Looking to come back from its Galaxy Note 7 stumble, Samsung is reportedly planning a sleek design for its forthcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone that does away with the bezel and clickable home button.
According to a Thursday report from Bloomberg, Samsung is making the shift to a bezel-less display with no buttons to open up more viewing space on the screen. The home button on the new device will be embedded in the glass in the area where the physical button was formerly located, and the phone will only include organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays, the report indicated.
The devices are also expected to pack a punch of power on the back of either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, or Samsung’s Exynos chip, Bloomberg said.
As with the Galaxy S7, Samsung is reportedly eyeing a March launch date for the S8, though Bloomberg noted the company may push things back until April to finish running through “tougher testing” protocols adopted in the wake of the Note 7 disaster.
The tweaks are all part of Samsung’s plan to regain consumer confidence, attract new customers, and get back on track after losing an expected $6 billion from the Note 7 fiasco. The company is likely hoping to replicate the success of the S7 and S7 edge, which managed to become the number one and number three top-selling Android devices in the first half of 2016 thanks in part to extremely aggressive marketing campaigns from Samsung and U.S. wireless carriers.
Samsung, however, will likely face an uphill battle. Though the company reported 90 percent of users picked up a replacement Note 7 after the initial recall, a survey from Branding Brand indicated at just over a third of Samsung customers said they won’t buy another smartphone from the company.
And Samsung’s loss could be Apple’s gain. While 57 percent of switchers in the aforementioned survey said they would go for another Android device, just over a third said they’d move to an iPhone. And that effect could very well be exacerbated if Samsung pushes back its S8 release date and loses the early release advantage it had over Apple with the S7.
And Apple already has momentum on its side. Though the tech company likely isn’t planning to release its 10th anniversary iPhone 8 until September and will likely go for a minor launch in the spring, Apple’s iOS platform has been steadily gaining on Android thanks in part to the iPhone 7.
In the three months ending in October, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech said Apple’s iOS grew its U.S. market share 7 percent year over year, jumping from 33.5 percent of smartphone sales to 40.5 percent. Android, by contrast, marked its fifth consecutive year-over-year decline.
“The lack of the headphone jack has proved to be a non-issue for U.S. iPhone consumers, as iPhone 7 was the top selling device in the three months ending October 2016, achieving 10.6 percent of smartphone sales, despite not being available for the full three month period. iPhone 7 Plus was the 4th best-selling device at 5.3 percent, behind the iPhone 6s and Samsung Galaxy S7,” Lauren Guenveur, Consumer Insight Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said.
Guenveur noted Samsung also has another up and coming competitor more than willing to steal market share with its new high end device: Google.
“Google achieved 0.5 percent of smartphone sales, a strong showing given that the Pixel was only widely available from October 20th,” Guenveur said. “In that short time, Google has reached market parity with more established brands like Huawei and Microsoft, who are also at 0.5 percent.”