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2/10/2016
12:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Samsung Galaxy S7: 5 Features It Needs

Samsung's next-generation flagship smartphone is almost here. These are the features we most want to see added to the Galaxy S7.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+: Side By Side
Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+: Side By Side
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Thanks to a multitude of leaks, we already have a fairly solid picture of what the Samsung Galaxy S7 will offer when it arrives Feb. 21. The phone is expected to look similar to last year's Galaxy S6 and maintain the same screen size and resolution. Most other changes will be hidden under the hood.

For example, AnTuTu ferreted out two core models, one based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 processor and another based on Samsung's own Exynos engine. The details of the Exynos processor remain fuzzy. The GS7 will have gobs of RAM, fast wireless radios, and lots of other bells and whistles.

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

But specs aren't everything, and Samsung has some work to do to win back customers it lost with the Galaxy S6.

Here are five things Samsung needs to include with the Galaxy S7 to make it a hit:

Better Battery Life

The Galaxy S6 shipped with a 2,600mAh battery, and it didn't quite deliver. Worse, Samsung sealed the lithium-ion power cell inside, making it impossible to swap out dead batteries mid-day. The Galaxy S7 needs to deliver markedly improved battery life than its predecessor. Details spotted on the FCC website suggest the new handset will include a 3,600mAh battery. That's good news, indeed.

Expandable Storage

Count this as righting another wrong introduced with the Galaxy S6. Samsung's Galaxy S handsets have, from the beginning, offered support for expandable storage. That changed with the Galaxy S6, which was limited to 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models. While those options are certainly enough for most people, longtime fans decried the change. Samsung would do well to bring back a slot for microSD cards to appease its most fervent customers.

Protection From Water

People continue to drop their smartphones in toilets, sinks, lakes, puddles, rivers, and sundry other bodies of liquid. Samsung made the Galaxy S5 water resistant, but stripped the feature away from the Galaxy S6. Accessory makers are all too happy to sell people pricey waterproof cases, but built-in protection from a quick dunk would reduce headaches the world over. Sony's flagship handsets have been waterproof for years.

Stereo Speakers

Smartphones have become mobile media machines, and are often used to share music and video. Samsung's phones have typically placed a single speaker on the back or the bottom. It would be a nice change to see stereo speakers adorn the front of the Galaxy S7. This would dramatically improve both music-listening and video-watching experiences. A number of Samsung's competitors (HTC and Motorola, for example) have already added stereo speakers to their phones.

[Read iPhone, Samsung Power Smartphone Market to New Heights: IDC .]

Simpler Software

Samsung has long crammed gobs of bloatware into its Galaxy S smartphones, along with its TouchWiz user interface. Much of Samsung's software is duplicated by Google and third-party developers. Rather than take the more-is-more approach, Samsung needs to pull back a bit and aim for features that are more useful.

The LG G5, for example, is believed to be adding an always-on screen so users can see the time, date, and notifications -- all without impacting battery life. This is the kind of thinking Samsung needs to employ moving forward. Samsung's leadership has suggested this is the course it will take. With any luck, the Galaxy S7 will be the first to ship with simpler software.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
2/22/2016 | 1:39:33 AM
Re: waterproof please
Seems those 5 features are great. Mainly the battery life and the protection from water. However  I think "Sony" came up with these features some time back.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
2/18/2016 | 8:43:16 PM
waterproof please
The waterproof feature would go a long way for many people to making this their phone of choice. I like my s5 and am looking forward to seeing what they do with the s7. 
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 11:36:17 PM
Re: Reasons to Upgrade
The article mentions several features that the S7 would need to please the users. I will add a drop in price. I know a lot of people who would welcome that.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 11:15:39 AM
Re: Reasons to Upgrade
I upgraded from an S4 to an S6 for personal reasons - the phone was dying, and Best Buy was giving away free tvs. Also, I could buy the phone on the cheap side and not get into the "renting by the month" plan. I admit it's got some annoying features, but it works well most of the time. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
2/11/2016 | 2:35:23 AM
Reasons to Upgrade
Samsung is going to have to create a number of compelling features in order for users to upgrade their phones from for instance, a Note 4 to a Galaxy S7. Samsung's user base is based upon expandability (storage), control (removable battery) and diversity (S, A and J series). Hence, it is interesting that Samsung decided to take away a few of these features that might be considered core to the user.

I feel that Samsung's user base is also one of the biggest supporters of the Phonebloks -- it is interesting that Samsung has not experimented with a semi-modular design as well. 
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