While they are not an uncontested duopoly, Samsung and Apple have long dominated the premium smartphone market. Which new iteration of the Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone series is judged to have made the biggest leap forward in technology and design standard has become an annual battle both consumer electronics giants are determined to win. From the point of view of consumers, the intensity of the competition between the two has undoubtedly led to the latest technology in the world of smartphones being pushed forward at a pace that would have otherwise proven unlikely.
Yesterday saw the release of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone – the Galaxy S9. Technophiles had been waiting impatiently for the unveiling, which took place at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Appetites were whetted when it was leaked in late December last year Samsung had filed an application with the Korean office for intellectual property to copyright the slogan “The Camera Reinvented’ and ‘The Camera. Reimagined’.
In keeping with the most recent releases in the series, the S9 will come in two models – the standard model with a 5.8-inch display and a larger S9+ with a 6.2-inch screen. The design of the new model is not a new direction and is very similar to the S8, again featuring the now standard edge-to-edge screen, though it is slightly thinner and has fractionally longer sides.
While not the only new feature of the S9, the camera is the centrepiece of handset’s argument why existing Samsung Galaxy users should upgrade and new adopters move over from other manufacturers. The camera features a dual aperture which means the lens can be expanded and contracted between two sizes depending on light conditions or the desired effect. The S9+ model incorporates a dual lens camera which offers the possibility for greater depth effects. The main cameras on both models are 12 MP while the front ‘selfie’ camera is 8 MP.
The camera’s video setting also incorporates a new super slow motion mode that can be set to 9600 frames a second – slow enough to capture a water balloon bursting or a bird’s wings flapping.
Live translation is the other most impressive new addition, though this is more a software than hardware technology development. Users can point the camera at a street sign or menu and, provided there is an internet connection available, see it translated into the language of their choice in real time.
Samsung will hope the S9 not only rivals or surpasses Apples recent iPhone X when it comes to the level of technology it boasts but significantly outsells its rival. While the iPhone X was well received as a piece of tech, sales figures have proven to be disappointing with a manufacturing order for the new year halved. The price point of £999 for the basic 64 GB model appears to have been a step too far for many, even within the context of the premium smartphone market. The Samsung Galaxy S9 will start at a slightly cheaper, though still pricey £739, which the Korean company will hope finds the market’s sweet spot more successfully than the iPhone X did.