Each week, an array of exciting new Samsung rumors surfaces. Even if speculation about future component upgrades or rumors about devices that may or may not actually materialize don’t normally hold your attention, it’s hard not to be curious about what one of the biggest tech companies in the world is planning for its next phones, wearable devices, and apps. Read on for this week’s most interesting reports about Samsung’s plans and future products, from the possibility of a 4K display for the Galaxy S8 to the company’s interest in getting 5G mobile networks off the ground.
1. Future Samsung phones could get a rear notification system
Tim Hardwick reports for MacRumors that according to a recent Samsung patent, the company may introduce a new light-based notification system on the back of its phones. Some Android phones incorporate a separate notification LED on the front of the phone to alert users to missed messages or calls. But according to leaked specs and images, Samsung is considering a new notification system for the back of its phones, called “Smart Glow.”
The system features a ring that circles the rear camera lens and lights up to alert users to missed notifications when the phone is placed on a surface like a table or a desk. The ring would glow different colors depending on the context. In addition to alerting users to incoming notifications, it could also serve other purposes, such as letting them know when the battery is running low or has fully charged, or giving them an easy way to know that the rear camera has detected a face for a higher-resolution selfie. The notification system is rumored to be planned for the Samsung Galaxy J2, which is due to launch in India later this year. It’s unknown whether Samsung plans to integrate the feature into flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 7.
2. There might be just one version of the Galaxy Note 7
Chris Smith reports for BGR that according to the latest rumors, there may not be two versions of the Galaxy Note 7, one with a flat screen and one with a curved screen. Instead, Samsung may introduce just one version of the Galaxy Note 7 when the device is unveiled this summer. According to the Korea Herald, the Galaxy Note 7 will have a display that curves down on both sides (like the Galaxy S7 edge and the Galaxy S6 edge), and Samsung is reportedly not planning to launch a flat version of the phone.
The device is expected to be unveiled at an Unpacked event in New York in August, and would be the first Note to feature a dual-edge display. According to SamMobile, current word has it that the Galaxy Note 7 will launch with a 5.8-inch dual-edge curved display, 6GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, and an improved 12MP camera with dual-pixel phase-detection autofocus. Other reports indicate that the phone could feature an iris scanner, IP68 certification for water and dust resistance, Android N, and a USB Type-C port. It’s also expected that Samsung could unveil a new Gear VR virtual reality headset alongside the next-generation Note.
3. The Galaxy S8 could get a 4K display
Jacob Siegal reports for BGR that rumors about Samsung’s Galaxy S8 indicate that the phone could feature a 4K display. Several reports have indicated that Samsung is considering the ultra-high resolution for its next Galaxy, following Samsung’s introduction of a 5.5-inch 4K UHD display at a trade show. If Samsung does equip the phone with a 4K display, it will also need to integrate a much higher-capacity battery, which may be a factor in the device’s design.
Edoardo Maggio reports for 9to5Google that there doesn’t seem to be much of a use case for a 4K display on a phone with the exception of virtual reality. Google’s new Daydream VR platform is “high-specs hungry,” as Maggio puts it, and 4K resolution screens could result in much better virtual reality experiences. Additionally, Maggio expects that there will be “some sort of crazy battery-optimizing tech coming out of Samsung’s labs” to offset the demands of the 4K display. Cory Gunther reports for Gotta Be Mobile that a surprising number of rumors have teased features of the Galaxy S8 already, despite the fact that the Galaxy S7 is just four months old. The Galaxy S8 isn’t expected to be released until February or March of 2017, so all of the rumors that have surfaced so far are very early reports.
4. Samsung reportedly wants to jumpstart 5G networks
Se Young Lee and Miyoung Kim report for Reuters that Samsung aims to become one of the top three companies in 5G mobile networks “by moving quickly in markets like the United States.” Reuters notes that Samsung ranks well behind its peers in the networking business after backing CDMA and WiMax technologies that never caught on globally. However, the company wants to catch up by moving early on 5G, a wireless technology that will be the next-generation standard.
5G networks could offer data speeds 10 to 100 times faster than 4G technology. Major networking companies are targeting the United States, where plans are moving to open spectrum for 5G wireless applications. Some U.S. officials think that we’ll see the first large-scale commercial deployments of 5G networks by 2020, and officials in South Korea and Japan are working to deploy 5G in order to boost economic activity. Samsung is targeting more than $8.6 billion in annual sales of 5G equipment by 2022. A crucial part of its plans is a partnership with Verizon to commercialize the technology.
5. Samsung’s next smartwatch could run Tizen
SamMobile reports that Samsung’s next smartwatch is codenamed “Solis” and will run the company’s own Tizen operating system. The device is expected to feature a round display, and the model numbers for Solis will be SM-R760, SM-R765, SM-R770, SM-R765V, and SM-R765S. SamMobile reports that the smartwatch will run Tizen, and will feature an updated user interface. None of the specs for the watch have been leaked yet, but it’s expected to feature better specifications than the Gear S2. A larger display is possible, as are longer battery life and new functionality.