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article imageSamsung planning '3D Touch' display, retina scanner for Galaxy S7

By James Walker     Dec 14, 2015 in Technology
Samsung is reportedly hard at work preparing the next generation of its flagship Android smartphone, to be launched in March as the Galaxy S7. The South Korean manufacturer is rumoured to be developing a pressure-sensing display to rival Apple's 3D Touch.
The Wall Street Journal says the company is looking to incorporate several emerging technologies into its new premium handset, citing people "familiar with the matter." The changes aren't likely to represent such a major overhaul of Samsung design as its 2015 device, the Galaxy S6, did but will instead iterate and add some impressive headline features.
While design is apparently "largely similar" to that of the S6, some of the spec-sheet is entirely new to Samsung. The company is rumoured to be working on a pressure-sensing display capable of differentiating between a "tap" and "press," letting developers add new kinds of user interactions to their apps.
The feature will directly rival Apple's 3D Touch, introduced on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus earlier this year. Apple's implementation lets the phone's software detect three different levels of pressure but currently remains unused by the majority of iOS apps available. It is unclear whether Samsung's version will be able to boast of more detection levels than Apple's, or how the system will integrate into Android apps.
Unlike with iOS, Android's diluted nature means there may be less incentive for developers to create apps supporting Samsung's pressure-sensing display. In the long-term, a native solution built into the Android source may be required so all manufacturers have a standard to adhere to and developers can write code in the knowledge it will run on every phone capable of detecting pressure.
For another of the Galaxy S7's features, Samsung is apparently borrowing from other manufacturers. The company is working to include a retina scanner, letting users unlock their phone just by looking at it in a process more secure and easier to use than a traditional passcode. Some ZTE devices already support this feature and Microsoft has a similar system, based around iris scanning, implemented in Windows Hello for the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL.
Other features reportedly heading for the Galaxy S7 include a USB Type-C charging port capable of providing enough power for a day's usage in just 30 minutes. An improved camera, optimised for low-light photography and sitting flush with the phone's chassis instead of protruding outwards, will adorn the back case.
As with the Galaxy S6, the S7 will be available in standard flat-screen and "Edge" curved variants. A lot rests on the device as it is the first phone to be launched under D.J. Koh, Samsung's new head of mobile. The company has been suffering from declining sales recently amid fierce competition and the growing influence of Chinese manufacturers in the Android ecosystem. Both phones are expected to see a March launch and will be revealed during the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona in February.
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