The Korean company that sells more smartphones than any other is preparing to show off its newest innovations at a special event in San Francisco on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
Over the past decade, Samsung has built a reputation for innovative flagship smartphones as well as cheaper value-focused devices.
Unlike Apple, it operates across all price points, while its rival focuses on the higher end of the market to retain its premium image.
While the cheaper phones certainly help Samsung’s sales (part of the reason why Apple is rumoured to release a cheaper iPhone in the coming months), this week’s special event will be primarily focused on the top-tier devices.
At last year’s Unpacked, Samsung revealed the flagship Galaxy S10 models (which came in three variants including the bigger S10+ and the cheaper S10e).
The S10 model line was expanded to five phones later in the year when the company released 5G-enabled S10 and S10+ models.
The company also showed off the revolutionary Galaxy Fold, which had its fair share of issues before finally going on sale last September.
It was Samsung’s 10th year of selling its Galaxy S smartphones, and it marked the occasion with the announcement that it had sold more than two billion Galaxy smartphones in that time.
This year’s Unpacked might not have a special anniversary to celebrate or a new form factor to unveil, but it will give an insight into what Samsung thinks the next decade of Galaxy devices and smartphones in general should look like.
It’s expected the company will unveil its latest Galaxy S flagship, which is rumoured to be called the S20, rather than follow the sequential naming convention Samsung has used up until now.
The name change makes sense on several levels as both a way to mark the year and the next decade as well as differentiate it from Apple’s iPhone 11.
The smartphone industry has more leaks than a Sydney shadehouse, so we pretty much know what to expect from the S20 already.
There should be three models, the regular S20, a Plus and an Ultra model.
Unlike last year’s models, all three of the new phones are expected to support the faster new 5G mobile networks straight out of the box.
There may be 4G variants as well.
The Qualcomm processor Samsung’s next phone will most likely use in devices sold in North America mandates 5G.
In other markets, including Australia, Samsung has previously used its own line of Exynos processors, which is based on the same kind of ARM architecture as Apple’s and many other processors.
Control over the processor gives them the ability to decide whether to include the new mobile technology, while the Qualcomm chip demands it.
There’s also rumoured to be new colour options on the way.
The displays are expected to boast faster refresh rates for better gaming and video performance, which we previously saw on the Google Pixel 4 and specialty gaming devices from Razer and ASUS.
The Ultra variant is expected to have an absolutely huge 6.9-inch screen, while a 6.2-inch screen is predicted on the base model. The Plus should be somewhere in between.
Leaked renders appear to show the new Galaxy phones will include the same divisive feature as the iPhone 11 Pro and Google Pixel, the “camera bump” to house the array of cameras you now find on smartphones.
While one camera on the phone in your pocket used to be enough, most new phones have multiple cameras with a variety of different focal lengths and megapixels, and that’s expected to be the case on the new S20 as well.
Aside from the new S20, Samsung is also expected to continue its momentum from last year with the announcement of another new foldable smartphone.
That phone, predicted to be called the Galaxy Z Flip, will rival Motorola’s highly anticipated new Razr smartphone, a clamshell-style foldable.
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Samsung apparently couldn’t wait until Wednesday morning and ran an ad appearing to show the Z Flip (but not naming it) during the Oscars telecast in the US.
There’s also rumours the company may introduce a new software feature called QuickShare, which would function like Apple’s AirDrop, which makes it dead simple to wirelessly send files to nearby friends or family (or strangers).
Like Apple AirDrop, QuickShare would likely only be usable between Samsung devices.
Google tried to bake an AirDrop equivalent into Android in the past.
Android Beam was supposed to make it easy to share files between Android phones, but it required the phones actually touching one another and didn’t really work that well anyway.
It’s since been taken out of Android.
Samsung will also likely have some accessories to go with the new devices.
An update to the Galaxy Buds wireless earbuds is likely, as is new smartwatches or activity trackers.
We might even see an attempt to resuscitate Samsung’s Bixby digital voice assistant, potentially via the Galaxy Home speaker the company announced in 2018 but has still never released.
What do you hope to see from Samsung? Let us know in the comments below.