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We already know a lot about Samsung’s Galaxy S9: its dual cameras, super skinny bezels, retained headphone jack, a disappointing fingerprint reader and even new colors. But today two new details emerged which have the potential to push this eye-catching new Galaxy smartphone to a new level…
The first comes from long-time partner Qualcomm which has officially confirmed the Snapdragon 845, its flagship chipset for 2018. Samsung has used Qualcomm’s top of the range Snapdragon chips exclusively in the US for years and while its equally impressive Exynos chips will be used elsewhere, this year the Snapdragon 845 looks like a powerhouse.
Other than confirming the chips existence, Qualcomm is currently keeping the details close to its chest. That said contacts have told me the 10nm fabricated Snapdragon 845 will feature the company’s new X20 LTE modem for 1.2 gigabit connectivity speeds and improved reception (including support for T-Mobile’s new 600MHz network), support for HDR video and vastly improved image processing (I’ve been told performance has tripled while power consumption is down multiple times).
All this is without drawing on the primary CPU and GPU annual improvements. These are due a significant upgrade if Qualcomm is going to close the large lead Apple opened up this year with the A11 chipset in its iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.
As Qualcomm’s biggest partner, Samsung will be first in line for the Snapdragon 845. Its importance perfectly illustrated earlier this year when Qualcomm gave Samsung the lion’s share of Snapdragon 835 chips for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus and made rival manufacturers wait.
Next Samsung has announced a breakthrough which will make the rest of the smartphone world sit up and take notice: the first 512GB smartphone storage module.
Samsung Galaxy S9 concept
Built on Samsung’s eUFS package, the module not only doubles the industry’s 256GB benchmark (256GB modules are used in Apple’s biggest iPhones) but does so with blistering performance. Samsung states sequential read and write speeds are a massive 860MB/s and 255MB/s respectively while random operations boast eye watering peak read (42,000 IOPS) and write (40,000 IOPS) performance.
Interestingly Samsung also used the announcement to emphasise the superiority of its new storage over microSD cards. Citing the “limitations in system performance that can occur with the use of microSD cards”, Samsung claimed sequential read and write speeds of the 512GB module are “over eight times faster than a typical microSD card” and pointed out microSD cards typically random seek times of just 100 IOPS.
The reason I say this is “interesting” is because in recent years Samsung has actually offered its Galaxy smartphones with smaller native storage and microSD slots and sold the biggest capacities to Apple. But given Samsung’s strong message regarding the inferiority of microSD cards this time around, it seems highly plausible that the company will make a change with the Galaxy S9.
And no, I don’t expect the microSD slot to go (it’s simply too popular with fans) but greater internal storage options would be a welcome and long overdue improvement.
Of course how Samsung squeezes all this new tech into the hotly rumored ‘Galaxy S9 Mini’ remains to be seen (especially with the headphone jack staying). Then again Samsung is set to showcase its design prowess in 2018 with the folding ‘Galaxy X’ and midrange smartphones which look like flagships, so it seems the company is determined to meet the challenge of following Apple’s iPhone X head-on.
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