We’re just days away from Samsung’s MWC 2016 event on Sunday where the company will launch the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Gear 360, and possibly other new products and services. Much has been said about all of the aforementioned products, but the software on Samsung’s next flagship has been relatively shy from appearing in any leaks. The software has only been exposed in a brief video posted yesterday. Fortunately, we’ve been able to check in with a source who shared bits and pieces of what Samsung will be doing with software on its phones this year.
Samsung will be cleaning up and slimming the software for the Galaxy S7.
The two Samsung handsets will ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Samsung’s software overlay, now lighter than ever before, facing the user. That’s not surprising at all. But this time things are different because the company has really worked on getting rid of the software features users have no use for unless intentionally seeking them out. It explains why various Samsung apps have made the move to the Play Store or the Galaxy Apps hub. Aside from allowing an easier update process, Samsung can let users pick and choose which apps they want to use.
Samsung-made apps pre-installed on the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge include a browser, file manager, music player, video player, gallery, and voice recorder. It seems like we’re going to get ‘TouchWiz-lite’ at last.
The real excitement for me came when the source said the best of Marshmallow will be active, particularly from Doze. Introduced last year with the latest version of Android, Doze conserves battery by “restricting apps’ access to network and CPU-intensive services” while your device is inactive for a period of time. When you pick up your device and start using it again, notifications and everything else you missed appear instantly.
Talk Android can also confirm Samsung will be launching its Apple Live Photos competitor with the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. The handsets will record “a couple seconds of video all the time” for viewing later on, even if you originally set out to take a static picture. When in the gallery viewing photos, a little icon appears in the top right. Tap that icon and the photo will start animating like like a GIF.
While our source focused heavily on software, we did chat a little bit about the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7’s hardware. Most of it you’ve heard before. The displays will measure 5.1 inches for the Galaxy S7 and 5.5 inches for the Galaxy S7 Edge. And you can expect both of them to have always-on displays just like other phones and the upcoming LG G5.
The always-on display here will be different from anything else we’ve ever seen because it will literally be on at all times. Samsung is going to give a limited number of options to act as a next generation screensaver — a clock, a calendar with missed notifications, and an image. The images are restricted to a selection of three, one of which is a starfield. The source told me that, on the Galaxy S7, the always-on display will consume around 5% of the battery every 10 hours. Samsung is able to do this because of its Super AMOLED technology lighting up individual pixels when necessary rather than the entire panel asking for power.
The batteries inside will be 3000mAh and 3600mAh, respectively, to ensure users avoid the same iffy battery life experienced with last year’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Getting two-day battery life might not actually be very difficult after all. Wireless charging is sticking around, too.
Both handsets will not have a USB Type-C port. Charging and data transfer will be handled by the usual micro-USB port. The handsets also have waterproof designs, so there’s little worry if the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 get stuck in a rainstorm or face a splash of water.
In terms of internal storage, Samsung will only be selling a 32GB model in the United States. This is because the microSD card slot is coming back, and the company wants users to rely upon that component and cloud storage to meet their needs. Having a microSD card slot will put Samsung back alongside its competitors who believe external storage is still valuable to consumers.
Color options, as we’ve seen multiple times, will include black, gold, and silver; however, carriers and retailers could be getting their own exclusives. We were also told at least one electronics retailer, likely Best Buy, will be operating a promotion at launch to include a free wireless charger with purchases of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. It’s possible Samsung allows customers who bought either handset from other retailers to redeem the same offer on their website.
Stick with Talk Android for our MWC 2016 coverage starting this Sunday, February 21.