A new patent published by the European Trade Mark and Design Network (TMDN) several days ago suggests that Samsung might have been developing a variant of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus with a physical Home button at one point. Several sketches from the design patent documentation that can be seen above show how the company's latest pair of Android flagships might have looked like if it was equipped with a Home button similar to the one featured on the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge. Compared to Samsung's 2016 flagships, the button depicted in the illustrations is noticeably slimmer and is presumably meant to host a fingerprint scanner seeing how there's no sign of such a reader on the rear panel of the phone.
While the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer might have been considering the idea of sticking with the physical Home button for the Galaxy S8 lineup, that concept likely wasn't close to being commercialized seeing how the company only applied for this particular patent in early April, more than a week after it officially unveiled its new Android flagship duo. While that still doesn't indicate Samsung never had a working prototype of the device depicted above, the Seoul-based tech giant was likely not close to commercializing it at any point in the past. Other than the overall outline of the phone, another element that suggests this patent shows an alternative variant of the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus is the Bixby button that's located immediately below the volume rocker of the handset.
Regardless of this particular patent, Samsung is expected to continue pursuing the design philosophy introduced with the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus in the future, i.e. the company's upcoming flagships will likely lack a physical Home button and boast a large screen-to-body ratio, as well as stick with the 18.5:9 image format. The Galaxy Note 8 that's set to be introduced in the second half of the year will therefore likely be similar to the Galaxy S8 product lineup, though it remains to be seen whether Samsung moves its fingerprint scanner from the rear panel and embeds it below the display, which is what the company reportedly had in mind for the Galaxy S8 but ran out of development time to realize that vision.