New Galaxy S8 rumors: no home button, dedicated virtual assistant key, and maybe even an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor


I hope you have a big appetite for juicy Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors today because a whole lot of new interesting details about the device are being thrown around. Let’s begin with the digital assistant Samsung was rumored to be making because that is no longer a rumor — the company has confirmed that the assistant will be baked into their next flagship.

We still don’t know many details aside from the obvious fact that it will be built on the platform built by Viv before they were acquired by Samsung, and that it may be named Bixby (but we totally aren’t against something else). Beyond that, new rumors suggest Samsung is going as far as adding a dedicated hardware key for the assistant.

s voice

Such a move signals that the company wants to make it not only a major marketing point for their next smartphone, but also your first stop for getting virtual help on your phone. Our only fear is that Samsung would actively try to undermine Google Now in this manner. It’s totally within their right to do so, but we’re hoping the company has plans to let users customize that button in case they aren’t too satisfied wit the Samsung equivalent.

Moving on to even more interesting bits, it’s said Samsung is going to be looking to chop the top and bottom bezel of the phone way down. The best way to do that? Get rid of the home button, which — for the first time — may be a real possibility for a Samsung phone. We’re not sure if this means we’re getting software-based navigation keys or if the company will employ a smaller set of soft keys at the bottom, but it’ll be a refreshing change of pace regardless.

That also leaves the issue of the placement of the fingerprint sensor since that’s what the home button doubled for to date. It’s mostly speculation for now, but the belief is that Samsung is going for an ultrasonic or optical-based fingerprint recognition going forward.

samsung galaxy s7 fingerprint sensor reader DSC02105

For the ultrasonic variant, that means that the fingerprint sensor could be embedded beneath the device’s display and chassis and out of sight. It’d likely be similar (or maybe even identical) to the same Sense ID technology we were given by Qualcomm. This would mark the first major smartphone to be adorned with such functionality, and we sincerely hope it happens.

In terms of design, Samsung is said to be cutting down on clutter with the company opting for capacitive buttons for the volume and power buttons. We’re not sure how this is going to work and whether it’s actually practical, but if they can get it right then it should be an interesting design for sure. If true, this move is likely a play to place even more emphasis on the aforementioned dedicated hardware key for their personal assistant.

We’re still several months away from getting official word from Samsung ourselves, but as the weeks move on we reckon we’ll be hearing more and more about the device and we’ll start to get a more accurate picture of what to expect. Whatever the company ends up doing, let’s just hope they’ve taken care to ensure they can actually sell the thing without fear of it blowing up in their face.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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