Samsung seems to be playing it safe —at least with its battery — as it unveils its first major smartphone since the embarrassing recall of its fire-prone Note 7.
The Galaxy S8 will come in two sizes, both bigger than comparable models from last year. To maximize display space, there’s no more physical home button. The S8 also sports a voice assistant intended to rival Siri and Google Assistant.
But battery capacity isn’t increasing, despite the larger sizes, meaning more breathing room for the battery. Samsung had pushed the engineering envelope with the Note 7 battery, which contributed to spontaneous combustions. That recall cost Samsung at least $5.3 billion. Though many customers remain loyal, any further misstep could prove fatal.
The phone, announced Wednesday in New York, will come out April 21. The standard-size S8 will cost about $750 and the larger S8 Plus about $850 — both about $100 more than comparable iPhones and rival Android phones.
“That’s a big bet that its phones will justify a higher price, whereas it could have used these new phones as a way to drive higher sales after a couple of years of stagnation,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research.