We know the Galaxy S6 is a long way off, but that hasn't stopped the rumor mongers from starting up all kinds of Galaxy S6 business. Some of it has credibility and some of it is pure speculation, so let's try to cut through the crap and stick with what actually seems likely. Update: Samsung is reportedly working on implementing a 3-band Category 10 LTE-enabled modem into its next Exynos chipset. What does this mean to us? It means even faster internet. Head to the updated specs section for more details.
Samsung Galaxy S6 release date
This is the easiest one, with the last two Samsung Galaxy flagships being announced in either late February or March and being released to the market in April. The Galaxy S3 popped out a little later in May, but we tend to think that Samsung will try to dominate Mobile World Congress again next year just as it did this year with the S5, giving its 2015 flagship a likely April market start with a public unveiling in the first few days of March.
Considering the Galaxy S5 wasn't as well received as Samsung had hoped though, we might even see a super early appearance at CES in Las Vegas in January if the management floors at Samsung are freaking out at having to give back some of their bonuses due to the S5's reception. As you may recall, the S5 launch was initially supposed to be accelerated to make up for less than spectacular Galaxy S4 sales.
Samsung Galaxy S6 price
It's highly unlikely that Samsung will be making the Galaxy S6 any cheaper than the current Galaxy S5, despite what our readers would like to see. If the Galaxy S6 hits the register at the same price point as the S5, then you can expect an outright price tag of 599 USD, depending on the internal storage capacity. If the device gets a metal housing or 64-bit processor, however, you can expect that price to creep upwards to cover additional component and manufacturing costs.
Samsung Galaxy S6 news
Perhaps the biggest news in terms of what to expect from the Galaxy S6 is that Samsung is definitely feeling the pinch, not just financially but also in the popularity stakes. The S4 failed to impress the masses and the S5 performed much the same, even if we still think it's a solid offering, as you can read in our Galaxy S5 review.
The problem is that the general consensus is that Samsung is getting lazy, not innovating and pumping out the same micro-variations one after the other. Considering Samsung is set to post its biggest quarterly loss in two years, it seems very likely that Samsung is going to go all out on the Galaxy S6 to regain that market share, profit margin and reputation as a serious market leader. Some would argue it has already done this with the Galaxy Note 4 (I mean, we consider it the best Android phone of 2014), so hopefully Samsung is going to continue the good work it has started in Q4 2014 through into the new year.
Samsung Galaxy S6 specs
Update: It has been reported that Samsung's Galaxy S6 will be able to take advantage of super high-speed LTE download speeds thanks to the development of its next-gen Exynos SoC. The news comes from gforgames.com which claims that Samsung Galaxy S6 variant with its own Exynos processor will achieve even better download speeds than that of its Snapdragon counterpart. Current Cat. 6 LTE speeds cap at 300 mbps, but devices which can take advantage of the new Cat. 10 speeds will seen a 50% increase up to 450 mbps. Let's hope this rumor pans out for the S6.
PhoneArena recently picked up a leak from Chinese website CNMO which claimed to have a screenshot of the AnTuTu benchmark for the Galaxy S6. For those who aren't aware, AnTuTu is a commonly used software program for measuring device performance, and the screenshot, if it's real, reveals the specs we're going to see on the S6.
As you can see below, we are dealing with a 5.5-inch Quad HD (2560 x 1440) display, 20 MP rear camera, 5 MP front-facing camera, Android 5.0 Lollipop, 3 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of internal memory.
The processor, a 64-bit octa-core Exynos 7420, is inline with another previous rumor we've heard. Samsung usually produces its flagships with two processor variants, one being from its own Exynos brand and the other from Qualcomm. The Exynos chipsets are usually found on devices sold in markets where 4G LTE is not as prevalent, so we don't tend to see them in the US or UK.
The Snapdragon 810 was looking like the processor front-runner for those markets, but this no longer seems likely. It was already touch-and-go whether the chipset would be available in time for the S6 release, but businesskorea recently reported that chipset production had been delayed due to unforeseen problems at Qualcomm. This is potentially bad news not just for the S6, but also the Xperia Z4 and LG G4, all of which are expected to arrive in the first half of next year.
