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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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robertkoa
robertkoa

I am lobbying for a variation of the S10 called S10 PRO. A business class phone for people who need : 1] The great camera , 2] A thicker phone with 4000 MAH battery ..[ borrowed from Active ]. 3] NOT larger in heighth and width than S9 POSSIBLY a Flat Screen to allow Glass Screen Protectors and a more rugged design . 4] 6 GIG RAM 5] Cutting edge features of S10. A Pocket Laptop With a Camera 6] Audio Recording with External Mic and Digital Input through USB C. 7 Architects Designers Real Estate, Athletes Doctors Lawyers, Artists… Read more »

NicuPit
NicuPit

I think that the call quality is the most important thing on a smartphone, and the clarity of screen, much pixels density more clear the view.

ASH8
ASH8

Well no doubt nobody at SAMSUNG will listen to its customers, but here are a few suggestions to make the S10 a success. 1. Longer FEATURE upgrade periods, 2 years is just ridiculous, look what PC makers do they support their software for more than a decade, Windows 7 to 10. 2. Return Finger Sensor to the FRONT, not near camera where camera lens gets marked and blurry. 3. Work out a better appearance than the slippery glass look. 4. Bring back an easily removable separate replaceable Battery. 5. IR Blaster. 6. Real Stereo tracks. 7. Easier integration with other… Read more »

ASH8
ASH8

Oh yeah, forgot, for pete sake STOP making so many variants for world markets, I don’t believe Samsung cant code internal Modems with all of the worlds frequency bands, and stop loading carrier specific garbage Apps,
IF you made less model variants you might be able to roll out software updates faster for more users worldwide with less bugs.

alastairgreen_Nexus
alastairgreen_Nexus

Carriers must also upload their apps on Play Store, because some of them won’t upload it and prefer it to be preinstalled. That’s why Google must implement an iron fist on OEM’s on updates and such

ace123456
ace123456

AND 9. A BIGGER BATTERY INTO A SMALL DISPALY LIKE 5.8 INCH

Lucidfer
Lucidfer

They need anything BUT “thinking outside the box” which is what leads to catastrophy. They need to think about logical or compulsory next step, like they did with the S7 power, streamlining and VR which explains it success, the S8 bezel-less better design phone which is what it’s successful, and that they didn’t do with S9 actually making a step-back on design while no critical or useful new steps which is why it’s a failure compared to 7 and 8.

Mustafa D
Mustafa D

Looks like a 10yr old kid wrote this article. Some of dumbest suggestions Ive ever heard.

leogarat1
leogarat1

I have a S8+ and it work great, the difference between mine and the new S9 are not an argument for me to change my phone. I love mine and I’m not going to change it for a better camera. I tend to change it every two years when the difference are bigger. So, ones of the most importants things for me are the battery life, the care to not broke it, I think they should do the best to improve more resistance to the impacts, to protect our phones we got to put them in protective cases that often… Read more »

martindale
martindale

I very much welcome your notion that Samsung should think “outside the box”. So it is a shame that you go on to cast your thoughts very firmly inside the box. “There are many devices on the market today with a higher screen-to-body ratio than the Galaxy …” And so you go on, framing your ambition very firmly within the current bankrupt ideology, the pursuit of du jour “form over function” metrics. Smartphone design is forever beset with the mindless pursuit of these functionless metrics even beyond the point of rationality. First came the obsession with thinness – beyond the… Read more »

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

Please do explain what “Functional build criteria” is so necessary in today’s modern technological world.

martindale
martindale

1) robust, fit for daily portable hand-held use. So it’s going to get dropped maybe a few times – when did glass become the go-to material for that purpose? 2) able to last 2-3 years comfortably, so the battery needs to be , if not user replaceable, at least a quick and cheap operation at any competent 3rd party repair shop. 3) a flat screen! When did distorting the edges of the screen make it easier to read? That is the purpose of the screen, right? 4) something to hold on to it by – generally called a bezel. What… Read more »

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

edge screen does not distort images – you need your eyes checked (I have 20/20 vision – so YOU are the problem here. I’ve never understood what distortion people are seeing with the edge screen. unless you are watching content side on?!). Glass is much better for delivering a clean crisp screen – Motos drop proof phone that was made of a plastic screen did not sell well because the screen was very dull and did not get bright enough in sunlight. Glass back is for wireless charging – though plastic/leather wouldn’t be bad either I do not know any… Read more »

Alucai Vivorvel
Alucai Vivorvel

Just wanted to give my two cents—while the S8, Note 8 and S9 are in much better shape, the S6 and S7 Edge models definitely had far too drastic edges that severely distorted the image. It was never a great idea. I’m currently typing on an S7E, and with the white background of this site, I can see shadows on either side of the screen. If you pick up one of the newer Samsung phones, it’s not nearly as bad, but it’s still noticeable if you go looking for it. You may think that’s not a big deal now, but… Read more »

NicuPit
NicuPit

A phone should last at least 4 to 5 years, as a smartphone, not 2 or maximum 3, who says that? A smartphone should have a bigger mAh battery life, because from there comes all the power to the phone, processor, graphics card and the rest, with more mAh the phone will last longer than one simple day of usage, and the smartphones need fast processors for every day information processed. Anyway the battery is the most important thing on a smartphone the the rest of it.

