not saying UWP will take over the world. But I do think if Windows sells on ARM that many will decide to develop UWP because of the advantages, especially since the API is finally filling out for it.


              My main point is that Android is not likely the future since it's a fragmented mess. It is serving it's current purpose, but I don't see any real way forward for it.


              I will be interested to see what Apple does. I have a feeling they are going to end MacOS at some point and just use iOS on everything. They have seriously backed off on the Mac and are losing most of the creatives to Windows.


              But I don't see Android really being anything more than what it is. It's a stopgap for what's next. What's next? That's not clear yet. As I said, Microsoft is in the best position to adapt to it.

  4. Avatar

    crfonseca

    "There are simpler ways to blast phone-based content to a big screen, and better devices—Chromebooks, PCs, and Macs, for starters—for those who need a computer."

    While that's true, a PC is objectively better when you need one, the device you have always beats the device you don't have.

    See also Flickr camera stats.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to crfonseca:

      But if all you have is a smartphone, what you don't have includes a keyboard, mouse and monitor. If you do own those things you also have a desktop computer thus making Dex unnecessary. As I've said before, these schemes are like a cell phone you have to plug into the wall to make a call. If you have to be tethered you might just as well be using a desktop computer.

      • Avatar

        Joseph Savage

        In reply to skane2600:

        I know households that don't have any PC where everyone already uses Samsung Galaxy phones. A PC would be nice, but they won't spend the money for one. However, adding a cheep display (or using a TV) and getting a cheep keyboard and mouse they might do.


        My wife hardly ever needs a full desktop UI. DEX would work just fine for her the 5% of the time she needs it.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to Joseph Savage:

          If they've had only phones for a significant amount of time, their needs are probably too modest to justify buying a Dex hub and the rest of the perheripals.


          Assuming your own a computer, wouldn't it be more efficient for your wife to use your computer 5% of the time? If she were going to use your monitor, keyboard, and mouse to connect to a Dex hub you won't be able to use your computer at the same time anyway. She could buy her own peripherals but it seems wasteful just for 5%.

          • Avatar

            Joseph Savage

            In reply to skane2600:

            Yes, because I have a PC she can use it. 


            The point is, if you are getting a Galaxy anyway and don't have a pc, DEX could be quite useful. A phone is easier to maintain than a desktop, except for Chromebooks that is. However android apps look like they run better on DEX than he new Chromebooks. I can see a lot of people using it.

  5. Avatar

    Waethorn

    I'm interested in this only because it's yet another flagship that competitors have to respond to. I'd rather look at the competing hardware because of Samsung's butchering of Android.

  6. Avatar

    RM2016

    I disagree on the effect of Dex. The rest of it is just a phone. A good phone I admit, but I don’t really care.

    Dex should be named Death as far a Microsoft is concerned. Again, we see Microsoft handing over the store and not making any money. Yes, they are gimped versions of the full desktop, but is Microsoft charging for these apps? Does the consumer have to purchase a subscription to Office 365? Probably not.  Any selling advantage is gone for the minimal productivity crowd which is the vast majority of the human race. Goodness forbid if enterprise gets interested.

    Dex(ath) is better than Continuum. Icon’s on the desktop, multiple apps open at the same time with copy and paste, and the windows are resizable. Microsoft just did to itself what Open Office could never do. Windows on ARM better nock it out of the park, or Microsoft had better find a way to profit from all the give-aways of its products. Gimped versions for free make sense on it’s own platform that you must pay for, but it doesn’t on other’s platforms.

    I’d bet that HP has been calling Nadella today. The Nadella business model isn’t making sense.

    • Avatar

      Eric Jutrzenka

      In reply to RM2016:

      I think this about getting leverage from the massive Android ecosystem. Once MS has people hooked on their software and services across all platforms, they can use that to push people towards new services and even back to UWP. Android and iOS didn't have office for a while, it didn't slow them down one bit. It did encourage people to use Google docs. MS has learned that isolating its competitors just encourages them to innovate and compete, weakening MS's position in the long term.


      As far as enterprise goes, HP shouldn't be worried. Android is too difficult to manage for them to go all in and replace windows desktops. Even if it were, you can't beat MS's enterprise ecosystem. Good luck finding someone to help you deploy samsung dex(ath) across your enterprise. Right now, only windows does it all, and if you want windows across desktop and mobile, you need to go to HP. I think MS has some work to do to show their commitment to Continuum, but if I were a CIO I'd put my money on continuum rather than dex.

