Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it’s a massive and much-needed upgrade compared to the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. The S9 series from 2018 was a huge disappointment, and it sent Samsung’s stellar performance in its smartphone business crashing back down to Earth. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ looked almost identical to the Galaxy S8 and S8+ that had been released a year earlier, and they touted no exciting new features whatsoever. Needless to say, that was a recipe for disaster and sales plummeted as a result.
While the South Korean smartphone giant hasn’t yet fully recovered in terms of financial performance, it’s at least now on the right path thanks in part to the redesigned Galaxy S10 series. These sleek new phones feature a completely overhauled design that finally ditches the thick bezels and replaces them with a sleek all-screen design that’s nearly bezel-free. At the top of the phones, a hole-punch camera positioned inside the display allowed Samsung to ditch the huge “forehead” bezel from its earlier Galaxy S models. People love the new design, and the hidden fingerprint sensor under the screen is also a nifty addition. But what happens next year with the Galaxy S11? Will it be another boring update like the S9 was last year, or will Samsung keep its momentum going by launching another exciting new flagship series in early 2020?
Samsung thought it could pull an Apple in 2018 and release an “S” update. Though things have changed a bit recently, Apple typically releases a redesigned iPhone series every other year with an “S” update in between. These “S” phones like the iPhone XS look exactly like their predecessors but pack more power and perhaps a few additional features.
This strategy works fine for Apple because it has no competition. If someone wants a brand new iOS phone, they have to buy an iPhone. Samsung obviously isn’t in the same situation over on the Android side of the fence, so most people who wanted new Android flagships in 2018 chose from the dozens and dozens of other models out there instead of getting the boring Galaxy S9.
We still don’t know what’s in store for us next year when Samsung releases its next-generation Galaxy S11 lineup. Will it be a minor iterative update like the S9? Will it be a big update like the S10? The Galaxy S11’s unveiling is still 6 or 7 months away so big leaks won’t start trickling in for a while yet. Even still, there are a few things we already know thanks to the world’s top Samsung insider.
Ice Universe is often the source of accurate leaks surrounding unreleased Samsung phones, and he recently took to Twitter to share four details about the upcoming Galaxy S11. First, the phone is codenamed “Picasso” internally at Samsung. This seems a bit odd; Samsung’s code name for the Galaxy Note 10 is “Davinci,” but the artist reference relates to the S Pen stylus. Is the Galaxy S11 going to have an S Pen? We highly doubt it.
The second tidbit Ice shared was the fact that the Galaxy S11 will feature a “substantial” camera upgrade. He didn’t elaborate, but Samsung’s flagships already have fantastic cameras so we can’t wait to see what improvements the company is cooking up.
Third on the list was a note about the phone’s software, which will be an updated version of Samsung’s new One UI. Ice Universe says the phone will run One UI 2.x on top of Android Q. Then, to wrap up the list, he noted that the hole-punch selfie camera on the Galaxy S11 will be even smaller than the hole on the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.
It’s not much, but this is the first significant piece of a puzzle that will continue to come together over the course of the next half-year until Samsung unveils the Galaxy S11 series in early 2020.