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 software and novel Gear devices.
1. It’s looking more likely that Samsung will introduce a bezel-less Galaxy S8
BGR reports that most of the design changes that Samsung is rumored to make with the Galaxy S8 sound pretty familiar. That’s because the features have already appeared either on this year’s iPhone 7 or are expected to make an appearance on next year’s iPhone 8. However, Chris Smith notes that Xiaomi already beat both Samsung and Apple to market with a phone whose front side “is almost entirely dedicated to the display.” But Samsung may be the first of the three companies to ship a device with such a screen in large quantities. It’s looking like that’s going to be the most exciting feature of next year’s Galaxy S8.
Though a Samsung Display researcher didn’t explicitly say that the Galaxy S8 will feature a button-less, all-screen design, he did say that significant resources are going toward this development. Samsung Display principal engineer Park Wong-sang told reporters at the iMiD 2016 display exhibition in Seoul, “Samsung Display would roll out a full-screen display whose display area ratio (a scale that measures space taken up by a display on the front part of a handset) reaches more than 90 percent next year.”
Park said that Samsung wants that proportion to reach 99% in the next few years. He even demoed an edge-to-edge full-screen Galaxy S7 edge prototype with a bezel-less display. Such a device would feature a fingerprint sensor that’s incorporated into the screen, rather than placed beneath it. BGR reports that other sensors that are usually found on the front of the phone would also be incorporated into the display.
2. Samsung has dropped some hints about Galaxy S8 features, including more advanced AI
Jonathan Cheng and Eun-Young Jeong report for The Wall Street Journal that in an attempt to turn attention away from the fallout of the Note 7 debacle, Samsung has shared a few details about next year’s Galaxy S8. Samsung mobile communications vice president Lee Kyeong-tae said that the next device in the Galaxy S series will feature a slick design and an improved camera, as well as an enhanced artificial intelligence.
The Journal notes that Samsung recently required the U.S.-based startup Viv Labs, whose cofounders created Siri, the digital assistant now widely used on Apple’s iPhone. Lee reportedly declined to comment on whether Samsung was planning to include Viv technology in the Galaxy S8, though it seems likely that that technology will form the basis of the more advanced artificial intelligence that the company says will be featured on the Galaxy S8.
3. Samsung could introduce an intelligent assistant called Bixby
Based on rumors that the Galaxy S8 is going to feature artificial intelligence powered by Viv technology, SamMobile posits that Samsung may be planning to name its new intelligent assistant “Bixby.” The publication notes that the company has filed for a trademark in South Korea and seeks protection of the word “Bixby” for “computer software for personal information management,” “computer application software for smartphones, mobile telephones, portable computers and tablet computers, Namely, software used to operate voice recognition system,” and “computer software for enabling hands-free use of a mobile phone through voice recognition.”
The publication admits that it’s just speculation, at least so far, that the Galaxy S8’s intelligent assistant could be called Bixby. But the timing does make it look like a possibility. Samsung’s trademark applications have tipped fans about new services before they’re launched. And it’s possible that we’ll see more hints of an intelligent assistant called Bixby before the Galaxy S8’s launch next February.
4. Samsung may introduce a compact projector
SamMobile reports that according to a recent patent application, Samsung is working on a compact projector. The device appears to resemble the Gear 360, and it may indicate a new direction in which Samsung plans to expand the Gear lineup. The filing shows a small projector that could be used both on surfaces like a table or a wall, and on more novel surfaces like the windshield of a car.
The document also explains that it would be possible to use multiple devices in order to project one larger image. The devices would be controlled by a single smartphone or tablet, or multiple linked devices could be managed by multiple phones. The projector could even be equipped with a small camera and an infrared sensor to detect hand or pen movement in order to turn the projection into a gesture-based interface.
5. Samsung seems to be close to launching a flagship flip phone
While you probably haven’t had a flip phone since the early 2000s, they’re still pretty popular in other parts of the world. SamMobile reports that Samsung is close to launching its long-rumored flagship flip phone, codenamed Veyron. The phone recently received its FCC certification and could be introduced to the Chinese market “any day now.” It looks like the device will be offered in gold and rose gold finishes.
The phone is also expected to feature a second screen that will activate when you close the phone. It seems that Samsung will make the most of this secondary display with Always On functionality. As SamMobile notes, the appeal of the phone goes beyond Samsung’s desire “to take the old-school and make it cool again.” The device, despite its flip phone form factor, will feature high-end smartphone specs including a Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 5MP front camera, a 12MP rear camera, and USB Type-C charging — the same specs that have become standard on 2016’s flagship phones.