Samsung's Galaxy S7 Will Mimic iPhone's 3D Touch - InformationWeek

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IoT
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Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
12/14/2015
12:05 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Samsung's Galaxy S7 Will Mimic iPhone's 3D Touch

Samsung's next-generation flagship, expected in March, will feature a pressure-sensitive screen similar to that of the Apple iPhone 6s, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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 prepping the Galaxy S7 to take on the Apple iPhone 6s. The company is reportedly developing new touch-sensitive screen technology that is similar to one of the main features from the 6s -- 3D Touch -- in a bid to keep its handset competitive with Apple's smartphone.

The Galaxy S7 is slated for a March debut, according to The Wall Street Journal. The smartphone's general appearance won't vary much from the Galaxy S6, but new functions are lined up for the flagship handset. Chiefly, Samsung will add a pressure-sensitive screen to the Galaxy S7, according to the Journal's sources.

On the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the 3D Touch function calls up secondary actions, information, and other content when the glass is pressed more forcefully. Apple calls some of these tools Peek and Pop. For example, a 3D Touch of the iMessage icon lets you initiate a new message or respond to recently received messages.

In Safari, a 3D Touch will let you open a new tab or new private tab from the home screen.

You get the idea.

Apple has provided developers with the APIs needed to add 3D Touch actions to their own apps, and application writers are doing just that. 3D Touch adds a new dimension, if you will, to the iPhone and the ways users interact with apps. Samsung wants this power, too, but it's not going to stop there.

(Images: Left, Apple; right, Samsung)

(Images: Left, Apple; right, Samsung)

The next-gen handset will also include a USB Type-C connector.

In a few years, the Type-C connector will be common across phones, tablets, and PCs, but for now it is in the early stages of adoption. Type-C offers a few benefits. First, it is reversible and can be inserted easily in either orientation. Second, it is much faster. The Journal reports that rapid-charging technology via Type-C will help the Galaxy S7's battery go from empty to full in just 30 minutes. Third, Type-C can send power in both directions, so the S7 can (if Samsung wants) be used to power up other devices.

[Read InformationWeek's hands-on review of the iPhone 6s Plus.]

The main S7 model will largely resemble its predecessor, but Samsung is expected to bring back support for expandable memory. The S6 is the first Galaxy S handset from Samsung to lack a slot for microSD memory cards -- a decision that did not sit well with fans of the series. Samsung is believed to be prepping a Galaxy S7 Edge, as well, which will feature a curved screen like that of the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Samsung is also exploring the use of retina scanners for added biometric security. The S5 and S6 both featured fingerprint sensors. A retina scanner would bolster the enterprise appeal of the S7.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 will likely be announced during the Mobile World Congress trade show in mid-February and reach the US as soon as mid-March.

Earlier this month, Samsung supplanted long-time mobile chief JK Shin with Dongjin Koh. Koh's arrival may eventually shake up the company's handset plans. The S7, however, has been a work in progress for many months already and is more or less feature-complete.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio
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Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 3:41:41 AM
Re: shaping
"Another concern is the product itself - if it's mimicing, how good it will perform? Will it beat Apple on this aspect?"

Li Tan, I won't think as of now no one can beat Apple offerings. They can just follow or can do the ditto things because none of the companies want to spend/invest time and money for R&D 
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/28/2015 | 3:36:02 AM
Re: Imitating the technology
"It will be interesting to see if applications and Android manages to roll out full support for 3D touch by March 2016. If software manages to keep up with hardware and utilize 3D touch to enhance the productivity (as opposed to consumption) of a mobile device then, by 2017 other manufacturers might also rollout similar technology. "

Brian, as of now none of the apps are making use of such 3D touch facility. If app developers are able to convert the existing apps to this new version; then it's great.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
12/20/2015 | 10:04:35 PM
Re: shaping
Another concern is the product itself - if it's mimicing, how good it will perform? Will it beat Apple on this aspect?
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
12/15/2015 | 7:21:26 PM
Re: shaping
@mak63 they could absorb part of the cost themselves, but I'd imagine the customer will see at least some of the increased cost reflected in the price.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 7:19:03 PM
Re: shaping
According of what I read, retinal scanners are double or more in price than fingerprint ones. Price varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and for features. The cheapest I found was $65 for a fingerprint, vs. $190 for an iris scanner.
As Brian pointed out, who knows how much Samsung would end up paying. Probably much less than that. In any case, I hope that the S7 doesn't become more expensive than already is due to this.
Ariella
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Ariella,
User Rank: Author
12/15/2015 | 7:01:14 PM
Re: shaping
Quite a difference! Thanks, @Brian.Dean
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 6:46:58 PM
Re: shaping
The prices of USB standalone fingerprint and iris scanners cannot be directly compared with the costs that a phone manufacturer might have to pay due to their supply chain and bulk purchases, etc. Nevertheless, according to Biometrics Supply the cost of the DigitalPersona Eikon II fingerprint scanner is around $62 and IriShield MK 2120U is around $300. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
12/15/2015 | 6:04:31 PM
Re: Imitating the technology
It will be interesting to see if applications and Android manages to roll out full support for 3D touch by March 2016. If software manages to keep up with hardware and utilize 3D touch to enhance the productivity (as opposed to consumption) of a mobile device then, by 2017 other manufacturers might also rollout similar technology. 
Vishal.kawatra
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Vishal.kawatra,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/15/2015 | 3:47:04 AM
The New - APPLE SUNG
they might as well start calling it just that , APPLE SUNG . Doesn't Apple use the SamSung  processor and their screen as well.  These companes instead of battling out or suing one another they should collaborate to  develop a mid to high range new model the Apple Sung 2.0,  anyone queuing for for it - (  might go and trade mark that name LOL) Vishal Kawatra
Gigi3
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Gigi3,
User Rank: Ninja
12/14/2015 | 11:37:29 PM
Re: shaping
"I take it that retinal scanners are more secure than fingerprint ones, but I'd assume they cost more, too. Any figures on that?"

Ariella, you are right about technology, but for marketing the product pricing is also a major fact.
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