      • Avatar

        RM2016

        In reply to Eric Jutrzenka:

        There was a report in either OnMsft.com or MSPoweruser.com showing that outside of Excel, Google apps are beating out the same app type from MS.  I think there is little likelihood of MS succeeding in it's current making apps for competitors plan.  Considering all the money they have spent on moving WM along in development and the amount they have spent on apps for iOS and Android, they could have stayed in the phone market especially in the emerging markets.  If people don't use the OS, they don't know the product.  Excel is just another app.

        For larger scale enterprise I see your point, but for medium to small businesses where the purchasers are already using Android and don't have the need of any or but a small IT De(x)ath makes a lot of sense over a MS product.


        I appreciated your post.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to RM2016:

          Obviously many people use Android phones, but do medium to small businesses really use Android for business computing? I doubt they're using a Android phone for that purpose and Android tablets haven't been very successful.

      • Avatar

        norwayyyxxx

        In reply to Eric Jutrzenka:


        I don't agree. Android and iOS just did fine without Office. Then Office came and a lot of people switched to Office because it is a great service (formerly know as product). People kept their hardware and ecosystem but replaced their office related tools with Office.


        This will not "push people back to UWP". If they make Office inferior on other platforms, people will not change once again hardware or ecosystem. They just go looking for other software solutions again.


        I think people should be realistic, at this point nothing will turn around the fate of UWP of Windows Mobile around anymore. It's been almost 2 years since Windows 10 was released and the platform lost way more than they gained. And the competition is gaining ground at breakneck pace in areas that are not yet covered.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to RM2016:

      Dex, like Continuum, is just an expensive way to turn a phone into a quasi desktop experience. A better price/performance ratio can be obtained with an inexpensive phone and medium cost PC. For those few who can afford a flagship phone, I guess it makes a nice demo, but it's a bit of a hassle to unplug the peripherals from the PC that the user inevitably already owns.

      • Avatar

        RM2016

        In reply to skane2600:

        The price of a phone and desktop easily outweighs the cost of the phone alone.  It is also the next generation of purchases that this will effect.  If you have a computer already then your argument holds.   However, think about it as a parent buying the phone and then realizing that for $200 more you can skip buying a computer for them. Plus the cost of the phone is probably mandatory in this day and age and feels subsidized by monthly payment plan for the phone and contract.  Now what that kid knows is Google for everything except for those few Microsoft apps on which Microsoft makes no money.  The kids don't know that most of it is junk and will likely rarely work on a regular computer in the future (except for gaming). When MS sacrificed WP they lost a generation instead of competing.  It won't be De(x)ath tomorrow, but down the line.  The irony is MS is making it easy hoping for some future pay off. 

        They should have kept giving their phones away (especially for emerging markets) and developed their own apps if necessary considering all the development they are doing for a mobile that has no place to go.  They should have realized that if people don't use the OS they likely won't use the other products.  Recent reports have shown that outside of Excel people are using the Google apps over MS inside of Android.

        De(x)ath will only get better with time with faster and better processors.  It is a better implementation than MS Continuum.  It is the birth of MS irrelevancy for a large portion of the population using MS to do it.

        • Avatar

          skane2600

          In reply to RM2016:

          A basic smartphone is $100. A $300 laptop is fine for a kid.


          The Galaxy phone alone will probably be at least $600, so we are already talking about a $200 difference. Then you have to add a monitor and keyboard. Even a modest monitor is going to be $100. Then you need to add a DeX doc that will probably cost at least $50-$100. At the end of the day you have a more expensive solution that will be limited to Android apps.



          • Avatar

            Nicholas Kathrein

            In reply to skane2600:

            Actually they showed the person just using their current Samsung TV. You know the one they watch tv on. Samsung is trying to make an ecosystem here. Buy the phone, buy a new Samsung tv when you need to replace your current one, replace your router with their wifi / smarthome hub, and instead of buying a computer just use the tv and a mouse and keyboard. In some countries they only buy phones and no computers. Once this trickles down to low cost phones in 5 years or so I could see third world countries doing the phone to desktop thing for sure.

            • Avatar

              skane2600

              In reply to Nicholas Kathrein:

              Unless your TV is sitting on a desk, using a TV as a monitor for a computer is a bad ergonomic setup. But for those who want to go that route there are much cheaper ways to do it that don't require a specific brand of TV, can run Windows applications and don't require an expensive smartphone.

