Several new camera improvements for Samsung's flagship Galaxy S6 smartphones are rumored to be included in the eventual Android 5.1.1 operating system update when it comes out later this year for Android devices.
The updates, which could add support for the full Google camera API on Android Lollipop, could bring features like shooting in RAW and the option to control the shutter speed, according to a May 5 report by SamMobile. Neither feature is now included on the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, but are already included in competing smartphones such as the HTC One M9 and LG G4, the report stated.
The included cameras in the Galaxy S6 smartphones are already excellent, providing clear, bright images that are a major step up from the cameras in earlier Galaxy S5 and S4 phones.
The improved camera software was not included in an Android 5.1.1 update that T-Mobile recently released, the story reported. The improvements slated for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are also likely to appear in Samsung's replacement for its Galaxy Note 4 phablet, which is expected to hit the market later in 2015.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge went on sale in 20 countries, including in the United States, starting on April 10 to take on Apple's ultra-successful iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets, which debuted in September 2014.
The improvements in the new S6 smartphones over the previous Galaxy S5 model are many and range from a chassis made of aircraft-grade aluminum to a higher-resolution 5.1-inch, quad HD Super AMOLED (Super active-matrix organic LED) display, Samsung's latest eight-core 64-bit Exynos 7 processors, and new LPDDR4 flash RAM and non-expandable UFS 2.0 flash storage that will be available in three capacities—32GB, 64GB and 128GB.
The new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones attracted so much initial consumer interest and so many preorders that the company quickly boosted its production targets for the new devices. Instead of producing 7 million Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge devices in April, Samsung placed orders for an extra 1 million units, boosting its order to 8 million smartphones for the month, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Samsung had previously said it had ordered 5 million of the smartphones for March, bringing the total production for the two months to 13 million phones.
A successful launch for the next Galaxy is very important for Samsung, which continues to battle its way out of a slump caused by cheap smartphones from China and the release of the new and improved iPhone 6 models from Apple. Samsung has been losing market share and revenue to its rivals and is already in the midst of plans to pare back its model line and cut production costs to better compete, according to earlier eWEEK reports.
In late April, Samsung reported a $4.63 billion net profit for the first quarter of 2015, which is down 39 percent from the same quarter one year ago when the company had a $7.04 billion net profit. For the South Korean smartphone and electronics maker, it's been a disappointing trend downward that's been repeated often over the last several years. Revenue was also down for Samsung in Q1 at $43.8 billion, compared with $49.9 billion for the same quarter one year ago.
Samsung's Q1 figures do not yet include sales of the new Galaxy S6 phones, which will be reflected in the second-quarter earnings report.
Recent research from the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) analyst firm showed that Apple captured about 50 percent of the fourth-quarter 2014 smartphone sales in the United States, which helped the company handily beat its closest competitor, Samsung, by a 2-to-1 margin. Samsung captured 26 percent of the market, followed by 11 percent for LG, 4 percent for Motorola and 2 percent for HTC, according to CIRP's figures. Nokia had 2 percent of the sales, while Amazon had 1 percent.