MWC 2016: what to expect from Samsung

The Mobile World Congress is right around the corner and, as we all know, we are about to witness the reveal of a heap of awesome new gadgets. Among the manufacturers that are about to make an appearance is, as we all know, Samsung.

MWC is set to start on the 22nd of February which is when we will get to have a close look at everything announced. Sammy has an event scheduled for the 21st of February, which is when we expect it to unveil its new flagship duo – the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge.

Now, while we are pretty sure that the two smartphones would be the apex of the show, it would still make sense if Samsung makes a couple of extra announcements. If you are going to be bringing out new tech, MWC is probably the best place to do it, due to the sheer amount of attention the event gets. So, here's the likely and unlikely stuff we would expect from Samsung.


Galaxy S7 / Galaxy S7 edge

There's little doubt that we are going to see the two S7s — Samsung's own slogan for its Unpacked 2016 event it #TheNextGalaxy. The two new smartphones are expected to be a "regular size", 5.1-inch Galaxy S7 and a larger, 5.5-inch Galaxy S7 edge. Both will be divided into two different variants as well – some will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC, with which Sammy helped in both design and manufacturing, while others will have the home-brewed Exynos 8890 silicone. Any variant is expected to have a generous amount of 4 GB of RAM under its hood.

Both smartphones are also expected to carry pretty hefty batteries – a 3,000 mAh cell in the Galaxy S7 and 3,600 mAh in the Galaxy S7 edge, reports are saying, some even claiming a 2-day battery life.

For the camera department, the rumor mill claims that Samsung will be outfitting the new Galaxies with a large 1/2" sensor with a 12 MP resolution. This means larger individual pixels, which should also mean better low light performance — we saw this work great with the Sony IMX377, which has 1.55 μm pixels, in the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

Other rumored features suggest the return of the microSD slot for storage expansion and water-proofing. And, naturally, a change in looks, which is more like a facelift than a radical redesign. All the leaked images of the expected Galaxy S7 show us a more Note 5-like design language, while the Galaxy S7 edge continues to do the signature dual-curved screen, with the phone's body being a bit more rounded off and softer at the edges.


Gear 360

We've heard rumors and even seen renders of a 360-degree camera that may just be unveiled alongside the new Galaxies. The device is meant to shoot videos that are to be enjoyed mainly with VR goggles. Seeing as other rumors do claim that anyone who pre-orders the Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge will also get a pair of Gear VR goggles for free, we can see how the Unpacked 2016 event can have a VR undertone to it.

The reports don't reveal every key detail, but offer a solid idea of what to expect. Described as a "compact spherical camera", the Gear 360 achieves 360-degree imagery by virtue of 180-degree fisheye lenses. Through Bluetooth and a supplementary Gear 360 Connect app, the device will certainly operate with the Galaxy S7 line, and could potentially offer support to recent, top-end handsets like the Note 5.

The experience includes a Gallery app as well as a viewfinder, which packs a slew of controls like HDR, ISO settings and the like. Users can film in full 360 degrees at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 3840, or at 180 degrees from either of the two cameras at 1920 x 1920. A live feed of the camera can be beamed back to the connected handset, although it's unclear, at this stage, whether live streaming to other devices is part of the package.

The camera includes its own battery and on-board storage, though the capacities of either have yet to be established. There's no word on the price at this moment. Considering the accessible ($99) cost of the Gear VR versus comparable devices, one can only hope that the Gear 360 will follow a similar trend.

Samsung Pay expansion

Back during CES 2016, Samsung made a promise that its electronic payment service — Samsung Pay — will be expanding to the UK, Australia, Spain, China, Singapore. and Brazil. Additionally, the service will also be supported by Sammy's flagship wearable – the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches.

While no date was given for the expansion, "early in 2016" was mentioned. Seeing as the Unpacked 2016 is a pretty major event in the first half of this year, it's very likely that this is the time when Samsung will give us a more accurate date for when the new countries will get support for Samsung Pay and when the smartwatch app will launch.