_alex_
_alex_

well, S10 normal version will reach 1000 euros, and plus version 1200…. whatever they put is unacceptable to pay so much for a phone….. a A8 will do the same and is very good phone… look at its price.
they just high the flagship prices, giving nothing worth(S9 costs 140 euro more than S8 at launch for what??)
No way, no Sammy flagship anymore, my salary(even my knowledge is at work) is not rising as Samsung flagship, so S8 is still and will be a perfect phone for a long time

simchester
simchester

I really like my S9 the way it is… don’t think they should change.

… just keep same form factor… no major redesigns or notches.

I’m satisfied… with S9 they did exactly what I wanted.

Maybe S10 should have a foldable body and be transparent….in short they should copy the Nokia morph concept and use nanotechnology to build it.

jmohammad8
jmohammad8

The idea of a foldable phone is stupid. They can’t even have S9’s design for S10. Very difficult to think out of the box design-wise. I also don’t think people are ready to buy a multi-million dollar nanotechnology powered phone.

SAMgalaxyXXX
SAMgalaxyXXX

I’m soooo tired of this none sense about achieving zero bezels which is just for beauty and PR campaign but very impractical. A little bit of old school thrown in it could also work. Stereo speakers have never been a deal breaker for me but if I were Samsung I would leave the thin top and bottom bezels and put two good front facing firing speakers similar to the HTC M series and Axon 7, keep improving front facing camera in auto mode and other minor tweaks without the need of inventing the wheel in the design department. Price should… Read more »

Shenoysiddhant
Shenoysiddhant

Charge us more? They are already charging us a hell lot of price without much improvements and still increasing the price to an extent where people prefer the one plus these days

RoadRunner99
RoadRunner99

Reduce the bezel by 0.01 mm and charge £200 more!

Wander Guzman
Wander Guzman

What a about revamping their crappy software aupport

RoadRunner99
RoadRunner99

I’m so tired of marketing departments playing musical chairs with designs being different just for the sake of being different. Designs should be functional and practical first, and pretty second.

All OEMs have concentrated on following Apple’s obsession with form over function in the last few years, which is a shame. Samsung had something unique going with their robust and practical designs back in the Note 4 days.

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

Apple never did form over function?! they are a BRAND first and foremost so they sold the simple, fast and expensive phones. the ‘Premium feel’ of a phone has always been there – back when HTC was a dominant player in the market. Apple jumped on that band wagon, and in the last few years – well Samsung has been leading the way with the glass wireless charging water and dust resistant design with resilient metal frames. Apple’s removal of the headphone jack was not welcomed but people lived with it without much complaint at all; or rather, not nearly… Read more »

Bobbingalong
Bobbingalong

Why make it thicker? Just get rid of the iris scanner.

As for the notch, I think at some point the s range will need to adopt as the rest of the OEM are doing it and therefore Android and apps will utilise this

jmohammad8
jmohammad8

What about an inverted notch? A small bulge at the top of the phone to house front facing camera and sensors. That way the phone can essentially be an all-screen phone.

focr06
focr06

But it won’t! Beyond disappointmed with the alleged decision that the Note 9 won’t have in screen FPS. Every year, the Note is becoming the S with a pen.. It used to be the opposite. Now they got lazy and wonder why their sales aren’t going up… It’s sad… I’m going to stop buying phones every 6 months like I used to… Because can’t even tell the difference anymore..

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

The Note still has a boxy aesthetic like it always has… the only difference was the leather – but what’s the point of giving downgraded tech to a flagship device?! seriously. what makes a Note IS the S-Pen – and its always been marketed that way. they have never said that they keep their best processors or software for the Note devices, it was always the S PEN. Hear this argument all the time… and its stupid. The Note has been a very rectangular phone with an S PEN. Big screens and small form factors are the new thing –… Read more »

Abhijeet
Abhijeet

The six month schedule stopped being sensible a long time back. The smartphone market has saturated, and the focus is on simplicity for the masses, and when you aim for simplicity, big upgrades every six months or even every year become hard to do.

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

There’s only so much you can do with a smartphone design. they are at a plateau now… its always going to be rectangle shaped metal and/or glass design (or plastic). What matters now is Bixby 2.0, the camera, the BATTERY – maybe a new better battery technology and longevity.

fcaroll
fcaroll

Or a removable battery 😀

RoadRunner99
RoadRunner99

Those are not coming back because they’re good for users and bad for business.

fcaroll
fcaroll

Roadrunner that’s painfully true

Shenoysiddhant
Shenoysiddhant

Would prefer graphene tech being used to provide faster and a longer charge