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Samsung has reportedly started working on the Galaxy S9 earlier than expected. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji

Samsung Electronics has reportedly started working on the next entry in its “S” flagship series. The tech giant is said to already be in the early development phase for the Galaxy S9, which is scheduled for release early next year. This means Apple’s biggest rival is currently working on two flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 successor and the highly anticipated Galaxy Note 8.

On Tuesday, South Korean publication The Bell learned that Samsung has started planning and developing the Galaxy S9 earlier than expected. Just how early? The company is said to have started three to four months ahead of the usual schedule of the Galaxy S smartphones. In fact, the handset has already been given a codename, which is “Star.”

It’s not clear why the tech giant chose “Star” as the internal name of the Galaxy S9. When Samsung was in the process of creating the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, it used “Project Dream” as the codename for the project. The reason for that one, as revealed by executive director Kim Hye-deok, was the company’s “dream to overcome Apple.”

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Samsung appears to be not following a pattern with the codenames it is giving its products. Some companies, on the other hand, do. For instance, Google has been using fish names in making internal monikers for its phones. When it was working on the Pixel and Pixel XL, it gave the two “marlin” and “sailfish” codenames. At present, Google is using “walleye” and “muskie” to refer to the upcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2.

Samsung is about to launch the ruggedized version o the Galaxy S8. Even this smartphone has its own codename. As previously reported, the Galaxy S8 Active is known internally as “Cruiser.” The codename obviously speaks of the toughness of the phone given that it has IP68 rating and MIL0STD-810G standard compliance certification. The Cruiser is a warship designed for long-distance driving.

Meanwhile, industry sources do not have information yet on whether or not the Galaxy S9 would be very different from the Galaxy S8. SamMobile is expecting the device to come with a more refined Infinity Display. The Samsung-centric news site also noted that though there are no details about the phone’s specs and features, its “Star” codename could be hinting that it would be “a shining example of Samsung’s technical prowess.”

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The news about the development of the Galaxy S9 comes amid reports that Samsung is perfecting its successor to the defunct Galaxy Note 7. The Note 8, which has the codename of “Great,” is expected to be released later tis year. On Monday, we reported about a leaked Galaxy Note 8 dummy that somehow confirms the presence of a vertically aligned dual-camera module and the possible absence of a the fingerprint reader on the back.

Following the global recall of the problematic Galaxy Note 7, Samsung vowed to rebuild its consumers’ trust. This explains why the tech company is hard at work in developing its upcoming flagship phones. The Note 8 will launch in the second half, while the Galaxy S9 will not arrive until early 2018. For now, all the rumors surrounding the two handsets should be treated with a pinch of salt unless Samsung confirms them.