The much-anticipated Galaxy S7 was finally unveiled at an event in Barcelona. But the fact that Samsung finally shared the details on the new flagship phone doesn’t mean that there weren’t some exciting rumors about Samsung’s plans to circulate this week. In fact, there are plenty of other upcoming products on our radar. Read on to catch up on the most exciting Samsung rumors to surface this week.
1. You may finally get to update your Galaxy device to Marshmallow
Galaxy smartphone and tablet owners have been waiting to update their devices to Android Marshmallow, and it looks like Samsung is slowly moving in the right direction in enabling users to update. The company hasn’t confirmed exactly which devices it’s planning to release an update for, but it’s finally begun issuing those updates, and we have a pretty good idea of which Galaxy devices will be able to update to Marshmallow soon.
Samsung has begun the process of releasing the Marshmallow update for the Galaxy S6, and Adam Mills reports for Gotta Be Mobile that carriers in the U.S. are likely to confirm that the update is on its way soon. Carriers are also likely to release a Marshmallow update for the Galaxy S5, as well, following the lead of T-Mobile, which has confirmed that it’s planning a release. Other phones expected to get the update (relatively) soon include the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy Note 4, and the Galaxy Note Edge. In addition to those popular devices, Samsung and carriers are also expected to issue updates for the Galaxy A7, Galaxy A8, Galaxy Alpha, and Galaxy Tab S2.
As noted by Samsung Rumors, the Galaxy Note 5 has already received the update to Marshmallow. Some users — seemingly those who have rooted their devices — have reported some battery drain issues and VR connectivity issues after installing the update. But if you haven’t modified your phone, it seems that the update to Marshmallow is unlikely to cause any major issues.
2. The Galaxy S7’s camera may outperform the iPhone 6s’s
One of the most interesting changes that Samsung made with the Galaxy S7 is its camera system. Samsung added a new lens, with a larger f/1.7 maximum aperture, and as Chris Chavez reports for Phandroid, introduced what the company is calling a “Dual Pixel” system. The new Sony IMX260 sensor captures more light by using larger 1.4μm pixels (which results in fewer megapixels: 12MP versus the Galaxy S6’s 16MP). But the result is that, according to Samsung, the Galaxy S7 camera can capture 95% more light than the camera in the Galaxy S6. The S7’s camera uses all of its pixels as focus pixels, a feature found typically only in DSLRs, for more faster and more accurate autofocus, plus high-quality low-light pictures.
Phandroid took a few test shots with the new Galaxy S7, comparing its performance in Samsung’s dim booth at Mobile World Congress to the performance of the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the iPhone 6s. The result was a trio of images that seems to indicate that the S7’s camera really could live up to the hype. The photo taken with Samsung’s new phone is considerably brighter and more detailed than the images captured by the other two smartphones, and pending further testing that will inevitably happen when the Galaxy S7 begins shipping, it seems pretty clear that the S7 is a formidable competitor for Apple’s iPhone.
3. The Galaxy Note 6 could get a 4K display
While it hasn’t been that long since Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 5, rumors are already circulating about the next generation of the device, the Galaxy Note 6. As Ashlyn Fernandes reports for PC-Tablet, the Note 6 will be the first device in the Note series to be preloaded with Android Marshmallow; the device is expected to be unveiled toward the end of 2016, and it’s possible that the phone will have 6GB of RAM.
It’s likely that the Note 6 won’t significantly overhaul the external design of the Note 5. But it’s been rumored that Samsung is considering increasing the resolution of the Note 6’s touchscreen, and could even integrate a 4K display into the device. Notably, Samsung is expected to continue using BRITECELL technology to boost the camera’s low-light performance. The Note 6 may also include a micro-SD card slot, a feature Samsung may bring back after Android fans complained of its absence from the Galaxy Note 5.
Other rumors have indicated that the Galaxy Note 6 could ship with a docking station, one that would enable it to transform into a PC, of sorts. It’s also expected to support Samsung’s S Pen stylus, and is likely to ship with two processor options, Snapdragon or Exynos, depending on the region.
