It's time to get excited about smartphones again because the new year is just around the corner, and that means Samsung's next flagship phone — unofficially dubbed the Galaxy S9 — is nearing its official release.

Expectations are high for Samsung heading into 2018, and most mobile tech enthusiasts expect the company to introduce a smartphone that blows away its chief rival, the iPhone X. We're still months away from the Galaxy S9's official unveiling, but thanks to a steady stream of leaks, there's a lot of credible information already available.

Even if you're not planning to buy a new phone next year (or if you're loyal to another brand), you'll still want to pay attention to what the Galaxy S9 will offer in terms of hardware.

Like each new iPhone generation, whatever Samsung includes on the Galaxy S9 will likely reverberate across the entire mobile industry, especially in the Android world.

When will it be announced?
For the last few years, Samsung has held its own "Unpacked" events to formally announce its new flagship phones.

The Galaxy S7 was announced at the end of February 2016 and the Galaxy S8 at the end of March 2017.

We're hearing Samsung might switch things up this time around. Prolific phone leaker Evan Blass said in November that Samsung might debut the Galaxy S9 at CES in January, which would be much earlier than usual. However, a Bloomberg report claims it won't happen until February.

Phone makers typically haven't used CES as a stage for their new phones in years past. And if Samsung were to announce the new phone at a big tech show instead of at its own event, Mobile World Congress, a mobile technology show held in Barcelona during the last week of February, would be a much better place to do it.

When can we buy one?
If Samsung follows tradition, we can can presume the phone will be available for purchase one month after its announcement. Reports currently peg the phone's release for March.

How many sizes will it come in?
The Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S8 both came in a regular and plus-sized version, and it's looking like the S9 will, too.

Rumors suggest the smaller S9 will stick to a 5.8-inch display and the S9 will have a 6.2-inch screen. These are the same display sizes as the S8 and S8 .

Both phones will probably sport the company's signature curved edges on both the front and back. As for the bezels, that's still unclear. Earlier rumors hinted at the possibility of Samsung eliminating the "chin" and stretching the screen all the way to the bottom of the device.

All the things we don't now yet
These leaks have painted a nice picture of the S9 and S9 , but there's still a lot we don't know.

Will the S9 have a real answer to Face ID? What about Animoji? Will it finally have stereo speakers? What version of Android (hopefully Android 8.0 Oreo) will it run and will it come with any revamps that'll make people despise TouchWiz less?

From what we've gathered, the S9 and S9 look to be really safe updates, and that could be a big mistake. The smartphone landscape's more competitive than ever and even though Samsung is still the biggest player for Android, it faces attacks from all sides.

Guarding against the iPhone will always be its biggest challenge. But it also needs to fend off Google's Pixels, LG, and many Chinese brands like Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi, and OnePlus that are now more popular than ever.

The leaks will almost certainly continue dripping out over the next few weeks as we inch closer to the S9's announcement. For now, it's all rumors and speculation, so don't read too much into them. They may prove to be completely wrong come next year. Wouldn't that be something?

Source: Mashable