It seems pretty darn likely that Samsung is going to announce the Galaxy S6 during the Mobile World Congress trade show. The company has a press conference scheduled for March 1 in Barcelona, which we'll be attending, and we think we're going to hear a lot of news out of the South Korean company. That includes possible announcements for the Galaxy S6 and even the S6 Edge (or whatever Samsung eventually calls that device).
So what can we expect from Samsung's next flagship Android smartphone? There have been plenty of rumors that have painted a pretty decent picture, though as always we think there's still going to be an element of surprise during Samsung's announcement. We think we have enough material to work with, however, so here's what we're expecting Samsung to announce on March 1.
1. Exynos Processor Instead of Snapdragon 810
It has become pretty apparent that Samsung is going to launch the Galaxy S6 with its own 64-bit Exynos processor onboard, instead of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. Rumors suggested that Samsung ran into overheating issues, even though other manufacturers may not have, and ultimately decided to bail on a Snapdragon 810 chip. The company typically launches a Qualcomm variant of its smartphones in the U.S., however, so we'll be interested to see how this affects its U.S. launch on carriers and if Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all pick it up at the same time.
2. The Best Design Yet
Several leaked photos and renders from case makers have provided a pretty decent look at what we think is the final Galaxy S6 design. It almost certainly looks like Samsung is going to employ a metal frame, similar to what we saw with the Galaxy Note 4.
That's going to be an appreciated step away from the nearly all-plastic design used in Samsung's previous models which, while premium, didn't look or feel as first-class as devices like the HTC One (M8). We're also expecting a 5.1-inch Quad HD display, and anything less could be disappointing since the Note 4 also packs a Quad HD screen and competitors have also moved to that resolution.
We believe this is going to be the best designed Galaxy smartphone to date, but this also means it should be sturdy and more resistant to damage than earlier models, too.
3. Camera Advancements
The Galaxy S5 has a 16-megapixel camera, and Samsung is apparently going to step it up once again with a new 20-megapixel module in the Galaxy S6. We hope that means sharper images than ever before – though as Apple and HTC have proved in the past, it's not always about the megapixel count. Leaked photos back up these rumors, with a large camera module appearing on the back of the alleged device.
The Galaxy S5 already takes some pretty solid photos, and we hope the software on the Galaxy S6 has been tweaked so that it can focus and snap pictures even quicker in low-light situations. Samsung usually positions its Galaxy devices as all-around lifestyle phones, and we expect the camera discussion to be a large part of its announcement.
4. Back Panel Superpowers
In late January a new rumor cropped up suggesting that Samsung may sell special back-cover accessories that add different functions to the Galaxy S6.
There are various functions for these covers, and rumor has it Samsung will launch one that might be able to measure your blood sugar – useful for diabetics – another that might feature a Yodafone-like eInk display for notifications and for reading. A third will reportedly sync up with different fitness machines to provide information on your workout and will sync with S Health.
Finally, one cover might allow you to boost that 20-megapixel camera even further by supporting special lenses created by third-party developers. That might might Ollo-clip like functionality for different lenses, like a fish-eye attachment or a super-zoom module, for example.
5. A Lighter Version of TouchWiz
Of all the features rumored for the Galaxy S6, this might be one we're most excited about. Samsung is apparently ready to dial-back TouchWiz, allowing for a more pure Android 5.0 Lollipop experience out of the box.
Rumor has it the company will still offer plenty of other additional software features, but that users can download them on their own instead of finding them all pre-loaded on the device immediately. Lightening up TouchWiz could help improve overall performance on the device – everything should run a lot smoother without that extra software onboard.
Samsung improved the UI last year, and it seems like a natural step to hear about even more improvements on March 1.
All-in, it sounds like the Galaxy S6 is going to pack a lot of heat. It's going to need to – Samsung's mobile phone sales slipped in 2014 in the face of stiff competition in key markets like the United States and China, the latter of which is presenting growth opportunities for budget Android makers and for Apple's iPhone. We'll be reporting live from Samsung's event in Barcelona on March 1, so stick around for all of the news out of the show.