A few days ago, a prominent Samsung leaker dropped the image above on Twitter alongside a cryptic message that said “this may be a design beyond.” At that time, I said the phone in the picture above looks like the Galaxy S10 or next-gen iPhone X of our dreams, not that we’re actually going to see from either phone when they debut next year.
I have no way of knowing whether Samsung’s next flagship will look like that, but I’m fairly confident in stating that the technology to make this phone happen is not quite there right now. Samsung, given the enormous resources it has at its disposal, could pull off such a design, but you might not like what that means.
Let’s assume that Samsung has invented technology that would allow it to bury under the display all the front cameras and the other sensors its smartphones need. Maybe the fingerprint sensor, too. It’s likely that Apple would be the first company in the world to make use of it. That’s partly because Apple is working on a screen design that would accommodate such changes. But it’s also because such screens would likely be a lot more expensive to make. And while Apple is willing to charge over $1,000 for flagship handsets, Samsung doesn’t appear to be quite there yet.
There’s more bad news. Samsung is one of the prominent holdouts when it comes to killing the 3.5mm headphone jack, a smartphone feature it hasn’t copied from Apple. If Samsung removes the top and bottom bezels, the headphone jack would have to go away as well. That’s because the bottom side of a corner-to-corner flexible OLED screen like the one inside the iPhone X has to be curved inwards. The screen may occupy more space inside the handset than regular displays as a result. Keeping the headphone jack in place would make the phone way too thick.
But what if Samsung sees inspiration in the Oppo Find X, which already looks like a Galaxy S handset? Samsung could always create a Find X lookalike, complete with a slide-up mechanism for the cameras. Yes, it’s possible, but highly unlikely. By doing so, Samsung would probably have to remove the phone’s water resistance rating, because the phone would have moving parts. Also, let’s not ignore the fact that this design is… well… stupid. It’s far too easily to break or malfunction, and it’s impossible to put a protective case on it.
It’s very likely the Galaxy S10 will have an Infinity Display like the previous two models, but the phone could have even thinner bezels than the S9 and S8. Rumors say that the phone is getting an in-display fingerprint sensor. And the screen might direct sound to the ear via bone conduction, as Samsung already developed such technology.
Samsung indeed appears to be laying the foundation of that all-screen smartphone of the future. But I don’t think that the Galaxy S10 will be the first Galaxy handset with a corner-to-corner, no-notch, screen.
That “leaked” photo above? Just wishful thinking.