It seems like a norm now that every year before Samsung’s next Galaxy flagship, rumours about Samsung ditching hardware keys in favour of Android’s native software keys have to do rounds on the internet. A new rumour (via David Ruddock) corroborates several earlier reports.
Another unconfirmed report claims that the company plans to offer its S Pen stylus as an optional accessory for the phone. A Samsung Galaxy S8 with S pen? Does it even make sense?
Also interesting is the 3D Touch-like functionality which was actually rumoured to be a feature of the Galaxy S7, although clearly that did not happen. The difference between this and the iPhone is that this opens up the possibility of customizable navigation buttons on the Galaxy S8, finally bring the phone up to speed with the customized software experiences offered by HTC or even LG.
Besides a notable UX departure, the change reportedly results in a very “tiny” bottom bezel. This would surely differentiate the S8 from older Samsung devices and other competitors.
Once again, these rumours are much like the rumours about Apple’s new iPhone getting an edge to edge display. Nothing new, but they get a lot of traction each year. What’s more interesting perhaps is the other report claiming the Galaxy S8 might have an optional stylus accessory.
This rumour arrives straight from China and therefore is all but impossible to verify at this stage. If true, this might leave some Galaxy Note fans worrying though and rightly so. Apart from all the minor changes, the S pen is something that has differentiated the Note brand from Samsung’s S flagships and even any other smartphone on the market.
At first, it makes you scratch your head, that doesn’t make sense right? So why would Samsung add the Note’s biggest differentiator to the Galaxy S family?
Previous rumours indicated that Samsung considered launching the Galaxy S8 with a built-in stylus, but the company apparently scrapped those plans. Instead, Samsung might sell the S Pen as an optional accessory for the Galaxy S8. If the rumours about a 6 inch Galaxy S8 are true, an S Pen would really come in handy and more importantly, an “optional” S pen could ensure that those disappointed Note 7 owners will stick around, by paying a little extra cash of course.
Assuming Samsung goes with it, it goes without saying that the company would have to bring over the various software features that make the S-pen different (from a regular stylus) from the Galaxy Note series to the S8. Doing this would effectively render the Note series pointless. The only real difference would be if you wanted the S-Pen baked in, or as an add-on — possibly with a holder built into some kind of case. And to be honest, that just isn’t reason enough for a totally different flagship series to exist.
It seems very unlikely, but Samsung has been known to make big gambles, even the original Galaxy Note was one big gamble. Regardless of which rumours turn out to be true, it can be safely said that the Samsung Galaxy S8 is going to be the pivot of flagship devices once again.