Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ Handsets Debut With Larger Screens, Thin Bezels - Page 2

Bixby is designed to help reinvent Samsung devices so they learn and adapt to the behaviors of their users, rather than requiring users to adapt to the devices.

Bixby will allow Samsung device users to get information, reminders, recommendations and other assistance as the system continues to be developed and added into Bixby-enabled applications, said Oh.

Bixby is about "enabling all the tasks you can do with touch" on devices today by adding intuitiveness through voice commands, he added. "That's the approach we are taking. Whatever app you are using, if it is Bixby-enabled, you will be able to do all of that."

Bixby will also be able to augment what users can do with the cameras built into the new handsets, he said. Users will be able to take an image of a sign and it will be translated into about 52 languages. Users will be able to take photos of landmarks or products in stores and get detailed descriptions of what's on the screen via Bixby, said Oh.

Linking with Samsung's DeX Desktop Experience and Samsung Connect

Both new Galaxy S8 smartphones are also capable of communicating directly with other Samsung products, including home appliances, televisions and other internet of things devices, using Samsung Connect.

Enterprise users can connect with Samsung's DeX desktop experience docking station, keyboard and mouse to bring the computing power of the S8+ and S8 phones to secure desktop computers that will allow them to do their work with Android applications. This will enable smartphone users to effectively extend their workplaces as needed.

Several IT analysts had varying opinions about the new Galaxy S8+ and S8 handsets.

"At the end of the day, there is very little that's spectacular, and very little revolutionary about them," Werner Goertz an analyst with Gartner, told eWEEK. Goertz said that while he likes the new infinity displays of the phones, large screens are today simply "table stakes" and are normal for flagship handsets.

What could set Samsung apart with the new models is the future Bixby integration, though it has to fulfill a lot of promise, he added. "The handful of apps it works with today are not ready for prime time," he said. "It's a vision, a concept on which Samsung still has to elaborate about and still has to deliver."  

Jan Dawson, principal analyst with Jackdaw Research, said Samsung's new handsets have now entered the smaller bezel wars in the marketplace and are likely to be followed later this year by a similar move by Apple.

"The Samsung approach is particularly clever, with its curved screen now less sharp on the edges, offering a more symmetrical and therefore more comfortable device," he wrote. "Its display looks fantastic too, though the longer, thinner aspect ratio may be problematic for some apps and [for] consuming video."

The Bixby assistant seems "interesting in principle but will have to live up to their promise to be compelling in practice," he wrote. "The Bixby assistant looks limited, but potentially powerful if it works as advertised. The same can be said for the new iris and facial recognition features and Samsung's connected home hub and apps."

Dawson said he is concerned about to relocation of the fingerprint sensor on the handsets to the back of the phones, which could be "a source of potential frustration for users."

A bigger problem, he said is that the latest S8+ and S8 models are priced up to $100 higher than their predecessors and competitors. This price gap "feels like a big risk," he wrote.

"In this as with the bezels, it feels like Samsung is competing with what it expects Apple to launch later in the year rather than what's in the market today, and that's dangerous, because for at least the next few months Samsung will be competing with cheaper iPhones, LG smartphones, and many others."