Samsung’s upcoming 5G variant of the Galaxy S10 will have a total of six cameras and may launch later than the rest of the new series iterations, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal citing industry sources. Specifically, the flagship handset – dubbed the ‘Beyond X’ internally – is said to feature two forward-facing selfie cameras and four separate lenses on the rear panel. The goal is to create a better sense of spatial perception and ‘richer colors’ in images shot with the device while the dual-front sensors will probably be used to similar effect. However, that may not launch alongside three other variations of the Samsung Galaxy S10 that will reportedly be unveiled in February, the insiders claim. Instead, the company is currently said to be in talks with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, in addition to carriers in its home region, and the handset will be revealed when 5G networks are in place to support it.
Background: Although there has been no confirmation from Samsung and the veracity of claims hasn’t been verified, the new report also seems to confirm earlier speculation and leaks pertaining to the Galaxy S10 lineup. To begin with, there are a number of noteworthy differences between each of the four expected handsets, with the other three said to be in development under the codenames ‘Beyond 0’, ‘Beyond 1’, and ‘Beyond 2’. The “budget” variation of the device is said to be designed around a 5.8-inch flat panel, for example – the company’s first flat panel flagship since the Galaxy S7. While each device is expected to arrive with either an Exynos 9280 SoC with two neural processing units or a similar offering from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family, the entry model will also reportedly arrive with only 4GB of RAM. Bumping up in price from there, both middle-bracket models will feature the more traditional Samsung Infinity Edge panel and come in at 6.4-inches in size. Those will feature 6GB and 8GB of RAM respectively, rumors suggest, and earlier leaks have implied that each screen will be set at an extra-tall 19:9 display aspect ratio.
With regard to the camera sensors in each device, the three ‘lower-end’ models have been tipped to feature just three camera sensors in the primary shooter array. There’s no indication as to what the extra camera on the largest and 5G capable Beyond X will be used for aside from the enhancements mentioned above. However, the stark differences between the devices don’t end there either. Although no pricing has been given for any of the non-5G variations of the Samsung Galaxy S10, the most recent estimates place the price for the premium Beyond X at around $1,770. Compared to the launch cost of its closest current device, arguably the Galaxy Note 9, that’s a jump of around $500, most likely indicating that there will be plenty of other differences in specs and features as well.
Impact: Setting all of that aside, the 5G-ready Samsung Galaxy S10 being pushed back until carriers are ready on the networking side could ultimately work against Samsung. None of the carriers seem to have a rock-solid launch date for their respective roll-outs just yet. Sprint, for example, doesn’t plan to have a nationwide network until 2020 while the other carriers are just now getting started on their own roll-outs and aren’t likely to be finished in the first half of 2019. By holding off, Samsung may be providing other OEMs an opportunity to launch their own 5G devices. Regardless of whether 5G is completely ready, that would give those manufacturers a PR edge and, since the tech is currently being built on top of 4G, users will already have devices ready-to-go and in-hand once the network does arrive. Moreover, that could cause a lapse between carriers and consumers receiving the devices if the networks launch on vastly different timescales and may hurt sales if users choose to stick with the other three variants that will reportedly arrive at or around MWC 2019.