    • Avatar

      Joseph Savage

      In reply to RM2016:

      Office 365 subscription is required for using Office apps on displays larger than 10". So yes, they should require Office 365 subscription.


      DEX is better than Continuum in the demo, but Redstone 3 will be a major upgrade to Continuum and add multi window support. (Supposedly). Besides there is room for two platforms. If DEX is successful it won't mean the end of Microsoft. I am excited about both DEX and Continuum and will be watching the development of both. I have a Lumia 950 now, and I want to get a Galaxy 8S when it comes out. (As long as the battery issue is fixed.)


      Apple I think is in trouble if anyone is. They won't even touch enable macOS. I only get 2 in 1s these days. Both my Samsung Chromebook Plus and Surface Pro 3 have tablet mode. I know a lot of people who say they don't "need" touch on a laptop, but once you have it, you don't want to go with out it.

  7. Avatar

    dcdevito

    I don't see the appeal of Samsung phones other than perhaps consumers clamor for premium phones that aren't iPhones. They're made of premium materials but to me the total is less than the sum of its parts.

  8. Avatar

    toukale

    Agreed with your assessment of Bixby and DeX but for Samsung it's their annual march of trying to create their own wall garden. They have been trying for years and failing at trying to be Apple. Samsung is a great hardware (box shipper) company, that has aspiration of owning a software platform to go with it. At the end of the day for Samsung it's all about having a long checklist of things for marketing purposes.

    • Avatar

      donkey

      In reply to toukale:


      Yes - and it's amazing how some buy in to this 'long checklist'.


      eg. (from the article) "That works out to 570 ppi on the 5.8-inch model and 529 ppi on the 6.2-inch model. By comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus offers only 401 ppi on its smaller 5.5-inch display."


      Because bigger/more, *must* be better.. ?

  9. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    youtubers 4 months from now be like "Why I switched from the Pixel to the S8!"

  10. Avatar

    nbplopes

    I saw last night the presentation summary on another site. What stroke me is how Apple unshamely copy Apple, even its attitude, even the way speakers peak, even the phrasing ... Impressive in a negative way.


    Before that was just that. But even if we repudiate this business attitude the truth is that they are getting better and better and in someways actually seams to surpass Apple on features and in polish.


    If we pair Samsung with their breath of appliances in particular TV, but also all others, to dismiss all this is an exercise in prejudice.


    My experience with Samsung devices is ok but fundamentally broken. But what will happen when all that works really well? Its not far away the day when it does ... with no setopbox :)


  11. Avatar

    Martin Pelletier

    I'm tempted to switch from my 950xl. Hope we don't see another episode of phone explosions.


    I think all eyes will be on Apple side now. On the software side anyway. They have to put Siri on steroids :)

  12. Avatar

    Ugur

    As dev i have many devices and would get this with good excuse to test/dev for it, too, so yeah, i'm in either way.

    I'm more (even if cautiously) optimistic about Bixby than you are, it's based on the thing the Siri makers made after they left Apple thanks to being disillusioned that Siri hasn't been pushed further properly there for years and their standalone app demo before they were bought by Samsung was rather impressive compared to the other assistants out there.

    So yeah, let's see how much of that makes it into the Samsung assistant over time.

    I Still don't expect to use the assistant for much but if it does what i want to do with it well, that's already way better than i can say about Siri.

    The google assistant is good in it's own way over Siri by being proactive and suggesting sense making things by itself and Bixby seems to be incorporating such things over time, too.


    It's fascinating that this will probably be a historic year for smartphones since this time they will make a big last huge push on the design of the front of the device what with them all going almost bezel free and we'll all be excited about it because it's the shiny different looking hot new thing.


    But in a year or two? We'll all be used to this look and then pretty much all major flag ships would look almost identical on the front.


    So it will be interesting what they'll try to push those next few devices with afterwards once the look is no major differentiating factor anymore and all look mostly the same.


    Overall i think this looks very nice, and as i said it i would buy it in either case for dev, but i think i'll still keep on using my Note Edge as main daily driver, in usability it still wins out to me that that had the sd card expansion option, swappable batteries, pen and flip case which toggles the screen like the iPad smart cover.


