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 the possibility of foldable and convertible devices.
1. The Galaxy Note 7 will probably look a lot like the Galaxy S7 Edge
SamMobile reports that according to press images leaked by Evan Blass, the upcoming Galaxy Note 7 will look a lot like the Galaxy S7 Edge. Blass tweeted an image showing the device in three colors: Black Onyx, Silver Titanium, and Blue Coral. The image also seems to show an iris scanner and a curved display, and confirms speculation that the next Note will be named the Galaxy Note 7 instead of the Galaxy Note 6.
Other leaks have offered more evidence that the device is likely to feature a USB Type-C port and an iris scanner. SamMobile reports that an image from accessory maker Olixar has “confirmed” the presence of the USB Type-C port on the bottom of the phone, alongside a speaker, an S-Pen slot, and a headphone jack. The iris scanner seems confirmed by a leaked photo of the phone’s front panel.
The panel shows a new cutout, presumably for the iris scanner, and also reveals that the phone will feature a dual-edge display and a 5.8-inch screen. The cutouts seen seem consistent with a patent application that indicated that three lenses would be needed for accurate recognition. Other specs expected for the phone include 6GB of RAM, an improved 12MP camera with dual-pixel phase detection autofocus, and a battery somewhere between 3,600mAh and 4,000mAh.
2. Samsung may launch a revamped Gear VR with the Galaxy Note 7
SamMobile reports that it’s looking more likely that Samsung will launch a revamped Gear VR virtual reality headset alongside the Galaxy Note 7. A Gear VR variant with the model number SM-R323 was recently spotted in import database Zauba, and SamMobile reports that SM-R320 was the model number of the first Innovator Edition for the Galaxy Note 4, SM-R321 was the code for the Innovator Edition for the Galaxy S6, and SM-R322 is the model number of the Consumer Edition that’s currently on the market.
It’s been rumored that Samsung will introduce a new version of the Gear VR headset that would be compatible with the Galaxy Note 7’s rumored USB Type-C port. A Galaxy Note 7 with a USB Type-C port wouldn’t be compatible with the current version of the virtual reality headset, so a launch timed to coincide with the introduction of the new Note is looking likely. Both devices are expected to be introduced at an event in New York on August 2.
3. A Samsung Pay Mini app seems to be on its way
SamMobile reports that a trademark application filed in Europe seems to confirm that Samsung will soon launch Samsung Pay Mini, an app that would make Samsung Pay available to non-Galaxy Android users, or even iPhone users. The trademark application cites, “Mobile payment application (software) for smart phones” and “Mobile and internet payment services” as the product for which “Samsung Pay Mini” is being trademarked.
The news follows previous reports that a Samsung Pay Mini app would be an app that offers access to Samsung Pay to users of non-Galaxy phones that don’t have support for Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST) technology. That should include phones from other Android manufacturers, and perhaps iPhones, too. However, SamMobile notes that MST is “what makes Samsung Pay stand out from the crowd,” since it enables the platform to work with existing credit card terminals. That means that users can pay with their smartphone almost everywhere that they can already pay with a debit or credit card.
That’s a level of flexibility that no other payments service offers yet. So on smartphones without MST support, Samsung Pay Mini will be “basically just another payment app,” as SamMobile puts it. The app may appear on August 2, at the Unpacked Event where the company will introduce the Galaxy Note 7, or its launch could be deferred until a later date.
4. One of Samsung’s future smartphones may have two screens
Patently Mobile reports that Samsung has patented the design for a hingeless, dual-display smartphone. The patent shows a device in which the two separate screens aren’t designed to create the appearance of a single, seamless display, but instead, seem to be aimed at enabling multitasking and productivity tasks, likely with the addition of the S-Pen. One of the displays would also contain “input devices, sound devices, wireless charging pads, power devices, sensor devices, and antenna devices,” according to Patently Mobile, and Samsung could use the extra space to integrate an advanced array of sensors.
The device foregoes a hinge to reduce the device’s weight and thickness. Instead, the displays are joined by a built-in cover with a “connection unit” in the middle of the screens. SamMobile notes that the current patent builds on past work showcased in a previous patent, and also reports that another Samsung patent details foldable tablets and smartphones. As with any patent, it’s unclear if or when the company will produce consumer devices that integrate the technology illustrated. But it’s interesting, nonetheless, to see the new directions that Samsung is exploring for future smartphones.
5. A stretchable screen might enable a 3-in-1 watch, phone, and tablet
SamMobile reports that a recent patent application illustrates how Samsung might create a device that transforms from a watch into a phone and into a tablet. The filing shows a flexible display that would be folded into a smartwatch, and would then stretch into a phone and ultimately fold out into a tablet. The patent explicitly states that the screen required would be an OLED. But as SamMobile notes, the device described in the patent is “concept much more than an actual product.”