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An S Pen stylus on the Galaxy S8 makes no sense, despite rumors

Commentary: A rumored phone case hints that the S Pen may show up on the Galaxy S8, but that doesn't fit with what we know of Samsung's Galaxy and Note phones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The forthcoming (and unofficial) Samsung Galaxy S8 is rumored to have a bunch of new features like a smart AI assistant, an optical fingerprint sensor and a headset jack. And...an S Pen holder for the Samsung stylus typically found on Note phones?

Some outlets are reporting the rumor that the Galaxy S8 will have an S Pen, after images of an alleged Galaxy S8 case from Mobile Fun appeared online with a slot that "could" house the S Pen. But we don't think that's the case with this case at all.

galaxy-s8-mobilefun-case.jpg

Some are saying the opening here could hold and S-Pen stylus, but we say no.

Mobile Fun

Why?

  1. It's too early. Samsung has developed a pretty regular release cycle with Galaxy S and (now) Edge phones debuting in the spring, followed by the Note update in the fall. So it would be completely out of character to see a Note release one after another, even with the Galaxy Note 7's fiery failure. Even if Samsung wanted to correct the mistake with another Note phone, we don't see that happening so quickly, not when Samsung is still preparing to report on its investigation into the Note 7 blowout.
  2. The S Pen is pricier, for power users. The stylus is what makes a Note a Note, and not a Galaxy S phone. It's the line's defining and differentiating feature. Meanwhile, the comparatively smaller, plainer Galaxy S8 should come in at a lower cost than any Note phone. To give the Galaxy S8 a stylus now means giving Samsung fewer pricing options for customers, and also merging the "S" and "Note" families into one. We don't think this is going to happen.
  3. That slot could belong to something else. Assuming that this case design is even correct (and remember, it's all speculation here), the port could belong to another component, like a USB-C port, speaker or a mic. It has a setup similar to another rumored S8 case we've seen, and we think this is for the USB-C charger.

As for the Note and its S Pen, Samsung hasn't given up on the Galaxy Note line yet -- an executive stated that the Note 8 will arrive by the end of the year. While we're holding our breath for Samsung to officially announce the Galaxy S8, there's a chance it'll slip, and happen after the Mobile World Congress show that Samsung often uses as a stage to announce the Galaxy S8.

Either way, we expect the Galaxy S8 to formally launch sometime this spring.

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