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 what’s going on with its upcoming smartphones to the company’s plans for future wearable technology.
1. The Galaxy S8 could run both Windows and Android
Chris Smith reports for BGR that Samsung could install both Windows and Android on the Galaxy S8 or one of its successors. For years, Samsung has been working on its own operating system, called Tizen. But so far, Tizen hasn’t grown into a real Android alternative. But a recent patent application reveals that Samsung is considering another way to replace Android on its flagship smartphones.
If Samsung follows through with the ideas detailed in the patent, the company will install both Windows and Android on a flagship device like the Galaxy S8 (or one of its successors, as Smith points out). Users would be able to boot into either operating system on demand. As Smith explains, installing both Windows and Android would give users “the best of both worlds, assuming Google and Microsoft let Samsung pull off such a move.” The patent application features images illustrating what appears to be a Galaxy S device running Windows and Android, and Smith notes that the device could either be a Galaxy Note or a tablet. The images show that users would be able to “seamlessly” move between operating systems on such a device.
2. Samsung may introduce its own proprietary headphone port
Digital Music News reports that following Apple’s decision to jettison the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7, Samsung may be planning to introduce its own proprietary headphone jack. According to the publication’s sources, Samsung is not only “actively and aggressively” exploring the possibility of introducing a headphone jack that would be incompatible with Apple products, but is also considering blocking Apple from licensing the technology. The publication reports that “The resulting ‘jack warfare’ would severely impact the future of headphones and earphones, with the standard 3.5mm jack potentially pushed out by a collection of competing, often-incompatible jacks and ports.”
While the Android community seems to be rallying around USB-C, Samsung reportedly wants to introduce a different, proprietary headphone jack would that would be designed “with all Android manufacturers in mind.” It would offer free or low-cost licensing to encourage its wide adoption among smartphone makers and accessory manufacturers. The idea is reportedly to force third-party headphone manufacturers to choose between prioritizing the jack used by Samsung and other Android manufacturers or building for Apple’s iPhone first.
To make up for the necessity of adapters and the inconvenience to users, Samsung engineers are reportedly pushing for a boost in sound quality. But according to Digital Music News, “few really believe that a fidelity boost will be realized (or noticeable). More importantly, consumers may view the shift cynically, as a ploy to boost sales while doing little for the overall ease and enjoyment of audio.”
3. The Galaxy S8 may only get a curved screen
Yoni Heisler reports for BGR that according to the latest rumor about Samsung’s plans for next year’s flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 may only be offered in curved-screen models. A report from the Korea Herald pointed out that Samsung “is promoting the curvy screen as its premium smartphone lineup’s key identity.” The report also indicated that “the company has already started securing display panels in two sizes — 5.1 inch and 5.5 inch — from its own display-making unit Samsung Display, the world’s sole producer of double-edged screens.” The recently-released Note 7 isn’t available in a traditional flat-screen model, so it’s looking more likely that the Galaxy S8 lineup will only feature curved displays.
SamMobile reports that Samsung may introduce the Galaxy S8 sooner than expected. Thanks to the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung will need to make up for lost time in marketing the device to consumers. But according to SamMobile, some “analysts believe that launching a new flagship smartphone is going to be a more realistic solution to deal with this recall debacle. An early launch of the Galaxy S8 could help Samsung reduce sales impact from the recall.” Samsung may decide to accelerate the launch of its next flagship phone to get consumers excited about upgrading. However, considering that Samsung traditionally launches new Galaxy S flagships at Mobile World Congress in February, it’s unclear exactly when an “early” launch would take place.
4. The Galaxy Note 7 recall could lead to some good deals on refurbished phones
Chris Smith reports for BGR that perhaps the only good thing about Samsung’s recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units — due to a manufacturing flaw with the phones’ batteries — is that the company could offer those units as refurbished devices. Smith explains that Samsung is unlikely to want to write off the recalled units, and may opt to replace the batteries in the recalled units and then sell them as refurbished devices. The company has wanted to sell used phones in the United States, and beginning to do so with the Galaxy Note 7 could help it to recoup some of its losses.
Smith reports that of the 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units that have been recalled, somewhere between 1.4 million and 1.5 million have shipped to consumers. Those units would likely command the lowest price as refurbished units. But that also leaves up to 1.1 million units that have never been opened, and need battery replacements. Those devices, while technically refurbished, would likely command a slightly higher price point as refurbished devices. But in either case, purchasing a refurbished unit would cost less than buying a new, full-priced Galaxy Note 7.
5. Deals on Samsung appliances may be hard to find on Black Friday
Bloomberg reports that $38 million of Samsung goods are on board two cargo vessels operated by Hanjin Shipping, South Korea’s biggest container shipping line, which applied for bankruptcy protection. Samsung said in a court filing that without an order protecting the shipping line against creditors, the vessels will be unable to dock. That would cause Samsung’s losses to “continue to escalate so long as the cargo aboard these ships remains unloaded.” The collapse of Hanjin Shipping has led to concern that the vessels won’t be able to pay docking fees and holding charges, or that their cargo could be seized by creditors. So many ports have turned them away, and as many as 85 Hanjin ships are stranded around 50 ports in 26 countries.
6. Samsung may introduce a smart ring
SamMobile reports that, according to a recent patent application, Samsung may be planning to add a smart ring to its lineup of wearable devices. The patent application shows a ring with a volume rocker, a button for answering a call, and “some kind of card slot.” The ring also features sensors for monitoring the wearer’s heart rate, and potentially for tracking other biometric information. SamMobile points out that the ring could potentially integrate with Samsung’s Gear VR system, to which it could add hand-tracking capabilities. However, the patent application only addresses the design of the device, not its functionality, so it’s difficult to determine exactly what uses the company envisions for the device.