Samsung Could Use Liquid Cooling in Galaxy S7 to Boost Performance

Liquid cooling would help reduce operating temperatures and increase performance of the future handsets.

Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S6, smartphones, liquid cooling, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor

Samsung's next flagship smartphone, which will be the successor to the company's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+ phones, could be equipped with a liquid cooling system designed to lower the operating temperatures of the devices to increase performance.

That speculation is the latest rumor swirling about what will likely be Samsung's Galaxy S7 flagship phone models, which are expected to be announced just before the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain, in late February.

The possibility of liquid cooling in the next phone model was raised in a report from Chinese Website UDN, according to a Dec. 7 story by Forbes. Samsung is reportedly seeking a component supplier to provide heat pipes, which wick away heat from other components to cool them, the story stated. 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, the story reported.

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.

Interestingly, Fujitsu in April unveiled a design for an innovative, thin heat pipe (pictured) that's less than 1mm thick that the company is developing to improve internal cooling in future smartphones, tablets, laptops and other compact electronic devices, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The low-profile heat pipe, which fits inside a device and wicks heat away from heat-generating components that are inside, is being developed by Fujitsu Laboratories. The liquid inside the heat pipe turns into a vapor after passing over the heat sources and then turns back into a liquid as it is cooled, similar to the process used in air conditioning systems.

Fujitsu's thin heat pipe reportedly is capable of transferring approximately five times more heat than current thin heat pipes, making it possible for CPUs and other heat-generating components to run cooler and to avoid concentrated hot spots inside devices, the story stated.

The latest heat pipe rumors are not the first to be heard about the Samsung's next-generation S7 smartphones.

In October, other reports said that the 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+ 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 to get it ready by December.

The latest Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 smartphones hit the market in August.