As usual, the rumour mill has been in overdrive in recent weeks, and we’ve seen an array of pristine renders that match Samsung’s own marketing teases, plus there’s a nice stack of specs and rumours that sound about right. In other words, it’s par for the course these days.
But in case you haven’t been paying close attention, here’s a quick look at what we expect to see at the Unpacked 2017 event this Wednesday, what we might see at the event, and what seems totally unlikely. And be sure to check back on 29 March for our extensive impressions and more.
The Galaxy S8
It’s that time of year again, and Samsung is absolutely certain to unveil the the successor to last year’s brilliant Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge – the company has even mentioned the S8 by name in a recent blog post, along with all of its teaser images.
Based on the leaked renders and specs, we’re expecting a base model with a 5.8in curved screen and also a larger 6.2in version, with the extremely minimal bezel resulting in a large phone that shouldn’t feel too large. We’ll likely lose the physical home button on the front, too, and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip should power the action.
Likelihood: Guaranteed – It’s the reason for the event, and Samsung’s chance to reassert its top-end smartphone dominance.
Also Read › Samsung Galaxy S8: Everything we know so far
A flat-screen Galaxy S8
For the last two Galaxy S models, the curved version has been the anomaly – the "Edge" model in the bunch. But as the curved screen approach has picked up steam, Samsung seems less inclined to stick with flat models, as seen with the short-lived Galaxy Note 7. Rumours suggest it’ll be much the same with the S8, with no "standard" flat version produced.
Likelihood: Low – What started as a fun gimmick has apparently become Samsung’s default, and we should only see curved Galaxy S8 devices.
The Google Assistant might be Android’s hot new voice-based ally, but Samsung has its own solution: Bixby, a voice assistant that will first appear with the Galaxy S8. Its existence has already been officially announced, and apps will be able to build in support for its capabilities. And the S8 will have a physical Bixby button on the side for quick access, too.
Likelihood: 100% – Samsung says that Bixby sets a new standard for A.I. assistants, but we’ll see if it can really trump Siri or the Google Assistant.
A new Gear VR
Another Galaxy phone, another Gear VR model? Yeah, most likely. We’ve seen a few variations on the theme over the last few years, and as the Galaxy S8 seems to tweak the form factor more than the S7 did over its predecessor, we’ll likely see a fresh Gear VR revision.
It’ll probably look like the one we tried earlier this month, which has a touch remote like the rival Daydream View. And if the Galaxy S8 really does have a 4K screen, as rumoured, then the VR experience could be drastically improved, as well.
Likelihood: Strong – The Gear VR is one of the best bonus perks of owning a Galaxy flagship, and the Galaxy S8 will need a headset that fits it.
Galaxy X foldable phone
Samsung’s Edge phones started as a silly experiment that became a sensation, and the company’s next big thing could be a foldable smartphone. We’ve been following the patents and leaks for some time, and some rumours suggested that the so-called Galaxy X could debut alongside the Galaxy S8.
However, a recent report out of Korea suggests that we’ll see it later this year instead, perhaps with a debut at the IFA show. That seems to make a lot more sense, timing-wise.
Likelihood: Minimal – Samsung won’t want to steal the thunder from its own S8 flagship this week, so don’t expect this oddball prototype in sight.
Also Read › Samsung Galaxy X foldable phone preview
Galaxy Note 8
The Galaxy Note 7 was reportedly rushed through development and pushed out early to beat the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus… only to have the device’s batteries fail and detonate, resulting in the otherwise-brilliant phone being pulled off of the market entirely.
So will we see Samsung try to speed out a successor this week? No. Like, no possible way. Samsung needs to take its time to ensure the Note 8 is refined and ready before even considering a debut, and showcasing it this week would only take away from the buzz around the Galaxy S8.
Likelihood: No chance – We can’t think of a worse time for Samsung to try and bring the Note back into the world. Give it time: this is the S8’s show.