A pressure-sensitive display and a high-speed charging port are the latest features that will reportedly be included in Samsung's next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7, which is expected to debut in March 2016.
The two pending features, which were reported in a Dec. 14 story by The Wall Street Journal, are the latest rumors circulating about the Galaxy S7. The Journal said the pressure-sensitive display and high-speed charging port could also be joined by a retina scanner in some S7 models, based on information from people who are familiar with the phones. The sources, whom the paper did not name, also said that the planned features could change by the time the phones actually debut.
The successor to Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone models (pictured) will also include a standard version, as well as a higher-end curved-screen version like today's Galaxy S7 Edge, the report stated. That premium model would be called the Galaxy S7 Edge, according to the sources.
Samsung continues 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 struggling 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, try to shake up the situation. Shin gave up his day-to-day handset role to Dongjin Koh, who takes 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, the story reported.
In October, Samsung, which had been the victim of a series of disappointing financial reports over the last seven quarters, reported 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 awhile.
Earlier in December, reports circulated 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. The S7 models are expected to be announced just before the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, in late February.
The rumored liquid-cooling system would use heat pipes, which wick away heat from other components to cool them. The thin, tiny pipes allow liquid to circulate to remove heat using thermal dynamics. Liquid is a more efficient heat transfer medium than air.
The use of heat pipes, however, makes it trickier to build a slim phone, so the company has to find new ways to build such a feature into its devices. Other companies have used such technology in some of their mobile phones, including Microsoft and Sony, which used them in their Lumia 950 XL and Xperia Z5 phones, respectively.
In October, other reports said the upcoming Galaxy S7devices 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+ wraparound screen to the top of the handset, in addition to its existing wraparound sides.
The 3D Touch and expanded wraparound screen possibilities have been seen in "concept images" based on patents that have been applied for by Samsung. The concept drawings were produced by 3DFuture, which creates 3D interactive animations of mobile devices for the mobile industry. The images are based on the patents from Samsung's recent applications.
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 to 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.
The latest Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 smartphones hit the market in August.