The Samsung Galaxy S7 will have a press-sensitive screen like the iPhone 6s, along with a new high-speed charging port. It is also believed to feature a retina scanner and will be available in four versions when it launches in early 2016.
Samsung is understood to be producing four versions of the new Android handset. There will be the Galaxy S7 and larger S7+, both with flat screens, plus the Galaxy S7 Edge and S7 Edge+, with screens that curve on both the left and right edge.
While the pressure-sensitive screen – a technology already used by Apple and Huawei – will likely feature on the Galaxy S7 range, people "familiar with the matter" told the Wall Street Journal the retina scanner may be dropped before launch. Alternatively, the retina scanner – presumably used as a secure way of unlocking the handset with a PIN or fingerprint – might only appear on some versions of the S7.
Insiders claim the S7 will look similar to the year-old S6 and will not be as revolutionary as its predecessor was when it replaced the S5. Leaked images claiming to depict components of the Galaxy S7 show a handset with the same aluminium chassis as the S6 family.
USB Type-C for faster charging
What isn't clear just yet is what the claims of high-speed charging relate to. Leaked video renders show a regular microUSB port, while these chassis photos show space for a new USB Type-C connection, which offers significantly faster charge times.
Both the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P use USB Type-C, and so too does the Apple MacBook, but otherwise the technology is very much in its infancy, with very few Type-C chargers, cables and accessories on the market.
A phone like the Samsung flagship would be what the technology needs to break into the mainstream and for the transition headache to be as short-lived as possible. Apple users who endured the switch from 30-pin to lightning cables will understand this pain better than most. In the case of the Galaxy S7, it is claimed Type-C will help the phone recharge from zero to 100% in 30 minutes.
Further good news for buyers of the regular S7 – not the curved S7 Edge – will be the inclusion of a MicroSD card slot. This, dropped for the S6 family, will let buyers increase the storage of their phone, something owners of the iPhone cannot do. There will also be an improved rear camera with better low-light performance, the unnamed sources said, and it will sit flush against the back of the phone, unlike the camera that bulged out of the back of the S6.
The Galaxy S7 is expected to be announced in Barcelona in March, just before the annual Mobile World Congress tech show takes place, before going on sale around six weeks later.