6 Samsung Rumors: From a Waterproof Galaxy S7 to Note 5

Samsung is expected to unveil its next flagship phone, the Galaxy S7, at an event at the beginning of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ahead of the February 21 event, there’s been plenty of speculation about the Galaxy S7 and other upcoming Samsung products. Read on to catch up on the latest rumors about the devices that Samsung is expected to unveil this month and beyond.

1. The Galaxy S7 is likely to look pretty similar to the Galaxy S6

Source: Twitter.com/evleaks

Source: Twitter.com/evleaks

As Juli Clover reports for MacRumors, renders by the created by noted leaker Evan Blass sum up the design features expected from the upcoming flagship phone. The renders illustrate Blass’s belief that Samsung will offer the phone in a variety of different colors, and show that both the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge will look similar to the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The Galaxy S7 Edge will be larger, measuring 5.5 inches, the same size as the iPhone 6s Plus.

Samsung is expected to add a pressure-sensitive display, which would mimic the 3D Touch display used in Apple’s current iPhones. A microsite and video for the Galaxy S7 also point to improved water resistance and wireless charging, both features that are also rumored for the iPhone 7 that Apple will release later this year. While it isn’t expected to gain dual cameras like the iPhone 7 Plus, the Galaxy S7 is rumored to be gaining an improved camera that would offer better low-light performance. Other rumors for the Galaxy S7 include improved battery life, the reappearance of the microSD card slot, and a USB-C card slot.

An anonymous insider provided Android Authority with what’s supposedly a video of the Galaxy S7. The same source tells the publication that the phone will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, include a 12MP camera, integrate a 2,800mAh battery, and feature a microSD card slot. However, the source says that the phone won’t include a USB Type-C port.

2. Water-resistance looks like a sure thing for the S7

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

Water-resistance is a pretty important feature for many smartphone users, and it looks like the Galaxy S7 will be a serious contender for those who want their next smartphone to be able to withstand a few spills.  As Andrew Grush reports for Android Authority, Samsung has all but confirmed that the Galaxy S7 will be a water-resistant phone. While the S7 and S7 Edge aren’t expected to depart dramatically from their predecessors in terms of base features and external design, two of the most anticipated additions are waterproofing and the microSD card slot.

As Sam Byford reports for The Verge, a leaked video from Samsung’s Indonesian arm seems to show the Galaxy S7 with waterproofing and wireless charging. An unlisted commercial marked #TheNextGalaxy and posted to the branch’s official YouTube channel shows Indonesian archer Dellie Threesyadinda training while using an unnamed Samsung phone in a downpour, and later with a wireless charging pad. A teaser website in Indonesia confirmed the name Galaxy S7, though Cam Bunton notes that 9to5Google that the phone used in the video is likely just the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.

As Android Authority notes, another advertisement clearly illustrated that the Galaxy S7 will have some kind of waterproofing or water resistance. In the video, a girl accidentally drops her phone into a swimming pool, picks it up, and then continues on her way. The tweet that revealed the video included the message,  “Change your idea of what a phone can handle on 2.21.16 #TheNextGalaxy.”

3. Galaxy S7 preorders might start sooner than expected (and include a free Gear VR headset)

Sonia Recchia/Getty Images

Sonia Recchia/Getty Images

According to Android Authority, Samsung fans may be able to preorder the Galaxy S7 beginning February 21, the day that Samsung will announce the new smartphone. Consumers who order the smartphone on February 21 will have their orders shipped on March 11, a shipping target that Andrew Grush reports is in line with several past reports.

To get more Samsung fans to order the new flagship phone right away, Samsung is also reportedly going to throw in a free Gear VR headset to those who preorder between February 21 and March 10. In order to get the real, users will reportedly just need to sign up with proof of purchase through Samsung’s website. Grush notes that while this information hasn’t been confirmed by Samsung, starting preorders the day of the S7 launch would make sense, given the fact that both the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ had pre-order periods that began the day after launch.

