Samsung has officially marked the calendar for Feb. 25 as the date it will launch its next big phone, all but confirmed to be called the Galaxy S9.
We already knew the global smartphone titan would drop the device at Mobile World Congress — better known by its initials, MWC — next month in Barcelona, the world’s largest show for all things mobile. What we didn’t have was a launch date. If you’re keeping tabs, this Unpacked event shares the same time and weekday as Samsung’s past phone unveilings at MWC: the Sunday night before the show officially kicks off.
Samsung’s invitation shows a large purple “9” on a black background, highlighting the words “The camera. Reimagined.” The invitation doesn’t offer much in the way of hints, but it does give credence to rumors that the S9 will improve its camera performance. One or both of the S9 phones are expected to use a dual-camera setup, the second to do so after 2017’s Galaxy Note 8.
MWC, which runs from Feb. 26 to March 1, is a crucial opportunity for brands to showcase their new phones for 2018, and Samsung will be its most important anchor by far. While Samsung has a long history of introducing Galaxy devices at MWC, it’s also unwrapped them at standalone events later in March. Last year’s absent Galaxy S8 was the elephant in the room.
Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus rumors have been mounting, painting a picture of a large-screen, slim-bezel phone with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a dual-camera setup (at least the larger S9 Plus). Rumors also include Samsung’s own version of Apple’s Face ID secure face unlocking and an on-screen fingerprint reader.
Whatever the Galaxy S9 phones bring will do battle against the iPhone X, 8 Plus and 8 handsets in 2018. Although we likely won’t see the S9s go on sale until March, they’ll spend more than half the year as major Android contenders to Apple’s top phones, especially if they hit the market before other Android rivals.
For example, LG heavily hinted that it may wait until after MWC to introduce its next top-tier phone, expected to be called the LG G7, and it’s suggested that it will debut an LG V30 variant instead. Huawei is also rumored to forgo an MWC phone launch. The Nokia brand, which has cryptically promised something “awesome” for the mobile show, could produce a challenger as well, though rumors are sparse.
The rumors are sure to pile up in the next month as we approach Unpacked. And of course, we’ll bring you all the details as we cover the event live from Barcelona.