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. The Galaxy S8 may be the first smartphone to feature an optical fingerprint sensor
SamMobile reports that Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 may be the first smartphone in the world to feature an optical fingerprint sensor. According to unnamed sources in China, the optical fingerprint recognition technology will eliminate the need to place a fingerprint scanner beneath the home button. That information dovetails with rumors that Samsung plans to integrate the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint scanner into the display itself.
An optical fingerprint scanner works by placing the finger on a glass plate, on the smartphone’s case, or on the glass display. SamMobile reports that the Galaxy S8 is going to be the first smartphone to feature optical fingerprint recognition, which is more accurate and faster than ultrasonic fingerprint recognition. According to the publication’s sources, the yield of optical fingerprint recognition components for the Galaxy S8 isn’t high. To combat this, they state that “since the handset is more than three months away, there’s ample time for yield issues to be addressed before the Galaxy S8 is released.”
2. Samsung may jettison the home button from the Galaxy S8
Chris Smith reports for BGR that Samsung may drop the home button from next year’s Galaxy S8. According to a Weibo user who posted a spreadsheet about the device’s specifications, the Galaxy S8 edge will feature a 5.5-inch 4K Super AMOLED display. The display would feature a 3840×2160 resolution and 506ppi pixel density. Smith notes that the screen “will supposedly account for 80% of the front side of the handset, which seems to imply that Samsung is going to ditch the home button next year.”
The device is also expected to feature either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 processor or an Exynos 8895 chip. (Which means that in either case, the device will be powered by a 10nm chipset.) The Weibo user also reports that the device will feature either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. However, some things about the device are still unclear. Edoardo Maggio reports for 9to5Google that it’s so far unclear whether Samsung will introduce two phones, like 2016’s pair, or whether it will “go the Note route” and introduce a single, possibly dual-edge device.
3. More details about the Samsung Chromebook Pro have been confirmed
Ben Schoon reports for 9to5Google that more details have been confirmed about Samsung’s upcoming Chromebook Pro. The soon-to-be-announced device was leaked by Samsung and by multiple retailers, but the product pages were quickly taken down. Those pages provided a good look at many details of the device, but some information was lost when the listings were taken down.
Schoon reports that some of those lost details have been confirmed. The Chromebook Pro is expected to be 12.9mm thick, and the device is confirmed to weigh 2.38 pounds. (Schoon notes that, by comparison, the Pixel C with its keyboard measures 12.5mm thick and weighs just over 2 pounds. Apple’s 12-inch MacBook also weighs just over 2 pounds, and has a maximum thickness of 13.2mm.) The display resolution is confirmed to be 2400×1600, and the QHD panel will feature a maximum brightness of 400 nits.
As had been previously reported, the Chromebook Pro is expected to come with an S-Pen that will be called “PEN.” Samsung will preload the ArtCanvas app on the device to take advantage of the new hardware. The keyboard is confirmed to feature curved keycaps, and the device should offer battery life around 10 hours. Also mentioned is an exclusive “Samsung battery life extender,” which will lengthen the life of the battery over time.
4. Future Samsung phones might get a fingerprint scanner with swipe functionality
SamMobile reports that Samsung has patented a fingerprint scanner with swipe functionality. The patent application, filed in South Korea, would make the fingerprint sensor more useful than it currently is by enabling users to take advantage of specific functionality by swiping a certain way. SamMobile notes that phones like Google’s Pixel have implemented a similar feature. On the Pixel, users can view their notifications by swiping down on the fingerprint scanner on the phone’s back.
The patent includes some examples of how the feature might be used. One example demonstrates how users would be able to jump straight into a specific app by placing their finger on the sensor to unlock the phone, and then swiping to automatically launch the app. As SamMobile reports, “the possibilities are endless.” Of course, it’s unclear whether or when Samsung will implement the technology on an upcoming smartphone. It may not appear on the Galaxy S8, for instance, because the device is expected to be the first smartphone to feature optical fingerprint recognition technology, which could be integrated into the display.
5. Samsung may not discontinue the Note lineup after all
Andrew Myrick reports for Phandroid that it’s looking like Samsung may not discontinue the Note lineup after all. While numerous rumors and reports have suggested that Samsung would discontinue the Galaxy Note lineup of devices, Samsung itself inadvertently confirmed that it’s still planning to introduce a Galaxy Note 8.
In announcing its new upgrade program for Galaxy Note 7 owners, the company explained that the program will allow customers to upgrade from their Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge to either the Galaxy S8 or the Note 8. Customers will only need to pay half of the price of the current device before exchanging it for one of next year’s flagships.