5 Samsung Rumors: From a Foldable Phone to a Tizen Update
There are plenty of new Samsung rumors that surface each week, with exciting news and speculation about the phones, tablets, and other gadgets that Samsung has in the works. Read on to catch up on this week’s most interesting rumors and reports about the hardware and software that Samsung is developing.
1. The Galaxy Note 6 could feature a USB-C port
Edoardo Maggio reports for 9to5Google that the Galaxy Note 6 is rumored to drop the microUSB port and finally introduce the USB-C port to Samsung’s line of flagship phones. While other smartphone manufacturers have adopted USB-C — a new standard that enables a single reversible port to serve functions like charging and data transfer with higher speeds and power capacities — Samsung hasn’t yet gotten on board. The company released the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge with the legacy microUSB connector.
But as SamMobile learned, the Galaxy Note 6 will allegedly feature a USB-C port. It’s not yet clear whether the port would be USB 3.1 or an older standard, though it would make sense for Samsung to choose USB 3.1, since it supports USB Power Delivery 2.0 for faster charging and has the ability to carry HDMI or Display Port video signals. Another question is whether Samsung will release a new Gear VR headset alongside the Galaxy Note 6. SamMobile notes that the current version of the Gear VR is equipped with a microUSB port, so it would be logical for Samsung to release the next-generation model with a USB Type-C connector.
2. Samsung’s SmartThings platform seems to have big security issues
Ashley Carman reports for The Verge that Samsung’s SmartThings platform has some serious security issues. Researchers at the University of Michigan uncovered multiple design flaws that could allow a malicious app to unlock doors, reset home access codes, falsely set off smoke alarms, or put devices on vacation mode. All of the attacks require users to either install a malicious app from the SmartThings store or to click a malicious link.
The researchers say that there are multiple issues with the SmartThings framework, but the most pressing issue is that the framework gives apps many privileges that they don’t need to function. A smart lock, for instance, might only need the ability to lock itself remotely, but the SmartThings API bundles that command with the unlock command, which an attacker could user to carry out a physical attack. The system also over-grants permissions to SmartApps that connect to physical devices. When a user downloads an app, it asks for specific permissions to perform its intended purpose, but SmartThings gives the app more access than it needs.
While the exploits require user interaction, the researchers determined that many people readily grant these privileges, or are unaware of the privileges that they’ve granted on SmartThings. In a comment emailed to The Verge, Samsung said that the researchers’ findings prompted it to update its documentation for developers on how to keep their source code secure. The company also noted that the vulnerabilities are dependent on “the installation of a malicious SmartApp or the failure of third party developers to follow SmartThings guidelines on how to keep their code secure.” But the University of Michigan team isn’t convinced that Samsung’s app review efforts are enough to keep users safe.
3. New software could add 40 minutes to your phone’s battery life
Andrew Martonik reports for Android Central that Samsung is testing new software that could add 40 minutes to your phone’s battery life. Vulkan is an open-source framework that enables developers to make their games more efficient by allowing the game to make better use of the processor, and can be used for both computing and rendering. At SDC 2016, Samsung engineers showed off a TouchWiz launcher being developed with Vulkan that not only improves performance, but offers a significant battery life boost.
The launcher isn’t finished and doesn’t leverage everything that Vulkan offers, but it’s interesting that the launcher offers the same performance as the current version (or better) and consumes less power in the process. The Vulkan-powered launcher performs tasks like scrolling through pages or opening the app drawer with a 6% power savings as compared to the current version, but when you consider how often you use the launcher throughout the day, the power savings add up. Samsung’s engineers report that on a 3,600mAh battery, battery life could be extended by 40 minutes just by switching to the new launcher.
4. Samsung may be working on a foldable smartphone
Dominik Bosnjak reports for Android Headlines that Samsung is allegedly developing a foldable smartphone for launch in 2017. The company has reportedly been working on a dual-screen smartphone with a foldable display since 2014, and that project was codenamed Project Valley. There weren’t any updates regarding the project for almost a year, but rumor has it that Samsung is planning to release its first foldable smartphone in 2017.
Android Headlines’ sources report that Samsung is developing a 7-inch tablet which could be folded into a 5-inch smartphone. They also report that the company has already partnered with or acquired all of the relevant creators of the tech it would need to manufacture such a device. The smartphone will allegedly be equipped with an OLED display which users would be able to fold in half. Samsung’s display division is already reportedly working on the screen, and rumor has it that a prototype already exists.
Bosnjak posits that pending the release of Samsung’s foldable smartphone, the company might begin to launch four major flagship phones on a yearly basis: the regular and curved S models, the Note phablet, and a foldable devices that could represent something new and unique for the company’s smartphone lineup.
5. A big update is coming for Tizen
Alexander Maxham reports for Android Headlines that a big update to Tizen is coming this fall. Samsung announced at its developer conference that the update Tizen gets this fall will be a substantial one, and rumor has it that the update will make Samsung’s operating system more competitive with Android and iOS. Maxham notes that Tizen was supposed to be Samsung’s “way out of Android,” but it’s currently only competitive in the smartwatch arena, with Samsung’s Gear lineup.
The update will make Tizen 64-bit, which will bring it in line with Android and iOS, which are already 64-bit. Samsung plans to release the beta for the new version of Tizen in July, when developers will be able to experiment with it and start developing compatible apps. Samsung launched the Z1 smartphone, which runs Tizen, last year. Though the device wasn’t a big seller, Samsung doesn’t seem to be giving up on Tizen, but if Tizen-powered smartphones don’t gain ground soon, it’s likely that the operating system will be relegated to wearables and internet-of-things devices.