Something you don't hear every day: Samsung Galaxy smartphones by Microsoft. Indeed, Microsoft has been working closely with Samsung of late, the result of which is now very evident amid the release of the South Korean electronics company's latest flagships, the Galaxy S8 and its larger sibling, the S8 Plus.
With both companies attempting to have a leg up on top-rank smartphone companies Apple and Google, Microsoft cozying up to Samsung makes sense from a strategic point of view. That partnership is visible on the Galaxy S8's DeX accessory, in which the phone becomes the powerhouse, if you will, to enable a desktop like experience.
At its unveiling event in New York this past Thursday, March 29, Samsung noted that Microsoft updated its Office apps to work in tandem with the new docking feature. As Fortune reports, this collaboration follows last year's deal to equip Samsung tablets with Windows and, in a 2015 agreement, to preload mobile apps the likes of Skype, OneNote, and others on Galaxy handsets.
Galaxy S8 And S8 Plus Microsoft Edition
The latest evidence of that relationship was announced by Microsoft on Thursday, where it stated that "Microsoft Edition" Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus varieties will be sold directly on its U.S. retail stores. Along with the premium-specs typical on a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus handset, the Microsoft Edition ones will come equipped Microsoft apps, which will be featured prominently on the home screen.
These apps, however, won't come preinstalled. Upon unboxing and connecting to a Wi-Fi network, a Microsoft customization will be applied over the air, thus downloading and installing the suite of apps included. Surprisingly, Cortana is also onboard, which is a curious scenario, given how staunchly Samsung heralds its new proprietary virtual assistant Bixby. But it makes sense: If you're going out of your way to procure Microsoft Edition versions of Samsung's latest flagships, then you might as well expect that a software as crucial as Cortana will be there.
The standard versions of Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus already include Office apps, but the Microsoft Edition versions includes other important software, such as Excel, OneDrive, Outlook, Bring, Groove, Skype, MSN News, and a whole lot more.
"Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ Microsoft Edition arranges those productivity applications on the home screen and provides additional accessibility to other Microsoft owned applications such as LinkedIn, Wunderlist and more," said a Microsoft spokesperson, as Engadget reports.
Galaxy S8 And S8 Plus Microsoft Edition Availability
The Galaxy S8, S8 Plus Microsoft Editions are available for preorder now and will be available for purchase at U. S. Microsoft retail stores beginning April 21, the same day as the release of the smartphones.
Galaxy S8 And S8 Plus Specs
The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are the newest outings from Samsung after the whole Note 7 fiasco. Both sport so-called Infinity Displays, which favor a nearly bezel-less experience unlike any other phones. The closest is the Xiaomi Mi Mix comes to mind, which also features insanely slim bezels. The regular version comes with a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display, while the Plus version sports a larger 6.2-inch Super AMOLED display. Both screens offer a resolution of 2,960 x 1,440.
Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. In terms of software, both phones come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, with Bixby baked in. On the back of both devices is a 12-megapixel dual pixel camera and on on the front is an 8-megapixel camera.
For a full spec sheet of both handsets, information on accessories, and other features, check out Tech Time's report on the unveiling.
Thoughts about Microsoft Editions of Samsung's latest flagships? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!