Samsung is likely to do away with the physical button from the front of the upcoming Galaxy S8 handset and introduce a new virtual assistant dubbed Bixby, hoping the change in design would help consumers forget the Note 7 debacle.
People familiar with the matter told Wall Street Journal the fingerprint scanner of the S8 would be moved from the home button and placed on the back of the handset. The phone is expected to be unveiled at an event in New York in late March, they added.
The S8 might use batteries made by Samsung SDI, the company's battery-making affiliate, which was one of two suppliers for the Note 7 battery.
In January, Cha Nam-hyun, Samsung SDI's vice president of marketing, told analysts the company has signed up to supply batteries for the S8, helping Samsung SDI's sales in the first quarter of 2017. Since the recall of Note 7, Samsung SDI has spent 150bn Korean won ($130m) to improve its safety standard, along with launching an X-ray inspection process for all of its batteries.
After its Note 7 recall, Samsung said the ordeal cost it about $5bn in losses and lost sales. According to estimates by Counterpoint Technology Market Research the company lost the first position in the global smartphone market to Apple in the last three months of 2016. Samsung hopes strong sales of the Galaxy S8 could help it recover the losses.
The report also says the company is planning to add an artificial intelligence button on Galaxy S8.
The company has been planning to beef up its AI capabilities for some time now. In October 2016, Samsung acquired AI start up Viv Labs, which was founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, the creators behind Apple's Siri. It also posted more AI-related job openings on its internal job platform to recruit employees from the company's other divisions.
A source told WSJ, Bixby would rely on an upgrade version of Samsung's S Voice virtual assistant rather than on Viv Labs technology. S Voice made its debut through the Galaxy S3 in 2012. The company's engineers have been working on upgrading the S Voice for a relaunch on the Galaxy S8.
Samsung is expected to release the S8 with a curved screen and would come in two different variants in terms of screen sizes. The Galaxy S8, unlike the iPhone 7 series, will have a headphone jack.