It remains to be seen whether preorders will open worldwide on February 21, or if the date will only apply to consumers in Europe. It’s also unclear whether the Gear VR offered as part of the promotion will be the same version that’s currently being sold, or if it’s one that’s been modified for Samsung’s newest smartphones.

4. The Note 5 may get some unwanted UI changes in its Marshmallow update

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Most users are pretty happy to be able to upgrade their smartphones to the latest version of Android, but the Marshmallow update that Samsung will release for the Note 5 may have a few features that users would rather not see. As Bogdan Petrovan reports for Android Authority, Samsung’s Note 5 may get the same unpopular user interface changes that users of the Galaxy S6 have already gotten and haven’t been too happy about. Leaked images of the Android Marshmallow update running on the Galaxy Note 5 show the same “divisive” design choices that Samsung brought to the Galaxy S6.

The design changes include “squircle” icons and a white theme for the notifications drawer, which Android Authority reports seem like “a step backwards in terms of aesthetics.” Many users were unhappy with the changes, and upset that their Galaxy S6’s battery life could take a hit due to the bright theme. The same UI changes have been spotted by a user on a Galaxy Note 5. A gallery of images shows the same notification drawer, while other sections of the user interface remain mostly unchanged.

Samsung is running a beta Marshmallow update program for versions of the Galaxy Note 5 sold in the U.S., as well as for the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge+. Samsung has only just begun the process of releasing the official update to Android Marshmallow for users of the Galaxy S6.

5. Samsung’s updated Galaxy Tab A may bring big changes

Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

The Galaxy S7 isn’t the only smartphone that has analysts and bloggers speculating. As Robert Nazarian reports for Digital Trends, Samsung’s refresh of the Galaxy Tab A could include some surprising updates. The original Galaxy Tab A was released last year, with an all-metal build, S Pen compatibility, and an affordable price tag. Recent leaks indicate that Samsung may be planning to release a an updated version of the Tab with a few significant changes.

So far, the updated version of the smartphone is expected to be offered in a new 7-inch version, while last year’s lineup offered only 8-inch and 9.7-inch models. (It’s unclear whether Samsung will offer those sizes again, too.) The 7-inch model could offer a resolution of 1,280×800 pixels, an upgrade over the 1,024×766 resolution on last year’s models. Samsung is also expected to go use the 16:10 widescreen ratio, instead of the 4:3 ratio found on last year’s models.

The 7-inch device is rumored to be powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core Exynos 3475 chip, 1.5GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh battery. The device will reportedly feature a microSD card slot, a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a 2MP front-facing camera. Samsung is expected to offer the next version of the Tab A in both Wi-Fi and LTE varieties. The S Pen could be eliminated this year, but the device is expected to look largely similar to last year’s model.

Samsung may announce the new Tab A at its event on February 21, which will be headlined by the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. However, last year’s Galaxy Tab A wasn’t introduced until April, so it’s possible that Samsung isn’t yet ready to unveil this year’s version.

6. Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 could be a big problem for Samsung

Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images

Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images

Samsung is probably never thrilled to have a new version of Apple’s super-popular iPhone to compete with. But as Yoni Heisler reports for BGR, Apple’s iPhone 7 might be an even bigger problem for Samsung than you might imagine. Apple has reportedly signed a deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to make the Taiwanese company the sole manufacturer of its upcoming A10 processor. With the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s, A8 and A9 manufacturing was reportedly split between TSMC and Samsung. For the A10 chip, Samsung, which has long been one of Apple’s manufacturing partners, has been cut out of the process.

Of course, Heisler notes that the information won’t be able to be completely verified until the new iPhone is released and teardowns reveal exactly what’s inside. But it’s no secret that Apple has wanted to phase out its reliance on Samsung for quite some time. TSMC’s manufacturing process is reportedly more cost-effective than what Samsung was offering, and Apple is allegedly interested in TSMC architecture that would enable the development of smaller and lighter chips.

More from Gear & Style Cheat Sheet: