6 Samsung Rumors: Was the Note 7’s Design Too Ambitious?

Each week, an array of exciting new Samsung rumors surfaces. Even if speculations 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 most recent trademarks and software updates.

1. An aggressively ambitious design may be to blame for the Galaxy Note 7 explosions

A customer inquires about returning a Samsung Note 7 mobile phone at a Samsung store

The design of the Galaxy Note 7 battery could be to blame | Ed Jones/Getty Images

Chris Mills reports for BGR that engineers at Instrumental report that they found many design problems with the battery of the Galaxy Note 7. After completing a teardown, the firm reported that the design of the phone can compress the battery, even during normal operation. Mills notes that essentially, the battery is too susceptible to pressure, and there isn’t enough tolerance around the battery in the phone. So regular use can compress the battery — a problem that Instrumental implies Samsung may have been aware of. The engineers explain:

The Note 7’s lithium-polymer battery is a flattened “jelly-roll” consisting of a positive layer made of lithium cobalt oxide, a negative layer made of graphite, and two electrolyte-soaked separator layers made of polymer. The separator layers allow ions (and energy) to flow between the positive and negative layers, without allowing those layers to touch. If the positive and negative layers ever do touch, the energy flowing goes directly into the electrolyte, heating it, which causes more energy to flow and more heat — it typically results in an explosion. Compressing the battery puts pressure on those critical polymer separator layers that keep the battery safe.

2. Samsung may drop the headphone jack and home button from the Galaxy S8

Man looking at wall of Samsung smartphones

The Galaxy S8 may follow in the iPhone’s footsteps with no headphone jack | John McDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Google that recent reports seem to confirm that Samsung is planning to drop the headphone jack and the home button from next year’s Galaxy S8. Samsung’s choice to jettison the headphone jack would follow Apple’s controversial decision to become one of the first major phone manufacturers to remove the legacy port from its flagship phone. Rumors dating back to September indicated that Samsung might drop the headphone jack. They also indicated that the company was developing its own proprietary report to replace the headphone jack.

Separate reports indicate that the Galaxy S8 could feature a USB Type-C port, like the Galaxy Note 7. Samsung is also reportedly considering removing the Home button from the Galaxy S8. That’s a move that other Android manufacturers, as well as Apple, are also thinking about making with their upcoming devices. According to current reports, the screen resolution of the Galaxy S8 will remain at 2560×1440. But if Samsung removes the home button, it’s expected to embed an optical fingerprint sensor into the display.

3. The Galaxy S8’s speaker could follow the iPhone 7’s lead

Samsung sign at a store

A new speaker system is in the Galaxy’s future | Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Mike Wehner reports for BGR that recent rumors suggest “the S8 will follow the iPhone 7’s lead in the speaker department.” The iPhone 7 was the first of Apple’s smartphones to feature stereo speakers. Samsung is reportedly planning to follow Apple’s lead and add stereo speakers to the Galaxy S8. The company is even expected to use special branding to draw more attention to the feature.

The rumor indicates that Samsung could draw on technology acquired with its $8 billion purchase of Harman to build the stereo speaker system. But that statement directly contradicts a statement made by Harman chief executive Dinesh Paliwal. Paliwal suggested that the time Samsung has to integrate Harman technology into the Galaxy S8 is too short, and Harman technology wouldn’t begin to appear on Samsung phones until 2018.

4. The Galaxy S7’s Android Nougat update may offer some clues about the Galaxy S8

Samsung smartphone being held to record a video

An update from the S7 may provide clues about the S8 | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Alex Dobie reports for Android Central that the Galaxy S7’s update to Android Nougat may offer some interesting clues about what we can expect from the Galaxy S8. Dobie explains, “Just as 2015’s GS6 Marshmallow beta foreshadowed the UI we would eventually see on the Galaxy S7 at launch, the GS7 Nougat beta gives us a few clues about what to expect from the Korean company’s 2017 flagship.”

Dobie writes that we can expect a new, lighter user interface for the Galaxy S8. Another feature that Samsung might introduce is resolution scaling, if rumors of a 4K Galaxy S8 prove true. More intelligence — not only in a new virtual assistant, but also across the device — could also be on the table. As could better user control over the device’s performance and battery, and search functionality that’s accessible everywhere.

5. A recent Samsung trademark may confirm autofocus for the Galaxy S8’s front camera

People gathered at a Samsung conference

Those who use the Galaxy’s front-facing camera may be in for a surprise | Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that rumors of an autofocus feature for the Galaxy S8’s front-facing camera seem more plausible thanks to a recent trademark filed by Samsung. A filing with the European Union Intellectual Property Office reveals that Samsung has trademarked the term “Smart AF.” The document explains that the technology would relate to “mobile phones; smartphones; tablet computers; auto-focus photographic cameras for mobile phones, smartphones.”

The publication notes that reports have indicated that the Galaxy S8’s front camera has been rumored to feature autofocus. “If that really is the case, it’s going to further set the new flagship apart from the competition. Samsung might very well end up calling this feature Smart AF.”

6. Samsung’s 2017 Galaxy A-series phones reportedly have IP68 certification, USB Type-C, and 16MP cameras

The Samsung logo is displayed on a screen

Samsung’s Galaxy A series could be a hit among Android users | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that though Samsung hasn’t made anything official yet, the company seems to have introduced its 2017 Galaxy A phones at a small event in Iran. The Galaxy A devices — a lineup comprised of the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and Galaxy A7 — are reportedly IP68 certified. They also features USB Type-C ports, and they feature large batteries. The Galaxy A3 features a 3,000mAh battery, 700mAh more than the battery found in the 2016 model. The Galaxy A5 and the Galaxy A7 won’t match the two-day battery life of the 4.7-inch A3, but do feature impressive 3,300mAh and 3,500mAh batteries.

Samsung also seems to have switched to a rounder design for the devices. They don’t feature Edge screens, despite a recent report that the phones could feature curved displays. The front and rear cameras both feature 16MP sensors. Samsung is expected to launch the devices in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. However, SamMobile notes that there’s no word yet as to when the devices will be announced globally, or when they will go on sale.