Samsung is preparing another duo of Samsung Galaxy S7 flagships
Welcome to 2016 folks! Now that Christmas and New Year are out the way we can get on with the serious business of greeting a whole new batch of shiny tech hardware emerging during the first quarter of this year, with much of the attention being focused on Mobile World Congress on February 22 and the days running up to it.
Yes while CES takes place first inside January, that particular event has had decreasing relevance for the mobile space over the years as smartphone manufacturers have largely shifted their attention to MWC as a launchpad instead. All will be in attendance at CES, of course, and may tease a few things, Samsung itself has got a press event lined up, but has confirmed it will not be showcasing mobile tech, instead showing off TVs and the like at an event which does NOT carry the usual "Samsung Unpacked" mobile launch branding. Rumours abound that Samsung will follow its usual trick of launching the Galaxy S7 at an independent event a day or two ahead of MWC, though still taking place as usual in the host city of Barcelona. The rumours that Samsung will launch early appear to be true, but only in the sense that MWC itself is a little earlier in February this year.
Not long to go then. As always this will be a big deal for Samsung, a big launch, with plenty of flashy lights and noise, and talking up how great it is. It's pretty well established by now though that this is an especially important launch for Samsung, which is sure to have all its collective fingers and toes crossed, because according to its earning reports and statements 2014-2015 hasn't exactly gone as planned. Samsung is hoping to knock 2016 out of the park.
Basically, the company thought it would sell the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S6 by the bucket-load, just as it did with Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S3 handsets back in 2012-2013, during what is increasingly looking like Samsung's now-historic heydey. And the problem is, it hasn't sold in those numbers, and this has had a knock-on effect for the company's market share and profits.
But the funny thing is the continued poor performance doesn't make a lot of sense. You see, Samsung took a kicking over the Galaxy S5, but that's because consumer tastes in the market had changed; there was a paradigm shift to wanting better quality materials, premium metal and glass bodywork, and other whizzy things. The Galaxy S5 wasn't very different from the Galaxy S4 with its tacky plastic body and samey design. So it was rejected by reviewers and consumers alike. However, Samsung, like any sensible company keen on surviving, took all this onboard, went back to its labs and started "Project Zero" from scratch; a complete ground-up rebuild of the Galaxy S concept. And what we got was quite probably the best handset Samsung has ever produced in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, with superb design, materials, and build quality, as well as a great feature set. And yet, the sales figures show that even with a superior product, Samsung's sales performance is lacking. What's the deal?
The Korea Times reported that Samsung is looking to further reduce its workforce before the end of the year in order to cut costs.
“Samsung’s top priority is to save costs. Average workers with mediocre performance are being advised to leave the company with a sizable compensation,” one official told the outlet.
"This isn’t the first major round of layoffs Samsung has had to suffer through in 2015 either. In fact, just last month on the day before Apple unveiled its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Samsung announced that nearly 10,000 employees would have to be let go from the company’s headquarters in South Korea," notes BGR. "But it appears that the situation has not improved appreciably, because in the latest report, industry watchers claim that Samsung is now looking to cut its staff by a whopping 30%, singling out employees in the finance, human resources and marketing divisions of the company."
Despite coming to the marketplace with two very compelling handsets in the form of the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 EDGE, Samsung failed once again to give Apple any real trouble. Handset sales were worse than expected, leading to yet another drop in profits for the once-great Korean handset maker.
“Samsung flagged a second-quarter drop in operating profit on Tuesday that missed analyst estimates after sales of its newest flagship smartphonefailed to meet expectations,” report The Telegraph. “The earnings forecast came as a South Korean court ruled in Samsung's favour against a US hedge fund's efforts to block the proposed merger of two major affiliates. The giant smartphone and memory-chip maker predicted operating profit of around 6.9 trillion won (£4 billion) for the April-June period, down more than 4 per cent from a year earlier.”
Samsung blamed the lacklustre sales on not being able to produce enough Galaxy S6 EDGE units. Analysts, however, had other ideas and pointed towards a more sinister problem: long standing Android users defecting to iPhone. Throw in China for good measure, a market Apple smashed in 2015, and you have a recipe for bad earnings calls. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder Samsung has fast-tracked development of the Galaxy S7, the handset that will do battle with the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
“Double-digit shipment growth is a thing of the past for vendors as the global market has begun to plateau in 2015 after years of growth” said TrendForce smartphone analyst Avril Wu. “While Samsung has kept its shipment title through the year, it is struggling against Apple in the high-end market and being pushed out of the mid-range and low-end segments by Chinese competitors. Facing challenges on two fronts, Samsung’s smartphone business will operate in an increasingly difficult situation in the near future. Closely trailing Samsung in global shipments is Apple, which remains as the dominant and most profitable vendor in the high-end market. As for Chinese brands, they are expanding overseas to gain market share. Huawei’s shipments surpassed 100 million units this year and became the third leading vendor on account of its export efforts. Xiaomi and Lenovo are also branching into the emerging markets.”
