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Samsung Galaxy S6 release date, news, specs and rumors [updated]

Kris Carlon

We know the Galaxy S6 is a long, 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: We've added expected pricing and market availability information.

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The Galaxy Alpha may be next on the starting block, but the Galaxy S6 will be very important for Samsung. / © @evleaks

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. 

Update: If we follow the logic of the Galaxy S5 announcement and launch, we should see a Galaxy S6 announcement on March 2nd, 2015 with market availability on April 17th. However, we hope the S6 will get a slightly quicker market start next year, putting its availability date somewhere in the first half of April, 2015.

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.

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The Galaxy S5 LTE-A has previewed some of what we might see pushed in the Galaxy S6. / © Takor/Samsung

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: a cheaper Galaxy flagship. 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 Note 4 and Galaxy S6 to regain that market share, profit margin and reputation as a serious market leader.

Samsung Projected Profits Q2 2014
Whichever way you cut it, Samsung has to step up quickly to fix this slide. / © Korea JoongAng Daily

Samsung Galaxy S6 specs

Without giving credibility to unfounded rumors we can do a bit of logical extrapolation on this front. A 64-bit processor is guaranteed and we will surely get two versions again, one Snapdragon powered and another with an octa-core Exynos chip to power what we hope with be Android 5.0 with a refined version of TouchWiz.

The Qualcomm processor will likely be the Snapdragon 808, depending on when it will be commercially available, as the Snapdragon 805 has already started to appear in devices restricted to South Korean markets and the Snapdragon 810 may still be a bit too far away for mass production volumes. 3 GB of RAM seems certain but you won't be able to keep the rumor hounds away from higher numbers, especially considering the next Android version will support up to 4 GB of RAM. Let's wait and see on that one.

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It's safe to say that both variants of the Galaxy S6 will sport 64-bit chips. © Qualcomm

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. 

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.

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The camera has always been one of Samsung's strong points. / © Samsung

The screen can't get much larger than it currently is in the Galaxy S5 at 5.1-inches, and it seems unlikely that Samsung would want to start encroaching on their phablet territory by pushing it to 5.5 inches. A QHD display seems a certainty though, considering the Galaxy S5 LTE-A has already appeared with a 2K display and the battery performance is reportedly even better than the Galaxy S5 with Full HD display.

Samsung has beaten their chest publicly already about UHD displays (3840 x 2160 pixels) in 2015 but this seems more likely to be reserved for the Galaxy Note 5. There's no reason to believe that Samsung would abandon its successful Super AMOLED display tech in the S6. One thing we are looking forward to is smaller bezels, which we've already caught a glimpse of on the Galaxy S5 LTE-A.

Samsung Galaxy S6 rumors

This section could get very, very long so I'll keep it brief and migrate rumors that firm up as time goes by to the sections above. We already know that the Galaxy Note 4 is more than likely going to be Samsung's debut device with a curved OLED display. We've covered more Note 4 news and expectations in our Galaxy Note 4 release date, news, specs and rumors article.

The interesting part comes down to whether Samsung will bring curved or three-sided display tech to their flagship smartphone? I really can't say at this stage, but I expect Samsung will have two versions being prototyped until there's some kind of public response to the Note 4. That may seal the deal for whether or not we see curved in the Galaxy S6's display.

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We already know that Samsung is invested in iris scanning tech, but will it appear in the Galaxy S6? / © PatentBolt

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 in 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. Keep in mind too, though, that the Galaxy Alpha is nearing its time in the spotlight and Samsung is now obviously committed to releasing multiple versions of its flagship at every possible opportunity.  

What are your expectations for the Galaxy S6? What do you think Samsung needs to do to get back on top?