The Samsung Galaxy S10 appeared online earlier today, having appeared in what's believed to be the first known depiction of the actual device. Instead of product renders and tempered glass leaks, the upcoming Android flagship stars in a real-life image shared by known industry insider Evan Blass. The photograph that can be seen above appears heavily redacted, with all of the smartphone's surroundings being literally cut out of it, presumably with the goal of protecting the source of the leak. Regardless, what it clearly shows is an entirely new design language that has yet to debut in the West, with one of its most defining features being a literal hole in the top-right corner of the Galaxy S10's display which houses the handset's front-facing camera. This particular model is said to continue Samsung's tradition of offering wireless charging support on its Android flagships and will even take the technology a step further by being able to actually charge other wireless devices, as per the same source.
Samsung technically already commercialized this design last month with the Galaxy A8s, though that particular mid-ranger sports a rather sizeable cutout, whereas the one seen on the Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy S10 appears somewhat smaller and hence less noticeable and easier to get used to. A number of previous rumors suggested the said hole could double as a light ring, though the new leak isn't indicative of such a flash setup being part of the package. The actual model depicted in today's sighting is said to be the one that's code-named "Beyond 1," i.e. the variant expected to sit in the middle of the upcoming product family, at least in terms of pricing. While both the Beyond 1 and Beyond 0 are rumored to be advertised as the Galaxy S10, the latter is reportedly the most affordable model which lacks Samsung's signature Display Edge, marking the company's first return to flat flagship mobile screens since the Galaxy S7 range released nearly three years ago. The final member of the high-end Android line should be a direct successor to the 2018 Galaxy S9+ and consequently be presented as the Galaxy S10+. According to a wide variety of recent reports, Samsung is planning to launch two main versions of this particular device - one with 5G support and an LTE-only handset.
"Can I copy your homework?"
The notch was one of the most defining features of 2018 smartphones after debuting on the Essential PH-1 and Apple's iPhone X in late 2017. Such top cutouts varied in size and size and style from waterdrop-like areas like the one found one the OnePlus 6T to arguably massive plates of the Google Pixel 3 XL. Regardless, what all those designs had in common is that they allowed smartphone manufacturers to continue improving the screen-to-body ratio of their products at a time when the panel industry was without many options to reliably mass-produce display modules that would continue that annual trend of bezel reduction. The trade-off came in the form of asymmetrical screens that remain a polarizing feature to this day, with many critics and consumers claiming they're unable to ever get used to notches, arguing that the additional space their implementation creates in the top corners of smartphones is of little use.
Samsung's solution appears to be a much more discreet alternative to traditional notches and one that will almost certainly be copied by many — if not all — Android handset makers in 2019, at least in the flagship segment of the market, though the first devices to use screen holes are actually mid-rangers, having debuted in the form of the aforementioned Galaxy A8S and Huawei's Nova 4. Besides often being a trendsetter in the mobile space, Samsung Electronics also has a unique advantage over its rivals as far as screen modules are concerned seeing how its sister company Samsung Display is the world's largest manufacturer of small Super AMOLED panels and hence supplies most major smartphone brands. In other words, Samsung likely knew display holes will become a technological possibility in 2019 way in advance and had more time to come up with high-quality software accounting for the thereof than its competitors did.
A charger you'll never forget
Mr. Blass's claim of two-way wireless charging being supported by the Galaxy S10 suggests Samsung is looking to at the very least match its largest rival in terms of flagship features. While that title used to belong to Apple, Huawei is now believed to be the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world and has already introduced the ability to wirelessly charge gadgets with handsets with the Mate 20 Pro launched this fall. Samsung itself has been supporting two-way USB-C charging on its flagships since the Galaxy S8 range and implemented a similar tethered solution into some of the older members of the Galaxy S and Note families. All three Galaxy S10 models will likely offer the said functionality and should primarily differ in terms of screen size, battery capacities, RAM configuration, and 5G support. The addition of two-way wireless charging could also suggest Samsung expects gadgets such as fitness bands and smartwatches to become much more ubiquitous in the near future and should also provide Galaxy S10 owners with a wireless charger they'll have a hard time forgetting to take with them.
Samsung is planning to have a major showing at CES 2019, the biggest trade show of its kind in the world, but even though the happening is kicking off next Tuesday, the Galaxy S10 lineup won't be making a January appearance in Las Vegas, save for perhaps early prototypes being presented to close partners behind closed doors. Instead, the new Android flagship series is widely expected to launch at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, presumably a day before the show opens its doors to the public on February 25. Following a relatively weak year for Samsung's standards that saw the company's sales drop across the board, the consumer electronics juggernaut is now going all out on the innovation front and will be debuting many cutting-edge mobile technologies in the hope of regaining some of the lost momentum in 2019. Besides display holes and 5G connectivity, Samsung is also expected to debut the world's first truly foldable smartphone in the coming months.