Samsung needs its next phone to be a success. Here's how it may lure you back

By: The Washington Post
March 19, 2017 Updated: March 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Samsung is set to debut its next major smartphones on March 29. The new phones, expected to be called the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8-plus, are the company's first new flagship phones since Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 over problems with exploding batteries.

If history is any indication, it's likely the phones would hit shelves in mid-April. The timing of the launch gives Samsung several months of lead time over Apple's expected release of the new iPhones.

This is an important launch for Samsung as it tries to rebound from the disastrous release of its last phone. The company's brand has taken a hit after the costly Note 7 recall, dropping from seventh to 49th in one year on the Harris Poll's reputation list of the world's 100 most visible companies. The company has taken steps to improve the safety of its phones, but a quality phone with killer features, particularly as compared to Apple's iPhone, could convince wary customers that it's worth returning to the brand, analysts say.

Samsung hasn't officially released details about its new phones, but there are plenty of reports out there about what we can expect.

- An (almost) all-screen front: The Galaxy S8 and S8-plus are expected to have an "infinity screen" - one that takes up nearly all of the front of the phone - according to a January report from the Guardian that cited several anonymous sources.

There is no home button on the phone, according to a report from tech blog BGR, which has a strong reputation for accuracy when it comes to leaks. The blog said that the home button has been replaced by a touch-sensitive control strip on the bottom of the screen. The screens on both models also curve over the edges of the phones, a design we've seen on Samsung's Edge phones.The screen is also expected to be at least partially pressure-sensitive, very similar to the "Force Touch" and "3D Touch" capabilities of the iPhone, according to the English-language South Korean newspaper The Investor.

- Rear fingerprint sensor: With no physical home button, the fingerprint scanner on the phone has to find somewhere else to live. While there were some reports in the past several months that Samsung would be able to embed a fingerprint scanner in the screen of the phone, leaked pictures that BGR obtained from an unnamed source indicate that the sensor has been relocated to the back of the phone.

The new phones are also expected to have the iris-scanning capabilities that debuted for Samsung on the infamous Note 7, BGR reported. Samsung has said that there's no evidence that the scanner had anything to do with the Note 7 explosions.

- Desktop mode: The new phones will have a mode that will let them connect to a monitor and be used more like a PC.

- A new assistant: Samsung last year bought Viv, the company originally behind Apple's Siri assistant.

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