01:06 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Samsung Galaxy S7 Launch, Android Marshmallow Plans For S6 Unveiled

Samsung is widely expected to unveil the Galaxy S7 at a media event scheduled in February, while it's also preparing to update its existing phones to Android 6.

Samsung Galaxy View Review: A Big Tablet With Big Problems
Samsung Galaxy View Review: A Big Tablet With Big Problems
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Samsung is on the move. The company has lots on deck for February, which will see the arrival of its next-generation flagship smartphone and a significant update to last year's model. The world's largest phonemaker needs to keep pushing forward to fend off rivals in markets near and far. Here's a quick look at the events in motion.

Sunday evening, Samsung sent invites to the media for its first Unpacked 2016 event -- the name Samsung has given all its major product debuts. As expected, the event will take place Sunday, Feb. 21, in Barcelona, during the annual Mobile World Congress trade show. Samsung has used the world's largest wireless conference in years past to introduce the Galaxy S, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S6. (The GS3 and GS4 debuted at separate events in London and New York, respectively.)

This year, the company will show the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge, with curved glass, at a mammoth convention hall in central Barcelona.

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

(Image: George Clerk/iStockphoto)

Details about the GS7 have been trickling out over the last few months, and we now have a pretty good picture of what the phone will offer. To start, the hardware will largely mirror that of last year's GS6. The biggest difference in the physical form will be the addition of a memory card slot. The screen size and resolution will be carried over (5.1 inches, quad HD), as will Samsung Pay and the fingerprint sensor.

Benchmarking websites have spied two models of the phone, one with Samsung's own Exynos chipset aboard and another with Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 820 processor. Expect to see 4GB of RAM, advanced LTE, a 12-megapixel camera, NFC, and high-quality materials and build.

The Galaxy S7 is expected to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface overlay. Samsung has said it will work hard to improve its software this year, but it's unclear if Samsung will make those improvements before the Galaxy S7's arrival.

[Read Is the iPhone Finally Losing Its Mojo?]

Speaking of Marshmallow, Samsung has at long last begun rolling out Android 6.0.1 to the 2015 Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in its home market of South Korea, according to a report from Sammobile. The company hasn't said when it will push Marshmallow to Galaxy S6 devices outside of South Korea, but it shouldn't be too long before the update arrives in the US and other markets.

Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow adds Google Now On Tap for contextual search, Doze for improved battery life, and revised permissions for security purposes.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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