The global release, which took place early Thursday morning Australian time, also included a new Gear VR headset and new true 4K Gear 360 camera – part of the beginnings of the Samsung ecosystem of smart devices.
Richard Fink, vice-president, Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “The Galaxy S8 and S8+ are a testament to Samsung’s commitment to continually breaking new ground in what mobile technology should offer our customers. It represents genuine innovation, from the optimal viewing experience of the infinity screen through to services such as Bixby and DeX that will transform how our customers will be able to use their smartphone. The design of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are not only beautiful to look at but also fit comfortably in, and are easy to use, with one hand. These smartphones are perfect for our mobile lives.”
Australian customers will get Midnight Black, Orchid Grey, and Maple Gold models. The recommended price of the S8 is $1199 and the S8+ is $1349. Pre-orders start 31 March and include a free Gear VR with Controller and a $50 Oculus content voucher. The phones will be available from retail and telcos from 28 April.
But the software, overlaid on the Android 7.0 operating system (which will be upgraded to 8.x in time) has some new features. Gone are the capacitance back, home and app draw buttons which are now part of the screen.
Say hello to Bixby
The devices have a new Bixby button using which users will be able to navigate through services and apps with voice, touch, vision and text commands.
At launch, Bixby’s Voice function in US English, US Spanish, Korean, and Chinese will integrate with several Samsung native apps and features including Camera, Contacts, Gallery, Messages and Settings. The plan is to expand its capabilities to include more Samsung and third-party apps.
A key to Bixby’s power is contextual awareness – capabilities that enable Bixby to offer personalised help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation, and location.
Users can also shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology.
DeX – the desktop experience
No substantive details were given at launch about the DeX dock except that via the use of the dock and an external monitor/keyboard/mouse the S8 can be transformed into a desktop. It has also brought back the Keyboard cover, offering a full on-phone QWERTY experience. The DeX dock costs $199.
Beyond the phone
Samsung has released a new 4K Gear 360 ($399) and Gear VR with a controller ($199) as well as live streaming at 1920x960 @20fps from the phone.
It has included Samsung Pay (NFC and MST) and an enhanced wallet, updated S Health apps and enhanced Samsung Connect app to control compatible smart home devices.
It features high-quality 32-bit PCM and DSD64/128 playback support. Plus, the included new AKG earphones include a separate woofer and tweeter.
Samsung Knox manages security including a secure folder and there is iris, face, fingerprint, pattern, password and pin access.
The Australian website is here.
|Galaxy S8||Galaxy S8+|
|Network||LTE Cat. 16|
|Dimension||148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 152g||159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g|
Octa-core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process
Octa-core (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process
|Memory||4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 64GB (UFS 2.1)|
5.8” (146.5mm)1 Quad HD+
6.2” (158.1mm)1 Quad HD+
|Camera||Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7), Front: 8MP AF (F1.7)|
|Battery||3,000 mAh||3,500 mAh|
Fast Charging on wired and wireless
Wireless Charging compatible with WPC and PMA
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM
Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC,
Location (GPS, Galileo*, Glonass, BeiDou)
Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor,
RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB,
FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, DSF, DFF
|Video||MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM|
iTWire will be reviewing the S8 and will have a first look article well before retail release to enable readers to make pre-orders to obtain the VR headset package.
Virgin Mobile have announced plans ranging from $30 per month to $100 per month and have the free Gear VR for pre-orders. Some plans include data rollover.