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Samsung Teases New Galaxy Ultra With 'Smarter' Camera Before Unpacked

The camera is expected to be a big focus for the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung S22 Ultra
The Galaxy S22 Ultra
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Samsung hasn't officially said what's coming at its next Unpacked event on Feb. 1, but it's dropping some heavy clues. TM Roh, the head of Samsung's mobile experience business, has teased that faster new Galaxy devices with better cameras are coming soon.

"The upcoming Galaxy is all about camera, performance and sustainability," he wrote in a Tuesday blog post, adding that the camera is getting "smarter" and performance is getting "more powerful." On Feb. 1, Samsung is widely expected to announce the Galaxy S23 lineup, the successor to its flagship Galaxy S22 family.

We'll have to wait until Unpacked for the full details, including the names of the new devices. But we're already getting a preview of what that camera upgrade might look like. Samsung just announced its new 200-megapixel camera sensor on Monday, following rumors from well-known leaker Ice Universe that the S23 Ultra would have a new camera with that same resolution. Samsung hasn't said whether this sensor will be in the Galaxy S23 lineup, nor has it confirmed the name of its new phone lineup.

Roh's words also suggest that the Galaxy S23 will include parts sourced from repurposed materials similar to the Galaxy S22,  Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4. It also hints that Samsung will offer several years of Android software updates for these new devices. The company notably expanded its software support to include four generations of Android updates last year, even outpacing Google in this regard.

Samsung will introduce "two devices that set the new premium standard for innovation," Roh wrote, which might sound surprising considering the Galaxy S23 family is expected to include three phones. But there's a chance Roh could be referring to new Galaxy Tab S tablets, considering Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab S8 series alongside the Galaxy S22 last year.

The Galaxy S23 lineup is largely expected to be a modest refresh over the Galaxy S22, save for the S23 Ultra. Rumors and leaks suggest a minor design refresh is in store for the Galaxy S23, while the pricier Ultra model is expected to be the only one with a new 200-megapixel camera.  

The launch comes as the global smartphone industry has been suffering because of macroeconomic challenges, as research firm Canalys highlights in its most recent report. Worldwide shipments fell 17% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the firm is projecting flat to marginal growth in 2023. 

Ahead of Unpacked, Samsung is also offering promotions that provide $50 in Samsung credit if you reserve one device or $100 if you register for two.