4. Samsung is preparing to launch the midrange Galaxy J7
While lots of Android fans are excited about the high-end Galaxy S7, not everyone who wants an Android smartphone wants one with such a hefty price tag. Samsung Rumors reports that the company is planning to launch a new mid-range phone, called the Galaxy J7, which is so far expected to feature a 3,300mAh battery and a 5.5-inch 1080p super AMOLED display.
The phone would be powered by the Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor and the Adreno 405 GPU. (Some models of the J7 will reportedly use the Exynos 7870 processor.) The smartphone is also expected to integrate 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, about 10GB of which would be accessible to the user. A 12MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera are also expected.
This won’t be the phone for you if you want the metal body and high build quality of the S-series smartphones, since Samsung usually goes with a lower-end plastic design for its J-series phones. Samsung Rumors speculates that Samsung could include a fingerprint reader in the 2016 version of the J7. The publication reports that the smartphone will launch in March.
5. A new Tizen phone may be on its way
Android smartphones may not be the only mobile devices that Samsung launches in 2016. Jayson Boral reports for China-based publication Yibada that Samsung is planning to launch a new smartphone powered by its own Tizen operating system. The device, called the Samsung Z5 and spotted in a Zauba import database, will be undergoing a testing phase in India, where 310 units have already been imported.
Based on the information that’s surfaced so far, the Samsung Z5 may be a metal-bodied smartphone, which would give it a premium feel that would contrast with the plastic Samsung Z1 and Z3, which were both powered by Tizen. The timeline for the device’s launch is unclear so far, and there’s not much information available on the specifications you can expect from the phone.
However, Samsung has hinted that it wants to offer more midrange devices to its customers, and Boral speculates that could mean that the device could have specifications in the range of a 5-inch display, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, an 8MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front camera, and a 3,000mAh battery with an Ultra-Saving mode.
6. Samsung probably won’t release any high-end 3D TVs this year
The 3D TV is a product that lots of consumers haven’t known how to think about for the past few years. 3D content looks great on big screens, but less so on mid-sized TVs. Finding 3D content in the first place is an annoying task, and the trouble many users have keeping track of the the 3D glasses they need to watch the occasional 3D movie doesn’t make it any easier to enjoy a 3D television.
Samsung Rumors reports that this year, Samsung and other top TV manufacturers are moving closer to killing off the 3D TV. Samsung reportedly won’t be releasing any high-end 3D televisions this year, and neither will other top TV manufacturers. The only 3D TVs that you’ll be able to buy from Samsung and other TV manufacturers will be mid-range 3D TVs, which may end up being less attractive than older generations of high-end 3D televisions.
Samsung is reportedly going to focus its resources this year on developing televisions with cutting-edge ultra high-resolution and HDR capabilities. The company plans to leave 3D technology to its virtual reality efforts, like the Gear VR headset.
7. Samsung devices are more prone to failure than you might think
Whether you’re a fan of Android smartphones (which you probably are, considering that you’ve made it this far through the week’s Samsung rumors) or whether you prefer the iPhone, you probably assume that all of the high-end smartphones that are currently are about the same when it comes to their reliability and failure rates. So you might be dismayed to learn that Android smartphones account for 85% of device failures, according to a Blancco Technology Group spotted by Yoni Heisler at BGR.
That study found that the vast majority of mobile device failures during the fourth quarter of 2015 came from Android smartphones, compared to the 15% of issues that originated on iPhones. Samsung devices accounted for 27% of device failures, followed by Lenovo at 21%, Motorola at 18%, and Xiaomi at 11%. On both Android and iOS devices camera problems represented 10% of failures, followed by touchscreen malfunctions, battery charging issues, microphone problems, and overall performance issues.
Additionally, the issues that affected smartphone users varied based on their geographic region. General performance and camera issues accounted for 25% of problems for smartphone owners in North America, while in Europe, poor carrier signal and problems making calls account for 56% of reported device problems.