    Let's see if the S8 can over time convince me to us e that more than my Note Edge, but unlikely =)

    Though yeah..in either case, that giant screen in such a slim case is definitively appealing =)

  13. Avatar

    Waethorn

    I just had a little chat with an Android phone manufacturer and several cellphone providers today. Let me tell you the case of Android phone updates: it's not the carriers. The manufacturer was running around in circles claiming that they release updates "quickly" and yet several phones of theirs that they've listed as having phone updates for, aren't actually being delivered to the carriers, which is why carriers are slow to get them out. They even have a list, saying that many of their phones ARE in fact up to date with monthly patches, yet the reality is that several months have gone by where the carriers haven't received the patches to push out. All of the carriers I questioned (all Canadian) said it was the manufacturers themselves that delay the updates because the carriers release them within a day of getting the updates from them - the carriers don't do their own testing at all. Carriers send the manufacturers logos and apps well ahead of time for integration, just like most OEM's deal with.


    This is why Google and Apple are fast at putting updates out - it hasn't been "the carrier's fault" for a long, long time. It's STILL manufacturers that are dragging their heels on the issue. This is the problem. Google is the only company that can rectify this.

    • Avatar

      Tony Barrett

      In reply to Waethorn:

      I agree generally - it's the manufacturers who drag their heels, because why do they want to spend valuable R&D time on an older handset, when they just want you to buy the latest and greatest. As far as I'm concerned all manufacturers should *commit* to a 3 year support cycle for all the handsets they release, which includes major version and patch updates delivered in a reasonable timescale. A company with the resources of Samsung should easily be able to meet that.


      In the UK it's slightly trickier, because if you buy a handset through a big carrier (such as O2 or Vodaphone), they often modify the software and include their own bundled apps, so if they have to release a Google patch, they *will* have to do some testing to validate it on their handsets. That's why, personally, I'll always go stock/sim free to give me the best choice and most chance to receive upgrade straight from Google.

    • Avatar

      lilmoe

      In reply to Waethorn:

      "Google is the only company that can rectify this"

      Google ARE the main cause of slow Android updates. There has never been OS in history with as many breaking changes as Android. OEMs and part manufacturers have to literally rewrite drivers for them to work with each update. OEMs have to literally FIX Android before they push an update.

      Compared to Microsoft, who support millions of hardware combinations with the least amount of problems comparitively, Google are pathetic.

  14. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    Am I the only person who thinks Edge displays are the worst thing to happen to smartphones? My friend has an Edge 7--the content blurs at the sides, and he can't show me a landscape video without triggering the display because there's not enough non-screen to grasp. Then there's the whole issue where the display is less protected, and a case won't help much. It just seems so counterintuitive for daily use.

  15. Avatar

    nbplopes

    It's an error to dismiss Samsung Dex and Bixby. Especially if we consider the Asian market. Most Androids out there run with Samsung version of it. So to be dismissive of their software is an error in judgement. Even though I dislike their software solutions.

    Make no mistake, the idea that if Microsoft can't do it other can't, its gone. Totally gone. Having said this, I maintain the position that I always had. Continuum and now Dex are silly approaches, a lacking solution looking for a problem.


    Samsung S8 ... here is a phone that I will not buy.

  16. Avatar

    jboman32768

    Version 2 of my comment.....


    To Paul,


    Knowing that:

     - Approx 80% of phones are Android, most of those are Samsung.

     - iPhones have features that don't work with Windows, and due to platform restrictions will never have the full suite of Microsoft software and services.

     - The Google Pixel isn't stock Android, and has tiny market share.


    I know Paul has an anti-Samsung bias for some reason, but either way I look forward to his review - or the justification why the best smartphone from the biggest smartphone manufacturer on Earth is not important.


    J.

    • Avatar

      Narg

      In reply to jboman32768:

      I think the latest was 88% smartphones are Android.

      Samsung is only 20% of the market. Hardly "most" (dropping from 30% a few years ago.)

      And, yes, Pixel is stock Android. Not sure why you think differently?


      And I agree with Paul on Samsung. They are not all they are cracked up to be. Samsung started loosing it's edge years ago, and lately is getting much worse.

  17. Avatar

    Narg

    "There are simpler ways to blast phone-based content to a big screen" I kind of prefer Microsoft's and Apple's approach to this problem solved with "handoff" on Apple and basically OneDrive for Microsoft. Save it one place, and continue somewhere else. Both could be improved, a lot. But that just makes more sense than a single device that serves multiple duties. Especially on a device that is also a communications device, an assistant and more.

  18. Avatar

    brettscoast

    i can't believe you are writing it either i must say these phones do look pretty darn impressive. Bixby looks interesting.

  19. Avatar

    JimP

    Samsung S8 facial recognition feature fooled by photo, tester says


    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/03/31/photo-fools-samsung-s8-facial-recognition-feature/99889228/

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