Exactly one month from now, Samsung will unveil its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S9. It will be the biggest attraction at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and it will set the bar for Android flagships for the rest of the year. It will also be Samsung’s first opportunity to respond to Apple’s radically redesigned iPhone X. And, inevitably for being the latest and best product from the world’s most prolific smartphone vendor, the S9 will sell in the millions.
I have no doubt that this phone will give Samsung’s habit of issuing a Plus-sized model more momentous and importance. I’m sure Samsung will do its usual thing of sandwiching together the best hardware possible inside a design that feels implausible. But, I do have one overriding question regarding this upcoming device, a question that might go neglected as the usual hot topics of specs and design start to overtake the conversation.
Samsung is one of the many tech companies to claim that it only seeks to engage in meaningful innovation. Technological advances mean nothing without being actually useful to the user, and so anything that Samsung puts into its phones should be able to pass a basic utility test. Waterproofing, fast wireless charging, gorgeous displays, large batteries, and great cameras all satisfy that condition and contribute to making the company’s Galaxy phones attractive. All I’m asking of Samsung is to live up to its own aspirations: if you can’t make Bixby work well, leave it out of the Galaxy S9.