Samsung's Galaxy Tab S-series is one of the best names in Android tablets, and it was nearly a year ago we saw the Tab S3 announced. Is a Galaxy Tab S4 in store at MWC 2018? We'll find out for sure on Sunday 25 February, with Samsung's press conference scheduled for 5pm GMT (6pm CET).
According to a post on XDA-Developers the Galaxy Tab S4 is definitely planned and will likely come with Android Oreo. It says it found references to a 'gts4llte' in the framework-res pulled from a leaked beta build of Android 8.0 for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8
When is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 release date?
We're almost certain Samsung will apply its Infinity Display treatment to its premium tablet line sometime this year. However, due to the distinct lack of rumours on a Tab S4, and the fact its previous announcements have been every 18 months rather than once per year, we don't think we'll see a Tab S4 at MWC 2018.
Despite this, GSM Arena has spotted a Geekbench listing for what could be the Tab S4. The timing of the leak could indicate an MWC release alongside the Galaxy S9.
IFA 2018 is a much more likely time for the Tab S4 unveiling, which would mean we'd see a September 2018 unveiling and probably October 2018 on sale.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 cost?
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 is not cheap at £599 (RRP, now around £499), and we don't think the premium tablet will get any cheaper in its next generation. If anything it will become more expensive, and we could see an RRP more in line with that of its S-series: £689.
What new features can we expect in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4?
As we mentioned, things are very quiet on the Tab S4 rumours front at the moment, which adds weight to our theory that it won't launch until later this year. However, we can make some educated guesses based on Samsung's previous behaviour.
The most likely candidate for a new feature in Samsung's next premium tablet is an Infinity Display with support for HDR. Introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 in 2017, and extended to the A series in 2018 with the Galaxy A8, the Tab S4 is surely next in line to get the feature.
On its phones the Infinity Display is an 18.5:9 aspect ratio panel with minimal top- and bottom bezels, creating the effect of a virtually all-screen front. Big bezels are still common in tablets, but they could soon become a thing of the past.
Of course, the Galaxy Tab S3 does not have a 16:9 screen but a 4:3 panel, which is more standard for tablets. So while it's unlikely we'll be looking at the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio here, it's easy to see how Samsung's bezels could be slimmed down, starting with the removal of its capacitive buttons below the display.
It's likely Samsung will want to continue to rival the iPad, so we could see the 9.7in Super AMOLED panel increased to 10.5in. The resolution may finally hit 4K, with the Tab S3 offering 2048x1536 pixels, and Samsung may see fit to add Always-on Display functionality - it was previously thought tablet users would have no need for it, though many users have taken steps to add the functionality themselves with workarounds. We'd also like to see a fingerprint scanner embedded in the screen, and the addition of its iris-scanning tech on the selfie camera.
Some of what's taking up that space around the display on the current model is the quad-stereo speakers around the edges of the tablet, specially tuned by AKG. Multimedia performance is essential for a tablet, so we don't see Samsung dumbing down things here.
Core performance is also one of the key selling points for Samsung's Tab S line, though it rarely features the current top-spec hardware. We would expect to see the 10nm Snapdragon 835 chip rather than the Snapdragon 845 that will likely feature in the Galaxy S9, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, with microSD support as before.
We'd also put money on the fact it will get the upgraded S Pen of the Galaxy Note 8, which means it'll see a finer tip and improved pressure sensitivity, as well as new functionality such as Live Message, translation of entire sentences in up to 71 languages, and conversion of units and currencies. We'd also like to see somewhere on the tablet you can physically store the S Pen when not in use.
The battery was previously rated at 6,000mAh. Rather than increasing this capacity it's likely Samsung will take advantage of the enhanced efficiency offered by the CPU and operating system. We doubt Samsung will add wireless charging, as we have seen in its phones for several years now (it's just not as practical on a tablet), we'd love to see the addition of IP68 waterproofing.
Given the timing of its anticipated release date, it's likely Samsung will launch the Tab S3 running Android 8.0 Nougat with an update to Android 9.0 P (Popsicle?) soon after.
One thing we'd really like to see in the Tab S4 is a smaller version, especially since Apple also seems to have dropped its iPad mini.
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