Not so likely

A new Samsung Tab S

The Samsung Tab S and Tab S2 are pretty impressive Android tablets, capable of giving Apple's respective iPad Airs and minis a run for their money. While we may be eager to see a new Tab S3 this year, we don't think it's very likely that it may make an appearance at the 2016 MWC, despite sporadic Internet rumors claiming that this may happen. Firstly, the original Tab S was announced in June of 2014, while the Tab S2 was announced in July of 2015 – it doesn't seem very likely for the Tab S3 to make an appearance at a late February event. Secondly, the Tab S is a flagship line, and we don't think Samsung would like to split the spotlight between it and the new entries in the Galaxy S line. As an addendum to the latter point — Samsung just announced the TabPro S less than a couple of months ago, which is a Windows-loaded tablet, positioned as a competitor to Microsoft's own Surface Pro 4.

But as long as we are entertaining rumors — some (not very trustworthy) reports out there are claiming that Sammy is toying with an "edge" concept for the Galaxy Tab S3. A tablet with a secondary screen could have some cool uses for multitasking and we might even see the return of the Edge Panels, which we haven't seen since the original curved phone — the Galaxy Note Edge. But this is pure speculation based on faint whispers.


A new smartwatch

Seeing as Samsung just announced fresh new luxurious finishes for its Gear S2 Classic and a new fitness wearable to sync with it, it looks like the company isn't ready to take the spotlight off its top smartwatch. The rumor mill has also been silent on the matter. What we expect to hear about the Gear S line is the launch date for the Samsung Pay app and possibly some more functionality for its fitness tracking features.



1. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'm only slightly interested in sammy's event. Not bringing something new besides a new soc and camera just isn't that exciting. More excited about Lg this year, I'm not looking to upgrade but still the G5 peaks my interest.

3. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

SD card, new camera, bigger battery aswell as being water proof is something many people are interested in when compared to the S6. We haven't heard much from LG, that's why you're more interested.

10. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I'm not more interested because I haven't heard much, I'm more interested because LG needs to bring it this year the g4 or v10 weren't anything special, and the G5 needs to be.(maybe not need but you know what I mean). The S7 is bound to be good (Thought this before any leaks at all) it's just not exciting when you expect something to be good. I don't expect much from the G5 therefor my interests in what LG will unveil at MWC is peaked.

11. TerryTerius unregistered

Which is exactly why I don't like leaks. It kills the anticipation and the mystery.

14. NonFanBoy

Posts: 180; Member since: May 28, 2015

Samsung rumors so far: 1. Gear Fit 2 2. Larger Gear S2 (Hope its true) 3. Smart belt 4. Smart ear buds There is a good possibility that some of these products will be released in MWC or later this year. This might grab your interest.

15. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Possibly once they have been announced and I find out what they're all about. This year's smartwatches do interest me but hey have to work with ios since I have an iPhone. I hope I don't miss out on the smartwatch i've been waiting for because it doesn't support ios 'i'll be pissed if i do.

2. Jason2k13

Posts: 1469; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

I normally buy a new flagship phone every 2 years, but if the galaxy S7 and S7 edge both have an SD slot aswell as being water proof, I will be selling my S6 edge.

4. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

A new Gear is not gonna happen as they recently released new finishes for the Gear S2 Classic. Maybe some fitness bands. I really do wish for a Surface 3 competitor with a more power processor at the $400 price point with Keyboard cover included and running Windows 10

5. Clars123

Posts: 1078; Member since: Mar 16, 2015 upgraded Gear fit with a new UI would be nice

7. vincelongman

Posts: 5724; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Hopefully a Gear S3 in Q3/Q4 with a new Exynos with A35s

6. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

The s7 will be boring

12. TerryTerius unregistered

If it has a QHD screen, improved camera, faster processor, faster fingerprint sensor, microSD card slot, waterproofing, vastly improved battery life and a better UI from Samsung supposedly working with Google… What the heck else are you looking for the phone? I'm not asking facetiously, I'm honestly curious.

16. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

That's exactly my point. Updates that's all they are. A redesign? Nope. A killer feature? Nope. It's not good enough. Maybe I'm being spoilt, but is there a good reason I should pay an 800 dollar upgrade when there is nothing in for it?

17. shaineql

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

All phones are like that mate. Only one that has potential to bring something new is Surface phone with stuff like continuum and it being Windows 10 that can run PC apps.

