A lot is riding on the Galaxy S6. Samsung’s disappointing recent financial figures and ominous reluctance to announce sales numbers for the Galaxy S5 tell you that much.
But the good news for the Samsung faithful is that, if rumours are anything to go by, the phone-maker has listened to user feedback about the somewhat underwhelming, current-gen standard bearer.
For that reason, this year's model should mark the overdue end of the plastic outer shell that’s featured on every Galaxy S phone since the year dot.
Apparently, in its place we can look forward to a metal and glass build that goes toe to toe with the altogether more handsome iPhone and HTC One range.
What's more, after many slammed the S5 as a disappointing incremental update, it looks like major spec sheet changes are afoot too.
As well as a substantially better screen, we’ve got a much higher-grade camera to look forward to, plus improved fingerprint security and a fuss-free version of Android. And much, much more besides, it seems.
Here, we round up all the hardware and software rumours doing the rounds, so you can catch up with the latest news and get up to speed in one place without having to pore through pages of news items dating back months.
That's not all, though. We’ll also be detailing when the Samsung Galaxy S6 is due to be unveiled, how much you should expect to to pay and when you’ll actually be able to get your hands on it.
Want the inside line? Read on and we’ll tell you everything we know.
Samsung Galaxy S6 design
How's it going to look? What's it made of?
It’ll be an all-metal design
According to reports from late last year, the Galaxy S6 will be an expensive-feeling handset fashioned from metal, that's along the lines of the A6.
But it’s not just any metal, apparently. It’ll be treated for extra toughness, with Samsung purportedly having conducted extensive trails of "diamond metal surface treatment technology".
This involves blasting carbon with high temperatures, in a process that’ll be familiar to anyone who knows how diamonds are made.
Or it’ll be an iPhone-style glass and metal composite
Sources cited DDaily claim the S6 will sport a glass front and back and metal sides, in a hat tip in the direction of the Apple iPhone.
As long-time fans of His Iveness's iPhone aesthetic, we’re hoping this is what Samsung opts for.
It also makes sense from Samsung’s point of view to opt for something that differentiates the Galaxy S6 from the all-metal Galaxy A range. So the omens are good for this one.
They'll be five different variants
A leaked promo shot sourced by CNET suggests that Samsung will hedge its bets by offering the Galaxy S6 in five different variants.
Alongside the standard model, we'll apparently also be to choose from a more hardwearing tough-phone version of the handset. And another with a super-premium metal build.
More interesting still is the possibility of versions with sloping second screens, which take after the Galaxy Note Edge from last year (we've got more on this further down the page in the 'screen rumours section).
One of these will apparently featuring a secondary, slanting screen on the right-hand side, while the other packs the same feature but on the left.
The different designs are purportedly intended to make the phone easy to use for left and right-handed tech fans.
Samsung Galaxy S6 screen rumours
From bendy displays to lavish screen tech, here's the latest...
Expect a Quad HD 2K display
A leaked user agent profile, which is a kind of snapshot of specifications that Samsung provide to content creators, suggests the S6 will rock an eye-strokingly lovely Quad HD 2K display.
That’s a major upgrade by anyone’s standards and would put the handset in line with LG’s lavishly equipped G3.
But perhaps that’s what Samsung needs to do after criticisms that the Galaxy S5’s muted allure for tech fans was because it was an incremental update from the Galaxy S4.
It'd certainly be welcomed by the old school Android army who've traditionally prize heavy duty specs over Apple-style design nous.
It’s the year curved, flexible screen finally makes it to a Galaxy S phone
A bendable or curved screen has been mooted to feature on a mass-market Samsung device for years now, but has never yet moved beyond the concept phones the handset-maker shows off at tech expos.
So what makes this year any different? Well, according to Chinese site Ledwin, Samsung is building a factory just to work on flexible screen tech.
More importantly, it wants the plant to be “fully operational as soon as possible”, so that flexible screens can figure on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5.
No, it really will have a curved screen
A press invite for Samsung’s Mobile World Congress press call sent out in February showed the profile of a handset with a major kink in it.
The text tagline ‘What’s next?’ didn’t give much away. But the photo tells you that one way or another, a curved form factor will figure somewhere in the Galaxy S6.
The question is whether it’ll be on board the standard edition. Or whether the model Samsung is teasing is in the invitation is an Galaxy Edge variant of the S6.
If it’s the latter, it’d likely launch alongside the regular version but will be aimed at a more niche audience.
Samsung Galaxy S6 camera rumours
How are the S6's imaging credentials looking? We put you in the picture.
The main camera will be upgraded to 20 megapixels
The way some insiders tell it, the Galaxy S6's rear-facing shooter will be improved from 16 megapixels to 20 megapixels.
That’s the same megapixel count as the current crop of Xperia Z smartphones.
Front facer? That’s going up to five megapixels
The same leakers claim that selfie-fanciers will be able to capture their frame their fizzogs in even more flattering light, with the front-facing camera purportedly set to brought in lie with the Galaxy Note 4 at five megapixels.
This time the camera's 'intelligent'
This one stems from an official Samsung blog post written by DongHoon Jang, Samsung's senior vice president and head of camera R&D.