Leaked images from a Chinese network might have revealed the exact month Samsung’s Galaxy S7 will get a release next year. According to China Mobile, the Galaxy S7 will get a release date -- at least in China, anywho-- during March. Earlier reports suggested Samsung was looking at launching the handset in February, so a release in March does make a lot of sense. And, seeing that China Mobile is the biggest network in the world, you’d think it’d know a thing or two about Samsung’s plans for the Galaxy S7 inside 2016.
Word on the street suggests Samsung has been listening to user complaints about previous iterations of its flagship handset. According to a report over at HD Blog, the Galaxy S7 will potentially feature microSD-support, a feature sadly missing from the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 EDGE and Galaxy Note 5.
Samsung also made its batteries non-removable and this too irked plenty of its hardcore users. The reason behind this was simple enough, though: Samsung wanted to make the design of the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 as seamless as possible and in order to do this it had to apparently make the handset an all-in-one setup just like the iPhone 6s or the Nexus 6P.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 has been spotted for the first time in pictures. ITSkins, a third party case manufacturer has handed a selection of CAD renders of the handset to GSMArena, as well as a few details. It seems there will be both a regular Galaxy S7 and a larger 6in Galaxy S7 Plus using the same design - so far there are no details on edge variants. The renders appear to confirm earlier reports that the Galaxy S7 would closely follow a similar design to the Galaxy S6. The report states the Galaxy S7 will be nearly the same size as the Galaxy S6 at 143.37 x 70.8 x 6.94 mm, while the Galaxy S7 Plus will be bigger than even the Galaxy Note series at 163.32 x 82.01 x 7.82mm - likely meaning a 6in display panel.
A new report on December 10 reveals yet more renders of the Galaxy S7 Plus, this isn't a leak though, this is OnLeaks and uSwitch teaming up yet again to bring us polished renders of what the finished product will look like based on the previously leaked details. But don't let that lead you to dismiss it, for starters things being what they are these days there are enough legitimate leaks out there that such suppositions are not going to be widely off the mark, and what's more, OnLeaks and uSwitch have so far been quite accurate with such predictive 3D renderings as it seems they only go with details they can more or less be sure are accurate.
So with all that said what's to see in the new render? Well there's a video showcase:
As with earlier leaks, the it shows a device that looks a lot like the Galaxy S6 - no major design changes this time round, however, the rumoured microSD card slot appears to have been omitted, suggesting the legitimacy of that rumour has been brought into question by those in the know. There's also a standard microUSB port rather than a new Type-C version.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Casemakers Reveal Design Cues
Although we already knew from the earlier rumours that the Galaxy S7 launch was getting close, this latest bit of info pretty well confirms that it's imminent. What's happened is quite a common occurance - before a handset launches, the manufacturer sends details of the device to various case and accessory makers so that they can build cases and the like for the new handset in time for its launch. Invariably, one case maker or another ends up either leaking the details, or enthusiastically posting its new case design ahead of the launch, thus revealing at least partial information or visual details about the phone before it officially arrives.
This time, UK retailer Mobile Fun has published some snaps of Olixar cases for the Samsung Galaxy S7. As usual, although the cases obscure some of the phone's bodywork, we can still discern a bit of the design. And, sure enough, the Galaxy S7 seems to look quite similar to the Galaxy S6 - but then that's been rumoured for a while, so it's not really a shocker.
According to the latest leaked information, emerging on November 23, the 'edge' variant of the Galaxy S7 will be even edgier and curvier than before. It's claimed the display will have a curvature around the phone's top and bottom edges, as well as a slightly less pronounced curve on the sides as with the current S6 edge model. The news comes via HDBlog.it's "reliable sources" and SamMobile, which also reports that Samsung is considering adding microSD card support back into the Galaxy S flagship series with the Galaxy S7. What isn't clear is whether both S7 and S7 edge will have microSD, or just one, although for our money both seems more likely, if at all.
At the moment the only cases shown are for the Galaxy S7, although cases are listed for the Galaxy S7 edge too, without images. There's nothing at all for the Galaxy S7 + and Galaxy S7 edge +.
Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Plus, Galaxy S7 edge & Galaxy S7 edge Plus Apparently Confirmed
Ok so a bit of a double-whammy of Samsung Galaxy S7 news today. First up, the metal bodyshell of the flagship device has been snapped in some pictures and then leaked onto the web - as usual, this stuff leaked via Chinese social network Weibo and, as is often the case, the images have since been removed; though not before plenty of people took screenshots (Slashgear). So it's allegedly a Galaxy S7 shell, but we do urge you to take it with a pinch of salt just in case.
As expected, the design seems fairly similar to the Galaxy S6, with earlier reports suggesting Samsung will not do anything too radical in the design department, having already stumped up the cash for the big metallic rebuild on last year's model; the changes here are thought to be more to do with hardware and features. It's hard to be sure, but to our eye the Galaxy S7 shown here looks a little bit squarer than its predecessor, but that may just be the visual effect of not having the rest of the glass bodywork in place.
Now, this next snippet of info alleges there are not only two Galaxy S7 handsets in the works, but a full quartet of FOUR.
But, and this is important, all doubts should go out the window when we factor in who is leaking this information, as it comes via none other than @evleaks, aka Evan Blass, a man with a near impeccable track record. According to Blass and a screenshot he posted, there will not only be the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Plus, but also a Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S7 edge Plus. We can't say we're too shocked, but it's nice to have confirmation on the expected!