Galaxy S6 camera
The camera will likely get a bump in megapixels, perhaps to 20 MP, from the 16 MP camera we've seen in the Galaxy S5, and rumors about the Galaxy Note 4 point to a move to a Sony sensor from Samsung's ISOCELL. If this proves to be true the Galaxy S6 will likely follow suit. The Galaxy S6 will definitely get Optical Image Stabilization.
Galaxy S6 battery
Battery performance will be outstanding if the Galaxy S5 is anything to go by. Even if Samsung bumped the capacity up to 3,000 mAh and stuck with their existing battery management tech we'd be very happy, so any additional improvements between now and then will be very eagerly awaited. We're interested to see just how committed Samsung are to the dedicated home button and finger scanner combo, but I'd say we'll see a repeat of both with the heart-rate monitor tacked on the back as well for even more wearable integration.
- Take a look at how the Galaxy S5 finger scanner works (and doesn't).
Galaxy S6 display
Smartphones have been continuing to grow in size in 2014, with the line between smartphone and tablet becoming even more blurry (thanks 6-inch Nexus 6). The latest gossip suggests the Galaxy S5 won't be stretching that high, staying at a pocket-friendly 5.3-inches, but will include a (3840 x 2160) ultra-HD display. This news comes from a post on news.mydriver.com citing a South Korean media outlet as the source, and suggests that the S5 will retain Samsung's favored Super AMOLED screen tech, and also adds more weight to the Snapdragon 810 processor/ 4GM RAM claim.
Given the 64-bit capabilities of Android 5.0 Lollipop, Samsung would be foolish not to include the latest Qualcomm has to offer on its new flagship, however, the 4K display is something we thought would probably be reserved for the larger, and probably more expensive, Galaxy Note 5. It's an exciting prospect nonetheless.
One credible rumor we have heard is that the Galaxy S6 will deviate dramatically from the past devices in the Galaxy series, and may be codenamed "Project Zero", though this idea also seems to have fizzled. After disappointing sales in 2014, and the poor reception of the Galaxy S5, it seems like Samsung is looking to reinvent its Galaxy S series in 2015, and take the Galaxy S6 in a completely new direction.
This same source that mentioned Project Zero, also suggested that the device would come with a QHD display, a 16 or 20 MP camera and a 64-bit Exynos 7420 SoC processor with four Cortex A57 cores and four Cortex A53 cores and Samsung’s own modem, an Exynos Modem 333 with LTE connectivity. It should also receive an increase in internal storage to include 32, 64 and 128 GB variants. A cool new feature would be to include a single chip that would integrate GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, which would be a big battery saver.
Galaxy S6 curved display?
We've already seen a curved screen appear on the Galaxy Note Edge, and the latest murmurings are suggesting that Samsung will bring curved or three-sided display tech to its flagship smartphone. The Korea Herald posted a quote from a certain Jerry Kang, senior analyst of ihD Technology, who claims that the Galaxy S6 will carry a dual-edged screen, with curves on the right and left side. We had already seen leaked mock-ups of three-sided device during the original Galaxy Note 4 speculation, but in the end it looks like Samsung ditched the three-sided design to produce the two-sided Note Edge (the reason for this is still unknown).
Sammobile also recently claimed that it had exclusive information that the Galaxy S6 will be arriving with a curved screen variant entitled the Galaxy S6 Edge. The Samsung fansite said it couldn't confirm whether this would be a dual-edged display like the Note Edge, or something new entirely, but added that a similar limited release in select markets was likely. The curved display rumors for the Galaxy S6 are mounting, and with Samsung keen to revolutionize its Galaxy S6 and stay ahead of the competition, a double release of a "safer" Galaxy S6 option alongside a curved flagship variant seems eminently possible.
Samsung Galaxy S6 iris scanner
The iris scanner rumors just won't die, and there's every possibility that the Note 4, the Galaxy S6 or even both will sport an iris scanner. Samsung has confirmed it was working on the tech, but costing, manufacturing and precision need to be just right to implement it. I suspect Samsung is still stinging from the public perception of the finger scanner on the S5.
Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that Samsung would abandon that tech after only one go around the market place. Other rumors about the Tizen platform, graphene and a metal body are nothing more than that right now.
What are your expectations for the Galaxy S6? What do you think Samsung needs to do to get back on top?