What to expect at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in August
We might be more than halfway through 2018, but there’s still a lot for tech fans to look forward to. Samsung’s Unpacked events have traditionally a huge deal, with the Korean giant announcing major new phones like the Galaxy S9 and the Note 8. This August, there’s likely to be a ton of reasons to watch. The reveal of the Galaxy Note 9 is inevitable, but there’s also the possibility that we’ll be seeing some more unexpected reveals from Samsung.
Samsung Unpacked 2018 isn’t until August 9, but we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect and how you can keep an eye on it when it starts.
How to watch Unpacked 2018
If you want to see all the action revealed as it happens, then there are a couple of ways to do it. The Unpacked event will be streamed live on Samsung’s website, and it’s likely you’ll be able to find it on Samsung’s YouTube channel too. Just tune in at 11 a.m. ET on August 9 and enjoy the show.
We’ll have people on the ground at Unpacked 2018, so make sure to follow Julian Chokkattu, Brenda Stolyar, Steven Winkelman, and DT Mobile for the latest updates from the event.
Galaxy Note 9
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
There are no prizes for guessing the main attraction at Samsung Unpacked 2018 — one glance at the invitation makes it pretty obvious. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 will be in full attendance at Unpacked 2018, and you can expect the majority of the show dedicated to the Galaxy Note 8‘s successor.
So what can we expect from one of the biggest phones of the year? Details obviously aren’t confirmed, but most sources are indicating that — like the Galaxy S9 — the Note 9 will not see a major shift from the previous model’s design. Instead, it seems that Samsung is going to focus heavily on the element of the Note range that sets it apart: The S Pen. Noted leaker Ice Universe claims that the Note 9’s S Pen will come with Bluetooth functionality, will be able to function as a camera timer/clicker, and will be able to control music playing on the main device. While such functionality likely means the stylus will need to be charged, it’s likely Samsung will find a way to charge the stylus while docked in the device. That could be bad news for the battery — but since rumors say the Note 9 will be packing a huge 4,000mAh battery, it might not be a problem.
Another small change may be the addition of another button to the device. Don’t worry, it’s not another Bixby key — instead, it could be a dedicated camera button that could help to cement the Note range’s reputation for strong photography. Like the Galaxy S9, expect to see the fingerprint sensor move from the much-maligned position on the Note 8 — pictures of Note 9 cases place the sensor below the horizontally placed camera lens.
Turning to the internals, leaked Geekbench results show a device equipped with the Snapdragon 845 (no surprise there), 6GB of RAM, and Android 8.1 Oreo. While there have been fewer rumors about the rest of the internals, it’s fair to expect that Note 9 to at least match the specs of the Galaxy S9 Plus — so expect a model of the Note 9 with 256GB of storage to be present at launch.
How likely is it? It’s a certainty.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9 news
Galaxy Tab S4
@evleaks / Evan Blass
The premium tablet market is a space that belongs to Apple’s iPad for the most part, but that doesn’t mean Samsung’s giving up without a fight. Following up on last year’s Galaxy Tab S3, rumors of the Galaxy Tab S4 have built to a fever pitch, and it seems likely that Samsung will choose to show off its next premium tablet at Unpacked 2018.
The Tab S3’s design didn’t change much from the Tab S2, and so Samsung may mix things up a little with its next tablet. The latest leaks agree, and have shown a device with slimmed-down bezels and no home button. It’s a design that’s sleeker and much more 2018, and while tablet bezels required for grip, the Tab S4 looks to have struck a good balance if the leaked renders are to be believed.
The lack of a home button may mean that the Tab S4 lacks a fingerprint scanner, which is bad news for anyone who used their fingerprint to log into PayPal or other secure sites. It’s possible the device will use the front camera for identification, but that won’t be able to be used for secure logins. Though some rumors of an in-display fingerprint sensor have surfaced, the chances of that are probably close to nil. On the plus side, the Tab S4 is reported to be sporting a 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution, a larger 10.5-inch display, and the same improved S Pen functionality that’s coming to the Note 9.