Samsung Galaxy S7 Release Date
Samsung's flagship launch schedule may have shifted around a bit over the years and there are always a lot of rumours, more than most, implying the firm will try to bring things further and further forward from what we're used to. Despite all that, Samsung has been fairly consistent for the last couple of years in launching a new Galaxy S flagship model around the time of Mobile World Congress (either just before, or during the expo itself), which has typically taken place at the end of February, though last year kicked off in early March instead. Still, we're talking Q1 either way.
We've good reason to expect the same again in 2016. More so when you note that the rumours are indeed lining up to reinforce this idea. All the talk currently says a Galaxy S7 will arrive around the beginning of next year. That's when Samsung likes to show it can do better than Apple's September iPhone launch. At least that's the idea.
“Samsung could launch its new Galaxy S7 smartphone in January, bringing it forward a month compared to its usual launch date in an effort to get the jump on Apple, its competitor in the high-end smartphone market,” reports The Independent. “As reported by South Korea's Electronic Times, insiders in mobile phone component industries have said that Samsung is planning to launch the new flagship phone in January.”
According to multiple reports from November 11 Samsung is planning an "early" launch of the Galaxy S7, one of those reports more specifically points to February 21. The first snippet of info comes via reputable source SamMobile, and details some leaked firmware. There are two firmware codes marked as G930FXXU0AOK6 and G935FXXU0AOK6, which could either suggest different processor variants of the handset (Snapdragon 820 and Exynos), or different variants such as an EDGE display model or the rumoured folding flexible handset.
“In the U.S. market it appears that the Snapdragon 820 variant of the Galaxy S7 will be identified as G930V on Verizon, while the Galaxy S7 Edge will be G935V. On Sprint the Galaxy S7 will carry G930P and the Galaxy S7 Edge G935P,” reports Value Walk. The Exynos variants will carry the following numbers. G930F and G935F will be unlocked versions of the S7 and S7 Edge respectively, while the G930T and SM-G935T will be shipped to T-Mobile. AT&T will receive the G930A and G935A.”
The information shows that the firmware began development earlier than usual in Samsung's development cycle, which has been interpreted as an indicator of an earlier launch ahead of MWC 2016. This conflicts with the second report, which comes via reputable Twitter tipster Ricciolo, who says to "forget and 'early announcement'...nothing changed," before posting a picture of a Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2016 banner. But what this means is that the event will happen just like this year, just slightly ahead of MWC 2016, and next year MWC 2016 is happening a little earlier on February 22.
Information surfacing on November 16 suggests that two Samsung Galaxy S7 models are already in testing with a US carrier. The word comes via reputable Twitter tipster Evan Blass, aka@evleaks, who took to the social network stating that the SM-G930A and SM-G935A are now in testing with AT&T, which he believes ties in with the rumoured Q1 2016 launch, likely for MWC.
"AT&T already testing both Galaxy S7 variants (SM-G930A and -G935A), adding weight to rumors of an early- to mid-1Q16 release."
As of December 8, Samsung has officially begun issuing press invitations to an event taking place at CES 2016 in January. While this is by no means a certainty as the Galaxy S7 launch event, it's worth drawing attention to even just as a possibility. For our two pence it seems somewhat unlikely - for a start the event is branded as Samsung's CES Press Conference rather than "Samsung Unpacked", as is usual for Samsung product launches. What's more, CES has declined in significance for mobile manufacturers over the last several years, while many still attend, it has not been used for major product launches for a while - MWC and IFA tend to see proper launches instead. But even in these cases, many manufacturers, and particularly Samsung, have got into the habit of hosting their launches in the same location as the big conferences, at an outside venue and on a date usually just before the conference kicks off - usually as little as a day or two. The only piece of that which fits here is the day before habit - Samsung's event is on January 5, while the conference kicks off on January 6. But even so, it's the branding of the event as being associated with CES that really clinches it for us - so we're thinking it's most likely something more mundane, but still one to watch just in case.
On December 17 Samsung has officially announced its CES event and the details show that it won't be unveiling the Galaxy S7 at the January 5 event. We expected as much, because CES has become less and less about phones over the years, and Samsung appears to be following this trend, likely saving the smartphone launches for MWC in late February. The firm's event details explain it will feature "innovations in TVs and home appliances," suggesting we're looking at a focus on Samsung's other electronics businesses than mobile devices.
Samsung TouchWiz For Android Marshmallow Leaks
We've had a little preview of what the software will probably look like aboard the Galaxy S7 when it launches. Chinese sources on Weibo posted screenshots of the Galaxy S6 Marshmallow update, including a brand new face-lift for TouchWiz, the images were taken down but have been preserved by SamMobile. The images of course show how the software will appear on the Galaxy S6 when Marshmallow arrives on that existing device, however, Samsung likes to be consistent so it is very likely the look and feel of Marshmallow on the Galaxy S7 will be much the same. What we can say is that this appears to be the cleanest TouchWiz build EVER, far more Google Material Design faithful than Samsung has previously delivered.