Samsung Electronics Co. is introducing a new model for its Galaxy S8 smartphone line featuring a metal frame, larger battery and shatter-resistant screen.
The Galaxy S8 Active, which the South Korean company says has passed military specification testing, is geared toward users in environments such as extreme outdoor sporting events and construction sites, where a standard device may succumb to wear and tear. The model doesn’t have the thin glass back of the standard version, first introduced in March, and instead is made from a more rugged material.
The S8 Active comes just weeks ahead of Samsung’s planned debut of its next flagship device. The Suwon-based technology giant has scheduled a media event in New York on Aug. 23 to unveil a new smartphone, which is expected to be called the Galaxy Note 8. It would mark the first redesign to the Note line since the Note 7 battery debacle last year.
The S8 Active will initially be exclusive to the U.S. market and AT&T Inc. as the carrier, Samsung said. Samsung has previously sold “Active” versions of prior Galaxy smartphones. The S8 phone receiving the rugged makeover is the smaller, 5.8-inch model. Samsung also sells a Galaxy S8+ phone with a 6.2-inch screen. The S8 Active costs $850, $100 more than the standard S8.
The new S8 model loses the edge-to-edge screen design of the standard models, which is a key selling point of the device, in favor of a frame for improved durability. The phone includes a larger 4000 mAh battery, giving better battery life than with the standard 3000 mAh battery pack.