Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagship smartphones could be equipped with cameras that have fewer megapixels, while also potentially regaining previously deleted microSD card slots and water-resistance features.
Those are among the latest rumors circulating about Samsung's next-generation Galaxy S handsets, which follow at least four other rounds of Galaxy feature reports in the last five months.
The rumored reappearance of the microSD card slots and water-resistance feature were revealed in a Jan. 4 article by VentureBeat, which also reported that the phones would likely get higher-capacity, longer-lasting built-in batteries than the ones used in existing Galaxy S6 models (pictured). The reports are based on information from an unnamed person who is familiar with Samsung's plans, the story said.
Galaxy S5 and earlier models previously had removable microSD card slots, while the S5 models were the first of the Galaxy series to be water resistant. Both features were dropped from the S6 generation of devices. Batteries in the S5 and earlier phones were removable, but that feature was dropped in the S6 phones and will continue to be non-removable in the upcoming S7, the report stated.
The reports so far are, of course, only rumors, and will remain uncertain until Samsung unveils the latest S7 smartphones in late February, just before the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, in early March.
The Galaxy S7 Edge's screen size will also reportedly be increased to 5.5 inches, according to the article. That's an increase from the current 5.1-inch screen on the Galaxy S6 Edge. The standard Galaxy S7 will maintain its 5.1-inch screen, the story said.
Both models will gain larger batteries, with the S7 ramping up to 3,000mAh from its previous 2,550mAh unit, and the S7 Edge getting a 3,600mAh battery, replacing its previous 2,600mAh unit.
The main camera's reduction in megapixels is an interesting development for the next-generation Galaxy S7 phones. Both models will feature 12-megapixel main cameras, compared with the 16 megapixels found in the previous S6 handsets, the story reported. At the same time, the refreshed cameras are reported to be better at capturing images in low light.
In December, other rumors flew that a pressure-sensitive display and a high-speed charging port could be built into the upcoming S7 handsets, as well as separate reports that Samsung might also equip the upcoming Galaxy S7 handsets with a liquid cooling system designed to lower the operating temperatures of the devices to increase performance.
Samsung is continuing to revise its smartphone models in hopes of finding a winning combination of features and prices that will help the company improve its financial fortunes against rivals, such as Apple, Xiaomi, Lenovo/Motorola and LG. Samsung still sells more smartphones than each of its rivals, but its profits and revenue have been under pressure for much of the last few years as competition has increased around the world.
In late November, Samsung replaced its longtime handset chief, J.K. Shin, in a move to shake up the situation. Shin gave up his day-to-day handset role to Dongjin Koh, who took over as president of the company's mobile communications business, according to a recent eWEEK report. Koh previously headed Samsung's mobile research and development department and played an important role in the development of premium devices, such as the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy Note 5.
In October, Samsung, which had suffered a series of disappointing financial reports over the last seven quarters, posted revenue and operating profits for the third quarter of 2015 that were up 8 percent and 37 percent, respectively, from the same period a year earlier. That was the first positive financial news for the company in quite a while.
Also in October, other reports said the upcoming Galaxy S7 devices could come with a 3D Touch feature like that found in the latest Apple iPhone 6s models. Also possible is an extension of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ wrap-around screen to the top of the handset, in addition to its existing wrap-around sides.
In August, the first Galaxy S7 rumors began with reports that Samsung would give its next devices a processor upgrade as part of an Agile development process that is helping bring it to market sooner than in the past, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The potential replacement of the existing 64-bit Exynos 7 processors in the current Galaxy S6 smartphones with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors is part of an ongoing Agile design process that could also shave one to two months off the phone's typical development path.
Samsung's latest smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5, hit the market in August 2015.