6 Samsung Rumors: Galaxy S8 Camera Copying iPhone 7 Plus?

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 an iPhone 7 Plus-like camera and a Siri-esque AI assistant.

1. Samsung may have a competitor to Siri and Google Assistant

Samsung smartphone on an Apple iPhone

Love Siri? Samsung may be planning to offer something similar | Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch that Samsung has acquired Viv, an AI assistant built by the team behind Apple’s Siri. Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer, and Chris Brigham created and sold Siri to Apple in 2010. They left Apple in the years after the acquisition, and created Viv in 2012. Viv is referred to as a more powerful, extensible version of Siri, and will continue to operate as an independent company that provides services to Samsung and its platforms. Viv differentiates itself from assistants like Siri with its interconnected nature and the programmatic nature of its backend, which enables its artificial intelligence to write its own code to accomplish new tasks.

Panzarino reports that Samsung “has been looking at a larger struggle as it wrestles with how to take control of its own software destiny.” He notes that acquiring Viv gives Samsung “an honest-to-god competitor to Siri and Google’s Assistant. With the caveat, of course, that Viv has not yet launched — making it impossible to tell how it will hold up in real-world usage just yet.” Viv could appear not only on future Samsung smartphones, but also on a competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home. As TechCrunch reports:

Samsung’s purchase of Viv, then, might be less about creating a voice-powered assistant to rival Apple or Google’s offerings and more about a voice-powered interface that remains the same across all of its devices, from phones to home hubs to doorknobs to refrigerators. That would catapult it directly into the very, very small group of companies that are vying to use AI as a way to acquire and retain customers.

2. The Galaxy S8 may not launch early, since Samsung is focusing on Galaxy S7 production

David Ramos/Getty Images

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 may take longer to launch than originally thought | David Ramos/Getty Images

Chris Smith reports for BGR that Samsung may not launch the Galaxy S8 early, as had previously been rumored, since the company is planning on increasing Galaxy S7 production. The company has a significant amount of work to do in the wake of the Galaxy Note 7 disaster and reportedly plans to increase production of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge to make up for losses from the Note 7 recall and cancellation. In order to minimize the drop in profits, Samsung is notifying suppliers to begin ramping up production of the S7. The company is also reportedly focusing on the Galaxy S8, even if it doesn’t have plans to launch the device earlier than usual.

BGR also reports that there may not be a Galaxy Note 8 next year, as Samsung is reportedly considering the possibility of killing off the entire Galaxy Note brand. The Note 7 has done major damage to Samsung’s image, and consumers are likely to associate exploding phones with the brand’s name for quite some time. The publication speculates that a phone such as “Galaxy S8 Plus,” if equipped with S Pen support, could always replace the Galaxy Note series if need be.

3. Samsung could equip the Galaxy S8 with a dual camera

Man taking a picture of smartphones

A dual camera might be in the works for Samsung’s Galaxy S8 | David Ramos/Getty Images

Chris Smith reports for BGR that even if Samsung doesn’t decide to launch the Galaxy S8, other rumors bring good news about the device. The reports that indicate that Samsung may be proceeding with the usual timeline for the launch of the next Galaxy S device also indicate that the Galaxy S8 could get some features that are also rumored for the iPhone 8 or have already appeared on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Rumor has it that the Galaxy S8 could ditch the home button, like the iPhone 8 is rumored to do as well. Reports also indicate that the phone could feature a dual-camera system much like the one on the iPhone 7 Plus. According to South Korean trademark documents, Samsung wants to trademark “LightUp Camera” and “Light+ Camera.” Both names related to a camera sensor “for use in enhancing the brightness and clearness [of] digital images and photographs taken in low-light environments.” The phone is also expected to feature new chips, both built on 10nm process technology: a next-generation Exynos processor and Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 830.

SamMobile reports that Samsung could create two different variants of the Galaxy S8. One is rumored to feature a 2K 5.1-inch curved Super AMOLED display, while the other would be equipped with a 5.5-inch 4K display. The dual-camera system is said to be exclusive to the larger variant of the Galaxy S8 (as Apple’s dual-camera system is exclusive to the larger iPhone 7 Plus). The same rumor cited by SamMobile also maintains that the Viv assistant will replace S Voice in the Galaxy S8.

 4. Samsung may have a new metal smartphone on the way

People gather at a Samsung convention

Samsung may be planning on bringing in a metal smartphone | Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that Samsung took to Weibo to tease a new metal smartphone. Though the company didn’t offer many details on which smartphone this is, the text accompanying the picture says, “The next big thing is coming.” It’s unclear so far what that “big thing” is, but SamMobile posits that it’s the rumored Galaxy C9, which passed through the FCC with the model number SM-C9000.

Recent benchmark tests have revealed that the device will be equipped with a 6-inch full HD display, a Snapdragon 625 chipset, 6GB of RAM, a 16MP rear-facing camera, a 16MP front-facing camera, and a 4,000mAh battery. The Galaxy C9 is expected to launch in China by the end of October. And unlike many of the phones that Samsung launches around the world, it’s also believed to be coming to the United States (reportedly by mid-November). There’s no information yet on a European release, but SamMobile notes that it isn’t ruling out that possibility quite yet.

 5. Three separate theories might explain why the Galaxy Note 7 explodes

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 Galaxy Note 7 explosions caused a serious problem for Samsung | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Chris Smith reports for BGR that three different theories might explain why the Galaxy Note 7 explodes, and why Samsung has had to discontinue the phone permanently. Options on the table? There may be new manufacturing issues at play, likely causing a flaw that’s different from the one that caused the original recall. Alternately, the fast-charging feature of the battery may be to blame, since tweaks would have been made to the processor to speed up charging. Finally, it’s also been speculated that the design of the device may be to blame, since the curvature of the phone could exert extra pressure on battery packs and cause the short circuits that led to fires.

Yoni Heisler reports for the publication that Samsung engineers are still unsure of the exact cause of the issue. The company’s engineers are unable to replicate the problem, so Samsung doesn’t yet know the root cause of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 devices. When the first wave of explosions began to happen, Samsung tasked hundreds of engineers with figuring out what went wrong. They couldn’t replicate the issue and assumed that the problem was with one of the battery suppliers. That theory was proven false when new reports of exploding Galaxy Note 7 replacement units began to emerge.

 6. More efficient wearable devices may be in the works at Samsung

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - JULY 30: A brand ambassador wears a Samsung Gear S2 smart watch while showing a consumer the Samsung Galaxy S7 smart phone inside The Samsung Experience at the PGA Championship 2016 at Baltusrol Golf Club on July 30, 2016 in Springfield, New Jersey.

Samsung may have a wearable device processor in the works | Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that Samsung is now mass-producing the first 14nm wearable device processor. The company announced that it had begun mass production of the Exynos 7 Dual 7270, which is the industry’s first processor designed for wearable devices that’s built on the 14-nanometer FinFET process technology. It’s also the first wearable processor in its class to feature full connectivity and LTE modem integration.

The chip brings power savings and connectivity that Samsung hopes will “greatly accelerate wider adoption of wearable devices by overcoming limitations in current solutions such as energy usage and design flexibility.” It’s powered by two Cortex-A53 cores and makes full use of the 14nm process. It reportedly offers a 20% improvement in power efficiency as compared to its 28nm predecessor, which results in significant extension of battery life. The application processor, DRAM and NAND flash memory chips, and the power management iC are all enclosed in the same package, and SamMobile reports that we should expect to see devices powered by the new processor early next year.