Galaxy S7 gold

For the past three years, Samsung has unveiled its flagship in the Galaxy S series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but it looks like the company may delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 until April as it conducts extensive pre-release quality tests to ensure the device is up to the mark.

That's according to The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter:

Executives are now looking to delay the announcement of the Galaxy S8 until after the Mobile World Congress trade show in late February next year, the people said. One of these people said the unveiling could come as late as April. That would mark a break from the past three years, when Samsung used the tech showcase in Barcelona to unveil its newest top-of-the-line Galaxy S smartphones.

The Galaxy S8 will prove pivotal to Samsung's mobile efforts in 2017 as the company tries to regain consumer trust following the Note 7 fiasco. One way of doing that will be to state all the measures it has taken to mitigate the issues that plagued the Note 7, and educating consumers of the same.

Pushing back the release will undoubtedly give Samsung more time to make sure it leaves nothing to chance, but it does mean that it has to get more mileage out of the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which will be nearing 14 months at that point. With compelling alternatives already available, Samsung needs to introduce standout features with the Galaxy S8 to regain lost sales momentum. And it looks like AI is the answer.

The South Korean company has confirmed that it will introduce its own AI assistant with the Galaxy S8, and we may even see a dedicated hardware button to invoke the assistant:

The latest internal prototypes of the premium Galaxy S8 handset include a button on the side edge of the smartphone that would be used to launch a beefed-up virtual assistant based on artificial intelligence, akin to Apple Inc.'s Siri, according to these people, who cautioned that the prototypes aren't final and could change.

As noted by the publication, the fact that the hardware button was spotted on internal prototypes doesn't mean it'll make its way to the retail product, as companies go through several iterations before finalizing a design. That said, it looks like Samsung is looking to focus on AI as the standout feature on the Galaxy S8, using the device as a "springboard" to launch its digital assistant into other product categories.