18. TerryTerius unregistered

The Ferrari 488 is not that much faster than the 458. Only a couple seconds per lap (probably), which to be fair and the racing world is an eternity. But that is the norm. Refinement is the standard, novel (useful) ideas and massive leaps in performance are rare. Period. If we're talking about practical useful features then we plateaued for smartphones. They already have replaced virtually everything we used to carry. Flashlight, pocket camera, cell phone, PDA calculator, and web browser all in one. At this point, it is refining upon the core principles of what people actually use rather than creating for the sake of creating. That definitely doesn't mean new ideas won't take hold, but the pace will slow down like every other industry since the dawn of man and that was predictable from the creation of the modern smartphone. When is the last time you saw a truly novel or revolutionary feature on a PC or iMac? Until the next big technological revolution you aren't going to see some large dramatic changes in smartphones. Whether that's because of AI, phones becoming hubs for other devices and interconnected homes or whatever else it may be. From hands-free gestures to swiveling cameras to unusual design and other random software features that exist for the sake of being differentiators. There are lots of examples of that through the history of mobile phones and that still holds true for the past six or seven years. And people more often than not labeled them as gimmicks and never used them. That is exactly why you don't see something random and new now from Samsung because they learned that lesson. So yes, you are being unrealistic. All you were going to see are slight variations on old ideas and refinements. And that would be true from 4k screens to LG's potential slide out battery or anything else you want to name. Step back and think about it, you know I'm right.

22. BradyCrack

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Your missing my point. Completely missing my point. I understand, there is not going to be a big change. But say what if I had the the S6? Would I spend $800 on a useless upgrade and waste a perfectly good phone? It's a smartphone. All people use them for is to text and Google. That's it. You don't need to waste your money. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe it'll still be the top phone.

23. TerryTerius unregistered

At no point did you say you had an s6. In that case, it is just an incremental upgrade (barring waterproofing and micro SD) and may not be worth it to you. For me I always need a better camera because of the nature of my work, and having better battery life is a major bonus too. So in my case it is. But coming from the S six what is already a fantastic phone, I suppose you'll be alright this year and you can wait a cycle or two.

24. TerryTerius unregistered

And to be fair, that kind of depends on the person. I know a couple of individuals who do some ridiculous things with their phones but... that's another conversation for another time and they aren't representative of the average customer anyway.

8. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

Why no 6.0'' or above premium device? Why basically the same design since ever? Why no earphones/audio improvements? Why being one step behind iphone instead of being three ahead?...

9. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

The future is so 'rose gold' predictable...

13. TerryTerius unregistered

I would really like for you to list how the S6 is behind the 6S, much less the S7 which we haven't even seen yet. You are always free to buy better headphones than the ones Samsung are giving giving you free of charge. And the 6 inch thing is probably because the overwhelming majority of consumers don't want a phone that large and playing to niche markets only gets you niche customers.

19. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

well, i'm not one of those 'overwhelming', that's why i come to a specialized tech site and not to some cnn/tech. im not fan of any brand, as long as it doesnt provide me with a breathtaking device. innovation. creativity. im a huge fan of electronic device design (an example of great design by my opinion from 70's or - go compare it with Samsung and Apple products 40 years later), so this debate over smartphone fan-ism is not worth another word from me. btw i bought level in from samsung and they suck. passed them on to my GF for watchin movies at night and - as a whole, i prefer samsung products to apple products. i can't stand copycats though.

20. TerryTerius unregistered

I didn't say overwhelming to exaggerate. I said it because handsets around five inches outsell handsets 5.5+ by a huge margin. The 6 for example outsold the 6+ 6 to 1. I think that honestly expecting any smartphone company to consistently drop what your refer to as breathtaking devices every year with completely different designs is highly unrealistic. The only industry I can think of that operates like that is fashion, and even then design cues take two or three years to completely filter out. And highly complex or novel design is more easy to achieve when you are doling out small batches with exotic materials or really interesting hard to manufacture shapes. Especially not when certain standards become normalized across competing manufacturers. That's the exact reason why mass-produced cars are virtually never as attractive as limited runs or the higher end of the market. Massive change, rapid growth, plateauing, and another period of change. That is the pattern of almost every industry. Refinement is the norm while novel ideas are rare.

21. Switch00

Posts: 536; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

You're talking economy here. I'm talking love. I'm sure Samsung could risk one premium device 'into the unknown' a year. So how do you like Grundig's Rosita Vision 2000? C'mon, admit it!

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