5 Samsung Rumors: Is the Galaxy S8 for Serious VR?

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 future Chromebooks.

1. The Galaxy S8 could be tailor-made for virtual reality

Man testing Samsung Gear VR with a group

Man testing Samsung Gear VR with a group | Gabrielle Lurie/Getty Images

Edoardo Maggio reports for 9to5Google that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 “could be a VR powerhouse.” Rumor has it that next year’s Galaxy S8, which Samsung could launch early to make up for the fiasco surrounding the Galaxy Note 7, will take a big step forward in terms of raw performance, especially when it comes to its graphics capabilities. Samsung is reportedly planning to equip the Galaxy S8 with ARM’s new Mali-G71 GPU, which is almost twice (1.8x) as powerful as the Mali-T880 used in the Galaxy S8. According to GFXBench results, it’s also faster than the GPU inside Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830.

The G71 is built on ARM’s new Bifrost architecture, which is designed for 4K virtual reality experiences. SamMobile reports, “Running at 850MHz, the 16nm GPU can provide a throughput of 27.2Gpix/s, which is double than that of the Mali-T880 GPU running at the same frequency.” The increased GPU power could be accompanied by the Exynos 8895 SoC, plus a 4K display. Together, those components would make for a high-end mobile VR experience.

2. Future Samsung phones may get hydrophobic displays

Galaxy Note 7 is water resistant

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 | Samsung.com

Rob Triggs reports for Android Authority that future Samsung phones may feature hydrophobic displays. That news comes thanks to an announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that Samsung has acquired an exclusive license for its optically clear superhydrophobic film technology. The technology involves a transparent coating designed for a display. The coating helps the display to repel water, and prevents dust and dirt from sticking to the screen.

A superhydrophobic surface has a water droplet contact angle of 150 degrees or more, and ORNL’s coating has an angle between 155 and 165 degrees. According to Triggs, that “essentially means that water will actually bounce right off the display, taking dirt and dust with it. Which also means less fingerprints and smudges.” To use the coating on future smartphones, Samsung will need to integrate the process of creating the coating into its manufacturing line. In Triggs’s estimation, the technology is more likely to be implemented on the Galaxy S9 than on the Galaxy S8.

3. Samsung and Huawei may be collaborating on a Tizen-powered smartwatch

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 2: The Samsung logo is displayed on a screen prior to the start of a launch event for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, August 2, 2016 in New York City. The stylus equipped smartphone will be available starting August 19, with preorders starting August 3.

Samsung logo | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

According to Tizen Experts, the next Huawei smartwatch may run Tizen, not Android. The rumor, which originated in a report from a South Korean newspaper, indicates that Samsung is collaborating with Huawei to implement Tizen on the manufacturer’s next smartwatches. Huawei was one of the first members of the Tizen Association, and according to the newspaper, is “looking for an Operating System (OS) other than Google’s Android as the US firm had not been very collaborative.”

Huawei is reportedly looking for a way to make its next smartwatches more customizable, which Tizen could reportedly enable. Any Tizen-powered watches still need a large app ecosystem, something that’s more readily available on Android watches. But Tizen Experts reports that “having Huawei onboard would create more Tizen wearable devices in the market and would therefore make it a more attractive proposition for developers to create Tizen apps.”

4. Samsung’s flagship flip phone is sounding more and more impressive

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)

Samsung event | Rick Kern/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that specifications for Samsung’s upcoming flagship flip phone, codenamed “Veyron,” have surfaced on GFXBench. The benchmark results show that the device features a 5.5-inch HD Always On display, a 2.1GHz Snapdragon processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. The phone also features a 12MP rear-facing camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, and runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Past reports have indicated that the device features a fingerprint scanner on the back and also supports Fast Charging.

It’s unclear so far when or where the device will launch, or how much it will cost. SamMobile notes that Samsung typically releases flip phones in a limited number of markets. That may be the case for this device as well, but it does have the specifications “to take on some proper high-end devices.”

5. The Galaxy C9 could be Samsung’s first phone to feature 6GB of RAM and a 16MP front camera

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)

A Samsung India employee (C) looks at herself in the camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 | Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images

SamMobile reports that AnTuTu benchmark results reveal that the upcoming C9 could not only be Samsung’s first phone to feature 6GB of RAM, but could also be the manufacturer’s first to be equipped with a 16MP front-facing camera. While Samsung has placed an emphasis on its devices’ mobile photography capabilities, SamMobile notes that the company “hasn’t really been doing great when it comes to the front-facing camera.” Samsung’s various flagships “still use a 5-megapixel selfie camera, and the maximum we have seen is an 8-megapixel front camera on Samsung devices.”

The Chinese manufacturers with whom Samsung competes, on the other hand, have gone as high as 16MP in the selfie cameras for their phones. The C9 may help Samsung to level the playing field with those competitors by introducing a high-resolution selfie camera. Other specs expected on the device include a Snapdragon 652 chipset, 64GB of internal storage, a 6-inch full HD display, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It’s unclear so far whether the Galaxy C lineup will launch outside of China, and when the C9 will make its official debut.