Ask most gadget fans and they’ll tell you that there’s really only one new flagship smartphone that they’re looking forward to seeing launch during the first half of 2017: Samsung’s Galaxy S8. Expectations couldn’t be higher following the cancellation of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 phablet, which was the hottest Android phone the world had ever seen until it went up in flames… literally. Now, Android fans have been left with a Galaxy-sized hole that won’t be filled until February or March next year.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is that according to a number of solid reports, next year’s Galaxy S8 is going to be well worth the wait.

The rumor mill has really been heating up as we approach the end of the year and Samsung finalizes its plans for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 edge. In fact, we know enough now to safely assume that there won’t be a “Galaxy S8 edge” next year. Unlike in 2016 when Samsung launched a flat Galaxy S7 and then a larger Galaxy S7 edge with curved edges, both of next year’s Galaxy S8 models are expected to feature a design that curves downward on both sides.

What else can smartphone fans expect to see on next year’s Galaxy S8? Here are the five biggest changes we’re expecting:

All-screen design

Okay, so it won’t really be “all screen,” but the front of the Galaxy S8 is expected to be occupied mainly by a gorgeous new Super AMOLED display with 2K Ultra HD resolution. This hot new design will see the bezels on either side of the display completely eliminated, allowing the images shown on the screen to roll over the curved edges and disappear on the sides of the phone. The bezel sizes will also be drastically reduced above and below the screen, according to reports.

No place like home

In order to shrink that bottom bezel down, Samsung’s typical oblong home button will reportedly no longer be present under the screen. As a result, the home button’s duties will shift to taps and gestures performed on the screen. Then the home button’s fingerprint scanner will reportedly be embedded beneath the display.

This is something we’ve known to be in the pipeline for Apple’s iPhone 8 for quite some time now, and Samsung will seemingly beat Apple to the punch. Actually, Apple ripoff artist Xiaomi beat both companies to the punch. We’ve read about this new all-screen design a number of times now, most recently on Thursday morning when Bloomberg reiterated all the same details once again.

Next-gen processors

Apple is always way out in front when it comes to smartphone performance, but 2017 could see the gap narrow significantly.

In 2016, new Android smartphones released all year long were no match for Apple’s 2015 iPhone 6s on paper or in performance tests. Then, the iPhone 7 came along and blew them all out of the water. Because Apple’s in-house mobile chips are so powerful and its software is optimized so well, we don’t see Apple losing its lead in this area anytime soon.

That said, we’re hearing very good things about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset expected to power the US version of next year’s Galaxy S8, and the new Exynos chip headed to the international model is said to be just as impressive. If Android and Samsung’s “Samsung Experience” tweaks don’t get in the way, we could be looking at a very powerful smartphone indeed.

Viv

One of Siri’s co-creators went on to create a newer, supposedly better version of his virtual personal assistant. He named it Viv, and then he sold his company to Samsung. The company has since confirmed that it’s AI-based personal assistant, which will compete with the likes of Siri and Alexa, will debut on next year’s Galaxy S8.

LOL

Last but not least, recent reports claim that Galaxy S8 users can kiss the standard 3.5mm headphone jack goodbye because Samsung is ditching it and going with USB-C for audio as well as charging. This is particularly hilarious not just because Samsung fans spent so much time ridiculing iPhone users when the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus ditched the dedicated headphone port, but because Samsung itself fired shots at Apple several times over the decision to remove the 3.5mm audio jack.

Even as Samsung executives and the company’s PR team was mocking Apple over its decision, we all knew the company would ultimately end up copying Apple and ditching the legacy port to free up space for other components… we just didn’t know it would happen so soon.

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