The Samsung Galaxy S9 is one of the most hotly anticipated handsets of recent years, in part because everything surrounding its launch has so far been kept under wraps. The only details so far have been gleaned from leaks, rumours and extrapolating from various sources.
However, the mobile phone world at last has some news about the elusive handset. Samsung's official Twitter account posted a tweet on January 24th stating a few things about the device, including a release date. However, a lot is still vague and unclear, fuelling yet more speculation from Samsung fans.
The tweet simply reads: “From 02.25.2018. #Unpacked will change how you experience everything.” It is accompanied by a 16-second video that shows a purple spiral forming around the words “The Camera. Reimagined” followed by “Galaxy Unpacked 02.25.2018 live on www.samsung.com”.
So, what does all this actually mean? Is there anything we can tell for sure from this relatively cryptic tweet? Well, first of all, we know that the first official appearance of the Galaxy S9 will be on February 25th, as invitations have already been sent out for an event on this date in Barcelona; it is called 'Unpacked', which explains the hashtag Samsung used.
The other piece of information the tweet tells us is that a large focus of the Galaxy S9 is likely to be the camera. A press release from Samsung said the S9 “reimagines the camera and redefines the way you share your moments”. However, it's not clear what this means.
We already have a fairly good idea as to the S9's camera situation, thanks to some cases for the device that were released. These show a single-camera setup on the Galaxy S9, with a dual rear camera on the Galaxy S9+.
It's not clear how Samsung is going to be reinventing the smartphone camera with the Galaxy S9. The current trend is for the front camera on phones to be more powerful than the rear ones, to better facilitate the taking of selfies, so if Samsung is marketing the S9 on the idea of reinvention then it's unlikely it will go down this route.
In fact, some leaks suggest that the S9 will feature a 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera, which seems fairly standard; not what we'd expect from a flagship phone, let alone one marketed on its camera.
However, upgrading the S9's camera would be a good step for Samsung, which seems to be using its odd-numbered upgrades – the Galaxy S5, S7 and now S9 – as more of an upgrade on the even numbers than a whole new model. Focusing on the camera is a way of offering people something new, without having to radically change the smartphone's design.
The aforementioned case designs also show that the fingerprint scanner will be placed in a more central position than on the Galaxy S8, which was criticised for its awkwardly positioned sensor. Another leak, in the form of an image of circuit boards – supposedly from the S9 – shows that the phone will be keeping the 3.5mm headphone jack port.
Apple controversially got rid of the headphone port from the iPhone in 2016, but HTC and Google seemed to agree with this decision and followed suit. While these phones can be used with wireless headphones, they need an adaptor to be used with traditional wired ones. However, Samsung appears to be keeping its headphone port, at least for now, meaning no adaptor will be needed.
While a lot of things are still unclear, we're building up a good picture of what the Galaxy S9 will be like. However, for a proper idea of what the phone will be like, we'll have to wait until it is unveiled on February 25th.