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 plans for future TVs and automotive technology.
1. The Galaxy S8 could get a pressure-sensitive display
Yoni Heisler reports for BGR that one of the most recent reports on Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S8 indicates that the device could “add one of Apple’s core iPhone 7 features”: a pressure-sensitive display. According to an anonymous supplier who spoke to the Korea Herald, Samsung is considering a feature that mimics what Apple first introduced with 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s.
Samsung is reportedly thinking about adding the feature to the Galaxy S8, as well as to future devices. Heisler notes that word of Samsung’s interest in the technology shouldn’t come as a surprise, “given that competitors in the smartphone market routinely copy and modify features from rival handset manufacturers.” He also points out that it’s unclear whether a pressure-sensitive screen would be a major selling point for the S8. 3D Touch was heralded as a major UI advance but has not yet become as widely used as many anticipated.
2. Samsung may offer a larger Galaxy S8 to appeal to Note fans
Chris Smith reports for BGR that several reports have indicated that Samsung plans to offer the Galaxy S8 in two different sizes. Both models would feature full-screen designs, with curved displays that measure 5.7 and 6.2 inches. One report claims that Samsung plans to offer the device in two distinct sizes to appeal to some of the customers who wanted to buy a Galaxy Note 7.
Samsung reportedly plans to adopt larger screens for both sizes of the Galaxy S8 — increasing the size of the display without increasing the size of the device by reducing the top and bottom bezels — in order to attract customers who prefer a larger screen. The bigger model of the device may be called a “Plus” version.
3. Samsung is working on a foldable smartphone, but is reportedly unsure if anyone will buy it
Chris Smith reports for BGR that Samsung is working on a foldable smartphone, a device codenamed “Project Valley” that’s expected to launch next year. But according to a source who spoke to the Korea Herald, Samsung is “not sure whether there is market demand for the costly, foldable devices.” The source added that “If (the market condition is) confirmed, foldable tablets — instead of smartphones — are likely to be unveiled with panels facing outward.”
The device would have less of a technical burden than inward panels. Other issues that might affect production relate to other components. Components like glass sheets and batteries may not fold as easily as displays. Many of the components needed for foldable devices are already available from suppliers, though yield problems may impact production and price. And Samsung is reportedly being cautious about unveiling new hardware following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle.
4. The Galaxy Note 8 may be coming, after all
Chris Smith reports for BGR that while some reports have indicated that Samsung will abandon the entire Galaxy Note brand, a new leak suggests that Samsung has already planned a Galaxy Note 8. Evan Blass a notable leaker, tweeted that Samsung is making two Galaxy S8 models and a Galaxy Note 8 next year. “Samsung Galaxy S8 models are indeed skipping SM-G94* model numbers, will ship as SM-G950 & SM-G955,” Blass said. “Know what else is in the works? SM-N950.”
Smith notes that the number 4 is believed to bring bad luck in Korea, “which is why Samsung skips it in numbering schemes. So, in other words, the SM-N950 would be the successor to the SM-N930*, which is the codename of the Galaxy Note 7.” Samsung could still decide to cancel the Galaxy Note 8, of course. But for the moment, it’s looking like Samsung is planning to introduce a new Note next year.
5. Samsung may introduce an iMessage-like app
Jon Russell reports for TechCrunch that news that Samsung is acquiring messaging company NewNet Communication Technologies may mean that Samsung is working on its own “iMessage-type service.” The acquisition could enable Samsung to introduce its own messaging service to compete with iMessage (as well as messaging apps from Google and companies like WhatsApp).
Canada-based NewNet specializes in rich communications services (RCS) infrastructure and services. The technology enables things like high-quality voice calls, group calls, video calls, and file sharing. It also enables these features to be used by users with different sorts of devices and different mobile operators in the same way that iMessage users can send each other messages across the service.
6. Samsung may introduce a competitor to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Jon Russell reports for TechCrunch that Samsung seems to be “increasing its focus on the connected car.” The company announced plans to buy auto and audio product maker Harman. The $8 billion acquisition is Samsung’s largest yet, and Russell notes that it’s “a big deal for [Samsung’s] automotive ambitions.” About 65% of Harman’s sales over the last year were for car-related products. Harman products — including connected car devices and audio systems — are installed in an estimated 30 million vehicles.
TechCrunch points out that Samsung lags behind Google and Apple when it comes to in-car entertainment and software systems. (Google has Android Auto and Apple has CarPlay.) The Harman acquisition may give Samsung “the kind of reach that could allow it to compete more evenly with its rivals inside the car.”
7. A holographic TV may make its way to Samsung’s TV lineup
SamMobile reports that according to a recently filed patent application, Samsung may be planning to introduce a holographic TV. The publication notes that “Samsung goes to great lengths in the patent to describe some of the issues with the conventional 3D TVs, explaining that most of them use a method called binocular parallax which makes it difficult to increase the number of viewpoints.” That traditional technology “also makes the user feel more tired as there is a difference between the depth perceived by the brain and focus of the eyes.”
But holographic display methods “provide full parallax by making the depth perceived by the brain consistent with the focus of the eyes.” The filing explains the components that would be needed to power a holographic TV. The device would include an eye-tracking units that tracks the viewer’s pupils. SamMobile explains that the TV would provide a “glasses-free 3D experience” by using holographic technology “to make the images pop and provide an immersive viewing experience.”