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 details on the upcoming Galaxy Note 7 to possibilities for future phones and software.
1. The Galaxy Note 7’s launch date is official, but nothing else about the device is confirmed
Zach Epstein reports for BGR that Samsung has made the Galaxy Note 7’s launch date official, but the company isn’t confirming any details about the device. The company announced in a blog post that the press conference will take place in New York City on August 2, and said of the phone, “With added functionality of the S Pen and large screen, the Galaxy Note7 is a powerful instrument for achievement and self-expression, and is made for those who want to get the most from their phones – and their lives.”
A batch of leaks has revealed what appear to be some of the first real photos of the device. While Samsung hasn’t confirmed the details, it’s expected that the Galaxy Note 7 will feature a curved display like the one on the Galaxy s7 Edge. That screen is expected to be a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, and the device is also expected to be equipped with 64GB of storage, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, microSD support, a 12MP rear-facing camera, a 5MP front-facing camera, an integrated iris scanner, and IP68 water and dust resistance.
2. The Galaxy Note 7 may be Samsung’s most expensive phone yet
SamMobile reports that the Galaxy Note 7 could be the company’s priciest phone yet. A source told the publication that the Note 7 could start at 849 euros in Europe (about $940), which is 50 euros more than the Galaxy S7 edge. SamMobile notes that the Galaxy Note lineup has always commanded a higher price than the Galaxy S series, and the rumor that Samsung will equip the device with a curved screen should make it pricing unsurprising.
3. Samsung seems to be preparing a big update for the Samsung Gear S2
SamMobile reports that the Gear S2 will get an update with new features and user experience improvements. The update will reportedly enable users to set their own photos as backgrounds on the watch face, and the watch will not only recommend watch faces, but will let users install them from the watch itself. You’ll also be able to install recommended apps from the watch, without having to pick up the paired smartphone, and the update also adds improvements to the Gear S2’s fitness-tracking abilities and introduces a sleep-monitoring function.
The publication’s preview of the update reveals a flat design language, and shows some of the changes that users will see with the update. The clock will turn white during the day and dark in the evening, while the weather app has added UV information. You’ll be able to set up to 10 photos as watch faces, and the device will cycle through them each time you wake the display. Additionally, S Voice will gain a few new functions, the update will add a separate contacts app, and the watch will enable you to manage notifications when there are no unread notifications.
4. The cameras on future Samsung phones could perform better in low-light situations
SamMobile reports that Samsung has patented a color splitter that could improve the low-light performance of the cameras in its smartphones. Adding a color splitter would improve color reproduction and reduce noise by improving the sensitivity of the image sensor. While conventional digital sensors use colored filters to transmit wavelengths, that approach results in a loss of light since the filters absorb light in all but one wavelength. By splitting the light into two separate beams, that light loss would be prevented and the different colors of light would be treated separately. The technology could bring major improvements in camera performance, since the color splitter would help the image sensor to perform in dim light and would reduce noise at higher ISOs.
5. Samsung’s software strategy may improve
Android Headlines reports that Samsung intends to improve its software engineering. According to a report out of South Korea, Samsung has “urged its employees to improve their software development skills,” and an unnamed Samsung official claimed that only 1% to 2% of Samsung’s employees would be qualified to work at Google. Samsung’s software efforts have been frequently criticized, including its TouchWiz user interface, the bloatware integrated into its devices, and even the company’s Tizen operating system. The report indicated that Samsung’s software engineers “will be given more time to develop technologies, not to check administrative work,” which will hopefully result in better software on Samsung’s smartphones and other devices.
6. Future Samsung phones may support both microSD cards and UFS cards
Andrew Grush reports for Android Authority that Samsung has developed a slot that works with both microSD cards and UFS cards. Universal flash storage (UFS) cards are a new storage option that’s five times faster and requires less energy than microSD cards, but they aren’t compatible with the current microSD slot. The news that future Samsung phones may feature a slot that’s compatible with both options is great for users who have already invested in high-capacity microSD cards.
Chris Smith reports for BGR that it’s possible that the Galaxy Note 7 could be the first Samsung phone to feature this new slot. While the company hasn’t confirmed whether the new Note will have expandable storage that supports UFS memory, “the fact that UFS microSD cards were announced before the upcoming early August Galaxy Note 7 launch and the fact that it confirmed it created a socket design ready to support both the new and the old seem to be indications that the new phablet might offer users access to the fastest memory cards in town.”