Opinion

Galaxy S10 presents Samsung an opportunity to revamp smartphone design

Flagship smartphone design has largely remained the same over the past few years. High-end devices from almost all OEMs feel the same as they are the same blocks of metal and glass with little to differentiate them aside from the placement of rudimentary staples such as the buttons, cameras and ports.

Smartphone design has progressed significantly in the last decade but it’s not as exciting as it once was. Consumers that are now being asked to pay almost $1,000 for a flagship device often don’t feel the need to spend that much particularly when the new device looks a lot like its predecessor. That’s one of the reasons why we keep on hearing that the Galaxy S9 sales are less than the Galaxy S8 despite Samsung’s claims that it will outsell last year’s flagship.

With the Galaxy S10, though, Samsung has an opportunity to revamp it get us all excited about smartphone design once again. It’s going to be the 10th anniversary model of the Galaxy S series and it would only be fitting that Samsung think outside the box for this one to properly commemorate this incredible milestone. Early reports suggest that this is what Samsung intends to do and will thus finally debut technologies like the in-house developed ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. Call it wishful thinking but I believe that it can do more.

There are many devices on the market today with a higher screen-to-body ratio than the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+’s 83.6 percent and 84.2 percent respectively. Granted that it’s the Chinese OEMs who are primarily pushing the envelope here but the fact remains that someone is doing it while Samsung is not. Some of them have been able to achieve a higher ratio because they chose to adopt the notch which is something that Android OEMs appear to be gravitating towards en masse. We have already discussed that Samsung doesn’t stand to gain anything by adopting an iPhone X-style notch and there are no indications that it plans to do that for the Galaxy S10.

The issue with almost all Android flagships looking much the same is only exacerbated by the notch which makes them seem even more similar. That’s not really an ideal situation for the market as a whole and many certainly feel that something should be done. This is where Samsung can take the mantle and push the industry in a new direction.

Look closely from the front at the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S9 and you’ll notice that the side bezels aren’t immediately noticeable thanks to the dual-edge curved Infinity Display which effortlessly spills over from both sides. In my opinion, one major step that Samsung can take to open a new chapter of smartphone design is to stretch the display as much as possible at the top and bottom and then pair that with curved bezels on both ends so that they essentially hide away. This would make it seem like the Galaxy S10 has an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 100 percent while still retaining a bezel which is still very much needed.

However, that would present its own set of problems that Samsung would have to tackle. It would have to find a place for the front camera, iris scanner and other components, for example. The technology isn’t advanced enough for Samsung to place these components under the glass itself so it may have to think out of the box here as well. Perhaps it can adopt a sliding mechanism like the MIX 4 concept from Doogee or have a motorized module that glides up from the top when required and sits flush with the frame when it’s not. Again, it’s wishful thinking, but it’s within Samsung’s abilities to do all of this.

Most fans might not mind if Samsung decides to make the Galaxy S10 slightly thicker than its predecessor to ensure that all of the required ports and the all-important 3.5mm headphone jack are retained. The increased internal space would also allow the company to put in a bigger battery.

So if Samsung follows through, the Galaxy S10 would be a flagship device with the latest internals, the highest screen-to-body ratio, a bigger battery and an amazing camera experience. Even if it decided to charge customers a bit more for that handset, Samsung might find a lot more takers for it than it has for the Galaxy S9.

It would also definitively close its decade-old design chapter and mark the dawn of a new era with the 10th anniversary flagship. It’s a change that the mobile market needs as well to cut through the complacency in smartphone design and get customers excited about it once again. It would be a good start to 2019 for Samsung, a year when it’s already expected to capture our imagination with its much-awaited foldable smartphone, which would also mark the start of a new chapter for the company.

What do you think about this, should Samsung really push the envelope on design with the Galaxy S10 and particularly push for the highest screen-to-body ratio? Would that be something that gets you excited about owning the company’s next flagship? Let us know in the comments below.

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