According to leaked benchmarks, the Tab S4 will come equipped with the Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and Android 8.1 Oreo installed from launch. There’s been even less word on a price or release date for the Galaxy Tab S4, but if it’s being shown off at Unpacked 2018, then you can expect to see it come out in the months after — the end of August or start of September seems likely, and a price tag of around $600 seems similarly likely.
How likely is it? While previous versions of the Galaxy Tab have been revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC), with the recent glut of rumors and leaks around the Tab S4, don’t be surprised if you see the Galaxy Tab S4 at Unpacked 2018.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 news
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
It’s been a long time since Samsung released the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch, so an updated version is overdue — and Unpacked 2018 would be the perfect place to show it off.
There are a lot of questions about this smartwatch, and one of the most contentious rumors indicates that Samsung won’t be returning to its “Gear” branding — and will instead cash in on the successful “Galaxy” brand by taking what would be the Gear S4, and renaming it the “Galaxy Watch.” Samsung has registered the name as a trademark in both Korea and the United States, so it seems likely that Samsung will be pushing for a branding refresh for this latest smartwatch.
Also in contention is the operating system running on the watch itself. Samsung has traditionally used its own Tizen OS for previous Gear watches, but after Samsung employees were spotted wearing Gear watches with Google’s Wear OS installed, rumors began that Samsung was planning to swap over to Google’s watch operating system. Another tweet from Evan Blass that the watches were specially made by Google for specific Samsung employees did nothing to cease the rumors. Regardless of the OS, it’s now confirmed that Bixby will be a key feature in the Galaxy Watch. It’s also rumored that Samsung will be boosting the battery size of the watch, and might be experimenting with ways to wirelessly charge the watch on the go with a special phone case that transfers power from one device to the other. Interesting ideas, but not something we’re anticipating seeing at Unpacked 2018.
How likely is it? It’s traditional for Samsung to announce its Gear smartwatches at the IFA exhibition, so it’s more likely Samsung will keep a hold of the Galaxy Watch until that exhibition at the end of August. Don’t rule out a reveal at Unpacked 2018, though.
Samsung Galaxy Watch news
Galaxy J2 Core (Samsung’s Android Go phone)
Android Go is a lighter version of Android made for developing markets, where cheaper and lower-powered phones are common and data is precious. As such, Android Go is easy to run on lower specs, and easy on the mobile data. Samsung has so far avoided this entry-level market, but with sales in developed areas plateauing, it seems the company wants to get a piece of that pie. Rumors that Samsung is developing a lower-powered, entry-level phone with Android Go installed have recently popped up, and it’s possible that it may spend a little time at Unpacked 2018 introducing the Galaxy J2 Core.
In terms of looks, it will likely to be a device that looks fairly “budget”, with a polycarbonate body and chunky bezels surrounding a 5-inch screen. There’s a bright side to that, however, as Samsung seems to have spent that saved money on splashing out on an AMOLED display, which is exceptionally extravagant for an entry-level handset. Specs are, as expected, on the lower side, with the J2 Core rumored to be packing an Exynos 7580, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of onboard storage. Interestingly, it seems that Samsung has put its own spin on the Android Go experience, with some leaked images showing its Samsung Experience skin running on the phone.
How likely is it? Samsung has never released a phone like this before, so there’s no past performance to grade it by. Rumors are still fairly thin on the ground, and it’s a pretty low-key phone, so while the Galaxy J2 Core may be in attendance, don’t expect it to be given a real spotlight.
Samsung Galaxy J2 Core news
Gear IconX 2 earbuds and Gear Fit 3 Pro
Both the Gear IconX earbuds and the Gear Fit 2 Pro are looking a little long in the tooth now, so it’s fair to assume that some sort of update is on the way. Despite that, we’ve heard next to nothing about them. Both of these products have traditionally had the wraps taken off them at the annual IFA conference, making it unlikely that they’ll be making a major appearance at Unpacked August 2018. But don’t discount that Samsung will take the opportunity to show any upgraded versions to a few select individuals.
How likely is it? Unlikely. We’ve heard next to nothing about these possible upgrades, making it far more likely that both of these (if they exist) will be coming to IFA 2018 at the end of August.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Everything you need to know
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4: Everything you need to know
- Samsung Galaxy Watch: Here’s everything we know
- Could this be Samsung’s first entry-level Android Go phone?