Samsung May Unleash a Beast
Hot off the rumor mill on Wednesday is news of a new feature Samsung may include in its upcoming Galaxy S8. It's dubbed "Beast Mode," and that's just about all that is known about it so far.
Spotted in an EU trademark application, Beast Mode would apply to smartphones, mobile phones and application software for smartphones, noted Galaxy Club, a Netherlands-based blog.
The Galaxy S8 is expected to be the first smartphone built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 processor. If true, that lines up with the notion that Beast Mode could allow super high performance.
Another rumor is that the Galaxy S8 will have an optical fingerprint scanner built into the display instead of the body.
Further, it's rumored that it will include Bluetooth 5.0, recently approved by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group -- and that idea seems to carry a fair amount of weight.
Countering Bad PR
"There's a strong possibility that Samsung will incorporate Bluetooth 5 into the Galaxy S8," said Ken Hyers, director of wireless device strategies at Strategy Analytics.
"With the cancellation of the Note7, the Galaxy S8 is now [Samsung's] premier device to showcase the latest and best smartphone technology," he told TechNewsWorld.
Samsung had to institute a global recall of millions of Galaxy Note7s after multiple instances in which the device spontaneously burst into flames. Some replacement devices also caught fire.
"Samsung has a PR problem," observed Michael Jude, a program manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan. "Note7 is a disaster, and they need something with which to seize the technological high ground."
Putting cutting-edge technologies in the S8 "will help a lot," he told TechNewsWorld.
"Remember, practically nothing is Bluetooth 5-compliant," Jude noted. "As long as the S8 can talk to existing Bluetooth devices, it's golden. People will be drawn to the latest, greatest technology."
Bluetooth 5.0 doesn't replace 4.0, 4.1 or 4.2. It extends the functionality of these previous versions of the Bluetooth Core Specification.
Further, Bluetooth 5.0 lets manufacturers leverage interoperability and performance improvements incorporated in the core specs since 4.2 was released.
"From Bluetooth headsets and speakers to home control, personal robots and drones, Bluetooth is a default technology for connecting devices, with the smartphone as the hub of consumers' device universe," Strategy Analytics' Hyers remarked.
"We are rapidly moving into a more complex connected device world," he pointed out.
Samsung has focused heavily on the Internet of Things, offering smart TVs and smart appliances that can be tied to its smartphones.
Bluetooth 5 "is a huge advance over previous versions of Bluetooth from a connectivity speed and capacity standpoint," Hyers pointed out, noting that it's a natural fit for Samsung's next flagship device.
The S8 will "be both a mass market flagship and a showcase for Samsung's technological leadership" since the company has canceled its Note series of phablets, he said.
Therefore, Samsung "will be careful to only put technology and features in it that it's certain will not create issues," Hyers contended. As a relatively low-risk feature, Bluetooth 5 likely will appear in the S8 in Q1 2017.
Bluetooth 5.0 Specs
Bluetooth 5.0 offers 2Mbps of bandwidth, twice that of Bluetooth 4.2, with low energy.
The bandwidth can be decreased to achieve up to 4x the broadcast range of Bluetooth 4.2 with the same power requirement. That means home automation and security devices can cover entire homes, buildings or locations.
Developers can adjust the broadcast range, speed and security for different environments.
Bluetooth 5.0 delivers reliable Internet of Things connections, and it will increase the relevance of beacons and other location awareness technologies, which will enable a seamless IoT experience.
It also has ad extensions that enable more efficient use of broadcasting channels on the 2.4 GHz band.
Slot availability masks can detect and prevent interference on neighboring bands.
Keeping the Note7's Specter at Bay
Many consumers returned their Note7 phablets to purchase an older Galaxy S7, Hyers said. "Given that history, "I expect that the Galaxy S8 will be the most carefully tested and verified smartphone ever released."
Also, consumers in the know will see Bluetooth 5 as a future-proof technology, he suggested, while early adopters will see it as a useful item.