5 Samsung Rumors: Is Tizen Replacing Android?

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 the possibility of bendable phones to the prospect of the company replacing Android with its own Tizen operating system.

1. A Samsung executive says that the company’s bendable phones are “right around the corner”

Ina Fried reports for Re/code that just a day after Lenovo unveiled a prototype of a flexible phone that you bend around your wrist, a Samsung executive said that bendable phones are not only possible, but “relatively right around the corner” for Samsung. The comments made by Gregory Lee, the president and chief executive of Samsung Electronics North America, followed a recent Bloomberg report that Samsung will introduce two phones with bendable displays in 2017.

Lee said that Samsung has had prototypes of bendable displays for around 10 years, but noted that devices built around them have been “very difficult to manufacture at a reasonable cost.” In addition to making comments that indicate that a bendable, foldable, or wraparound Samsung device may appear in the near future, Lee also offered up some of his own opinions on more general tech topics. For instance, he thinks that 5G networks will take off sooner than most people think and that mobile carriers will remain an important part of the phone distribution chain.

2. Samsung is reportedly considering moving all of its devices to Tizen

The new Samsung Z910F Smartphone (R) and the SM-R380 Smartwatch (L) are seen on display at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco, California on June 3, 2014. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Hall reports for 9to5Google that according to a new Korean report, Samsung is considering moving all of its product lines to its own Tizen operating system. The report by the Korean Times follows a related report that Samsung is planning to move away from Android Wear for its future smartwatches. The current report alleges that Samsung is considering reducing its heavy reliance on Google’s Android platform, and an unnamed Samsung executive told the publication, “If you don’t have your own ecosystem, then you will have no future.”

Samsung’s Z-series smartphones, which run Tizen, have been popular in India. But the company will need to establish a more robust ecosystem before Tizen would thrive on phones in the United States and in other markets. The executive said that while the company is late in putting serious effort into building out its own operating system, “Samsung is getting much better” and “more incentives and support will be provided to Tizen developers.”

Switching from Android to Tizen would give Samsung top-to-bottom control over its smartphones. But as Hall notes, there would be downsides for both Samsung and Google if Samsung makes the switch. Google would be losing its biggest OEM, but Samsung would likely have “many growing pains as it tries to convince developers that building apps for a third major platform is worth it.”

3. An iris scanner is practically “confirmed” for the Galaxy Note 7

A Samsung India employee (C) looks at herself in the camera of the newly launch new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone at the display area of a product launch ceremony in New Delhi on September 7, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA (Photo credit should read MONEY SHARMA/AFP/Getty Images)

Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

GSM Arena reports that it’s looking increasingly likely that Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy Note 7 is going to be equipped with an iris scanner. For readers who haven’t been keeping up with the latest scuttlebutt about Samsung’s naming schemes, it’s expected that the company will name the successor to last year’s Galaxy Note 5 the Galaxy Note 7, skipping “6” in order to unify the naming for its flagship devices, and position them to compete favorably with Apple’s iPhone.

It’s been speculated that Samsung will add an iris scanner to this year’s Note, and GSM Arena reports that Korean manufacturer Patron has won a bid to supply those iris scanners. Patron reportedly won the bid months ago, and will be the sole supplier of these biometric modules. The publication also reports that the device is going to be unveiled on August 2, according to leaked marketing for an upcoming “Unpacked” event. The date is consistent with the timelines identified by some previous reports. Interestingly enough, the leaker states that there will be an edge model of the Note 7. It’s been a topic of speculation whether there will be a single dual-edged Note 7, or whether Samsung will introduce both a curved and a flat version.

4. Samsung will reportedly introduce an improved Game Launcher

David Ramos/Getty Images

David Ramos/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that Samsung is planning to introduce an improved Game Launcher that integrates new features for mobile gamers. Samsung really began focusing on mobile gaming in earnest with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, which support the Vulkan API for 3D graphics. It was also on those devices that Samsung introduced the Game Launcher and Game Tools, and it’s reportedly planning to unveil an improved Game Launcher that introduces Game Scene, a full-screen section where all installed games will be listed in tiles, along with a separate area for game notifications.

A dedicated area in the Game Launcher will reportedly showcase trending games, and users will be able to mark any game as a favorite, or pin others to their current locations in the list. They’ll also be able to choose how to sort the list of games, or opt to arrange them manually. Additionally, users will be able to subscribe to YouTube channels offering video walkthroughs, and apps, links, and images can also be listed in Game Scene. Additionally, the Game Tools button that appears inside games will show the phone battery percentage, free storage, and RAM consumed. Recording gameplay and sharing on social networks will also be easier after the update.

5. The Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge may feature Samsung’s 4K Bio Blue screens

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 13: A festival goer takes a photo on a Samsung Note5 of singer Sia performing onstage at Samsung Galaxy Life Fest at SXSW 2016 on March 13, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Samsung)

Rick Kern/Getty Images

Chinese publication Yibada reports that next year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Edge may be equipped with Samsung’s new 4K UHD screen with Bio Blue technology. Samsung recently introduced the new screens, which are more vivid and more power-efficient than the company’s current super AMOLED screens. Samsung’s new Bio Blue technology, if used on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Edge, would reportedly reduce the blue light levels “down to six percent compared to the currently lowest point of 32 percent,” according to Yibada.

Mass production of the 4K UHD Bio Blue screen is expected to begin in the coming months for the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Edge, where the technology could enable an even better VR experience. The Samsung Gear VR headset would be able to take advantage of the phones’ better screens. Yibada notes “there is still a possibility” that the new technology could appear on the Galaxy Note 7, or on the Galaxy X that’s expected to be released in 2017.

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