The Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S7 were both released at the Mobile World Congress in 2015 and 2016 respectively, so it would be a fair assumption for the same release schedule to be repeated in 2017 with the next anticipated Samsung flagship phone, the Galaxy S8. But 2016 hasn't been a normal year for Samsung, if such a thing exists in the tech industry, and there is now speculation that they could bring forward the release of the Galaxy S8 to make up for the absence of the Galaxy Note 7.
The Galaxy S8 will be a critical product for Samsung regardless of whether or not there will be a Galaxy Note 8 in 2017. The release of the Google Pixel phones as flagship products has already added to the competition at the high end of the market. Beyond the Android world, Apple are expected to make a major update with the next iPhone on its 10th anniversary after the more recent modest updates of the last two years. Samsung has consistently offered some of the highest technical specifications with it's Galaxy S range, and will again want to be at the forefront of the industry. Would bringing the release date forward mean a compromise in specifications? It's difficult to believe they would contemplate trying to reduce the testing process instead and risk another significant technical issue.
The other concern of an earlier release date is whether consumer confidence in Samsung will have sufficiently recovered from the Galaxy Note 7 recall. Samsung have not yet fully clarified the cause of the battery issues. Doing so would undoubtedly help, but so would allowing more time before the next major flagship release. Many consumers will stay loyal to Samsung regardless of the Galaxy Note 7, but many will want to be certain that the same issues won't resurface, and will want to see Samsung leading the way in premium quality standards as well as specifications. Another recent rumor on Twitter is that the Galaxy S8 will be released on February 26, which would just precede the start of the Mobile World Congress event but imply that Samsung might be retaining it's original release schedule.