SEOUL— Samsung Electronics Co. will add a pressure-sensitive display and a new high-speed charging port to its coming line of flagship smartphones slated to be launched in March, according to people familiar with the matter.
The South Korean technology company is also considering adding a retina scanner to some versions of the flagship device, though with three months to go, these people said that features could change.
The improvements to the new Galaxy S7 smartphone, as the new device will be called, aren’t a major departure from its predecessor, the Galaxy S6.
Like this year’s flagship device, the new smartphone will be offered alongside a premium curved-screen version, called the Galaxy S7 Edge, the people said.
A spokesman for Samsung declined to comment.
The success of the new phone will be an early test for Samsung’s new mobile chief, D.J. Koh, whom Samsung recently promoted in hopes that new leadership can revive the fortunes of the world’s biggest smartphone maker after two years of disappointing sales.
As part of a broader annual reshuffle at Samsung earlier this month, Mr. Koh, Samsung’s former head of mobile research and development, took over from longtime mobile chief J.K. Shin, and will now oversee mobile R&D, product planning, design, manufacturing and sales and marketing.
Mr. Koh will need the new flagship to be successful. After last year’s Galaxy S5 flopped, this year’s Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge were praised by consumers. However, Mr. Shin misjudged demand for the popular curved-screen version, resulting in a second straight year of mobile profit declines.
In some ways, the changes involving the Galaxy S7 will be less striking than those made earlier this year, when Samsung added the curved-screen companion to the Galaxy S6 and redesigned the look and feel of the handsets. Next year’s flagship will look largely similar to the Galaxy S6 and many of the new features take cues from other handsets already available on the market.
The pressure-sensitive display, for instance, will be similar to that offered by rival AppleInc. on the iPhone 6s earlier this year. The responsive display allows the phone to interpret different taps and touches depending on how the user presses on the touch screen.
The Galaxy S7 will likely also feature a next-generation charging and connection port called a USB Type-C port, the people said, which will allow for a full day’s charge in under 30 minutes and in some cases significantly faster than that. The port has already appeared in smartphones manufactured by LG Electronics Co., Huawei Technologies Co. and others.
The noncurved version of the Galaxy S7 will likely also include an external memory card slot, one of these people said.
The Galaxy S7 will also feature an improved camera that is optimized for lowlight photography and is flush with the back of the phone, these people said, unlike the Galaxy S6 camera that bulged out the back of the device.
The new devices will go on sale in the U.S. in mid-March, these people said, after its expected announcement on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona in late February. By comparison, the Galaxy S6 was available in stores only about six weeks after its announcement earlier this year.
The accelerated timeline is an apparent attempt to capitalize on buzz around the device during its announcement, these people said.
Source: The Wall Street Journal