He wrote: "The same passion and dedication has been put into building the cameras for the release of our 2015 flagship model
"It will be intelligent and do all the thinking for the users, allowing them to take amazing pictures under any conditions, without having to worry about anything more than just pressing a shutter button."
Sounds like a major update of the Galaxy S range's imaging capabilities is afoot. So that's promising.
And it'll be secreted in a square housing
Samsung's Mobile Twitter account posted a video teaser that clearly shows the S6 will feature a square camera housing. Why? Just aesthetics? We don't know yet.
The clip also made mention of a "great vision" and a "unique view", which may or may not mean we've got a much improved camera and lush display to look forward to.
Or may just be airy marketing speak that doesn't mean much at all. Time will tell.
The battery will be smaller than the Galaxy S5's
A battery that seems to be intended for the Galaxy S6 was snapped in the wild in mid-February. And perhaps surprisingly, it's a 2600mAh number that's less beefy than the cell in the Galaxy S5.
But that's not to say the S6 will run out of juice quicker.
To get around that potentially thorny issue, Samsung will purportedly fit its next-gen phone with a 14mm chipset that's more power-efficient than before.
Add to that the fact the phone will run the similarly battery-boosting Lollipop version of Android out of the box and there's no reason they'll be any difference in battery longevity at all.
Samsung Galaxy S6 processor rumours
Where's the beef? Here's the beef...
Pencil in an octa-core processor
The same benchmark stats that served up gossip on the Galaxy S6’s screen also suggest that the handset will pack an octa–core processor.
This is no surprise, as Samsung often puts one of these lightning quick chips in certain Asian variants of its handsets.
However, European and US editions are likely to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 quad–core chipset, a component which is apparently being prepped for 2015’s best handsets right now.
Or it could be an octa-core Exynos 7420 chipset
Separate benchmark tests suggest Samsung will go with its own Exynos 7420 processor instead of opting for Qualcomm. They'll still be eight cores, though.
The better news is that if the tests can be trusted, the Galaxy S6 is going to be a beast of a smartphone with an all-time high benchmark score of 60,978.
Samsung Galaxy S6 software rumours
Bloatware? Stripped down OS? Novelty features? Here's what we think we know.
The fingerprint scanner has been revamped
Samsung’s Touch ID biometric security tech was let down by the shape of the button in which it was secreted.
The tablet-shape and swipe-to-activate mechanism meant there wasn’t a wide enough surface area for users’ prints to register, meaning the process was fiddly and inaccurate.
To address that this time Samsung will apparently plump for a ‘press-on’ sensoras found in the iPhone.
It’ll run Android Lollipop
The latest 5.0 version of Google’s smartphone software will power the handset. That’s not likely to surprise anyone, though, given that it’ll have been out for the best part of five months by the time the Galaxy S6 drops.
You'll be able to charge it wirelessly
In a post on Samsung's official blog Seho Park, principal engineer IT and mobile division at Samsung Electronics, declared that "with our upcoming Galaxy smartphones, users will be able to enter a new wireless world like never before".
While he didn't mention the Samsung Galaxy S6 by name, it's pretty obvious that it'll be on board. Not least because the teaser blog appeared on February 17th - a matter of weeks before the date of the Galaxy S6's big reveal.
Samsung Galaxy S6 release date and launch rumours
The when and the where.
It's launching at Mobile World Congress
Samsung has announced a press call on March 1st at the MWC expo in Barcelona.
The invite to the Samsung Unpacked event doesn’t name the Galaxy S6 by name.
But with MWC now firmly established as Samsung’s location of choice for Galaxy S launches, it’s nigh-on to be what’s in store for us.
Samsung has also confirmed, it’ll be streaming the event online. You’ll be able to watch it all here. Events kick off 6.30pm UK time.
It’ll be in shops six or so weeks later
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S5 on February 25th. But it didn’t land in stores until April 11th.
That kind of six weeks’ waiting time is pretty much standard for Samsung flagship phones, so there’s no reason to expect this year will be any different.
But hang on. Some say it'll tip up on March 22nd
This rumour stems from a source who claims that Samsung has banned its employees from taking holiday between 22nd and 30th March.
This is standard practice for the likes of Apple and Samsung when they're bringing a new phone to market. The rationale being that they'll need all hands to the pump to ensure they can keep up with day-one demand.
And adding more intrigue to the stew of rumours is that Samsung has also issue a holiday ban between April 19th and April 27th.
Some tech-watchers reckon the second holiday blackspot will be marked by the release of another Samsung gadget. Hot contenders are the Galaxy S6 Edge or a Galaxy S6 tough phone variant.
Samsung Galaxy S6 price rumours
Just how much is this going to cost you?
Unless Samsung radically changes its strategy in the face of its flagging sales, you can once again expect the Galaxy S6 to be on sale from £40 per month or so over two years from launch. Expect to pay an upfront fee on top too.
SIM free pricing
If you want to pick up the Galaxy S6 off-contract and SIM free, anticipate paying between £570 and £600.
Networks began taking pre-orders for the Galaxy S5 four weeks after it was unveiled. A one-month wait is likely to apply this time around too.
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