Galaxy S11 could miss out on Samsung's next killer design

Samsung has had a busy year, debuting three new entries in the Galaxy S10 series, a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10 with six cameras, two Galaxy Note 10 handsets, and its first folding flagship smartphone. How is the South Korean company planning to top all of that next year?

Well, it sounds like it has a lot planned. As well as the Galaxy Fold 2, a follow-up to the Galaxy Note 10 series and the Galaxy S11, it sounds like the company has an all-new smartphone lined-up that will have features that aren’t available on any of the aforementioned smartphones.

While the Galaxy S11 and Galaxy S11 Plus are widely-rumoured to arrive with 5G compatibility and a 108-megapixel rear-camera sensor, Samsung leakster IceUniverse has shared new details about another smartphone that will launch with an in-display camera – a first for the company.

Until now, Samsung has tried just about everything to squeeze as much screen real estate as possible into its handsets while still keeping the device compact enough that it will fit in your jeans pocket. It has used a rotating camera unit that works as both the front- and rear-facing camera on its Galaxy A80, a curved notch at the top of the pliable OLED in the Galaxy Fold, and a cut-out in the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10.

Earlier this year, rival Oppo embedded a selfie camera in an OLED display. The front-facing camera was invisible when the screen was being used, enabling users to watch movies fullscreen without any interruption, but could peer through the pixels to take selfies when it was fired-up from the camera app.

Unfortunately, we’ve yet to really test how these under-screen cameras perform compared to their traditional, bezel-fitted counterparts.

Oppo says that its embedded camera is “on par with mainstream devices” which is a little too vague to be reassuring. The company has also admitted that placing a touchscreen in front of a camera does reduce photo image quality and introduces new issues like glare and colour cast from the display. However, Oppo says that it has developed algorithms to correct these problems.

According to IceUniverse, Samsung is set to take the same in-display design approach with one of its smartphones in 2020.

But that smartphone definitely won’t be the Galaxy S10 follow-up. Nor will it be the Galaxy Fold 2 either, IceUniverse has stated in a tweet. The tipster has a pretty solid track record when it comes to unannounced hardware, but especially with Samsung products, so we’re inclined to believe this report.

With the introduction of its in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner technology and small hole-punch camera cut-out design, Samsung is close to eradicating any need for borders around the smartphone. This is in stark contrast to the brand-new Google Pixel 4, which sports a hefty bezel at the top of the display to house its new radar technology, which detects your presence near the handset to pre-empty some functions, as well as its face unlock system.

Samsung Galaxy S11 is likely to arrive in February around the MWC consumer tradeshow in Barcelona, provided that Samsung sticks with its typical launch schedule.

It’s usually the first flagship smartphone out of the door from the company, with the Galaxy Note series following in August.

Earlier rumours suggested that Samsung would combine its two distinct Galaxy Note and Galaxy S lines next year in order to make way for the Galaxy Fold series as the second flagship handset launched each year. However, the latest report from IceUniverse suggests that Samsung has more smartphones queued-up for us – not less.

As always, it’s worth taking all of this with a pinch of salt. Nothing is confirmed until Samsung mobile chief DJ Koh stands up on stage and produces the next smartphone from his pocket.