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: After we heard that Samsung could be starting from scratch with the Galaxy S6 following the disappointing sales of the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S5, now we've gotten wind that the S6 will feature a three-sided curved display. Think that’s a good idea? Read on for full details under the updated tech specs section below.
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
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, 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.
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.
- Take a look at how the Galaxy S5 finger scanner works (and doesn't).
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 wallet 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.
Another thing we are looking forward to from the Galaxy S6 display is smaller bezels, which we've already caught a glimpse of on the Galaxy S5 LTE-A.
Update: 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". 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. We're excited. The source 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.
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). With "Project Zero", Samsung might be trying to pursue the dual-edge design after all, and produce some of that "innovation" that many critics have said it has lacked in 2014.
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. 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?