6 Samsung Rumors: Will 2017 Bring Just One Flagship Phone?

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. Read on for this week’s most interesting reports about Samsung’s plans and future products, from what’s going on with its upcoming smartphones to the company’s plans for new tablets and Chromebooks.

1. Samsung may introduce only one flagship phone in 2017

People look at their mobile phones at a mall in the Gangnam district

It’s rumored that Samsung may only have one new flagship phone next year | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Ben Schoon reports for 9to5Google that Samsung may be planning to release just one flagship line next year in an effort to ensure better quality on its main flagship, the Galaxy S. A report from a Korean news outlet claims that the adjustment to Samsung’s flagship lineup is due to the tight release schedule necessitated by releasing both the S series and the Note series flagships each year.

A representative from one of Samsung’s partner firms stated that Samsung hasn’t notified suppliers of any plans to change its current two-flagship strategy. But if the report is correct, it may indicate that Samsung will ditch the Note category altogether. However, Schoon notes that it seems at least a little unlikely that Samsung would stop producing phones in that form factor altogether, since previous Note devices have been successful. Alternatives, such as the S7 Edge and the LG V20, have many of the Note’s features, but not the S Pen. If Samsung stops creating Note devices altogether, Schoon thinks that the S Pen will be supported on another device — perhaps on a Plus variant of the S line.

2. The Galaxy S8 is likely to feature an iris scanner and a dual camera

Samsung Galaxy S7

The Galaxy S8 is likely to have more than a few impressive features | David Ramos/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that Samsung’s suppliers are “increasingly confident” that next year’s Galaxy S8 will feature an iris scanner and a dual-camera system. The Galaxy Note 7 was Samsung’s first smartphone to feature an iris scanner, and the company’s suppliers think that the iris scanner as well as a much-rumored dual-camera system will be features of the Galaxy S8 that Samsung is expected to launch next year.

The iris scanner was one of the most important features of the Galaxy Note 7, and it could play the same role on the Galaxy S8. SamMobile notes that Samsung doesn’t use the same camera in its flagships year after year, so it’s likely that the company will make improvements to the camera system intended for the Galaxy S8. A dual-camera system would require two separate camera modules, plus many other components beside the two lenses, which explains suppliers’ enthusiasm about the prospect.

3. A new Samsung Chromebook is reportedly on its way

Samsung's sign

The Chromebook Pro could be on its way in the future | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

According to 9to5Google, an impressive new Chromebook called the Samsung Chromebook Pro is on its way. First spotted by Chrome Unboxed, a removed Adorama listing for the device reveals that it will feature a 12.3-inch touchscreen display on a 360-degree hinge. It will also be equipped with a hexa-core processor clocked at 2GHz, 32GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. The device also features a design with minimal bezels, what appears to be an all-aluminum build, and a stylus.

9to5Google’s Ben Schoon notes that the stylus will be a first for a Chromebook, but the design choice makes sense given the fact that Android apps are likely to be available on the machine out of the box. The Samsung Chromebook Pro will be priced at $499. The device was briefly listed on Adorama for preorder and previously appeared on B&H. The Adorama listing revealed a potential ship date of October 24, which means that the Chromebook is likely to appear soon.

4. Millions of Galaxy Note 7 buyers may be switching to the iPhone 7

A man stands by signboards of Samsung Galaxy Note7 during a showcase to mark its domestic launch in Seoul on August 11, 2016. The Note7 will be available starting August 19, with a price of 988,900 won (897 USD) in South Korea. / AFP / JUNG YEON-JE

The controversy over the Galaxy Note 7 may be causing Samsung users to jump ship | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Jacob Siegal reports for BGR that with the Galaxy Note 7 officially discontinued, millions of consumers are trying to decide which smartphone to choose now. (We have a few suggestions for shoppers who really wanted a Galaxy Note 7.) According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a fair number of these Samsung customers may switch from the Galaxy Note 7 to the iPhone 7. Kuo expects that between 5 million and 7 million customers who bought or would have bought a Galaxy Note 7 are going to buy an iPhone 7 instead.

The iPhone 7 isn’t the only smartphone that’s likely to benefit from Samsung’s unfortunate recall of the Galaxy Note 7. 9to5Google reports that a survey from mobile e-commerce platform Branding Brand indicates that the Google Pixel may benefit from the Galaxy Note 7 recall, and SamMobile notes that another survey indicates that the Galaxy S7 Edge is popular with users returning a Note 7.

5. Samsung’s battery testing may have contributed to the Galaxy Note 7 disaster

A woman looks at a mobile phone as she stands on an elevator in a mall beneath the Samsung headquarters in the Gangnam district of Seoul on October 12, 2016. Samsung Electronics slashed its third-quarter profit estimate by 33.3 percent, citing fallout from the recall nightmare surrounding its scrapped Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. / AFP / Ed Jones

There are rumors behind what led to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 disaster | Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The Wall Street Journal reports that the batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7 were tested by a lab that belongs to Samsung, which is an unusual practice in the smartphone industry. Ryan Knutson and Eun-Young Jeong report that to sell phones at major U.S. carriers, phone makers are required to test phone batteries at one of the 28 labs that are certified by the CTIA in order to ensure compliance with standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. But Samsung is the only manufacturer that uses in-house battery testing facilities for CTIA certification.

A manufacturer testing its own batteries creates potential for conflicts of interest, though it’s also reportedly standard practice in a variety of parts of the industry, and it may help manufacturers protect proprietary technology and get devices to market faster. A spokesman for Samsung said that the internal testing labs didn’t find any problems with the original or replacement Galaxy Note 7 units. But in a statement, Samsung said that it plans to make “significant changes” to its quality-assurance processes following the Note 7 debacle. As the New York Times noted, the Note 7 isn’t the only product that Samsung has had to recall over the years.

6. Samsung may be working on a device you could use as a tablet, desktop, or laptop

People playing with tablets at a concert.

Samsung could be working on an entirely new and unique device | Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that a new Samsung patent reveals how Samsung “wants to reinvent the tablet.” The newly-awarded patent “details a tablet design which can be folded like a leather folder when on the move and can be used in one of three ways. It can function as a large tablet, as a mobile desktop and as a notebook when folded.” The design is impressive, but SamMobile notes that it would require significant advancements in display and battery technology. This means that this isn’t likely to be a product that will be available for purchase anytime soon.