In just a few days, on March 1, Samsung will finally announce its latest flagship smartphone at an event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The rumor mill has been hard at work, churning out photos and leaking specs, and we've amassed them all here.
So, what can we expect from a Galaxy S6 ? All of this is conjecture, of course, but here's our best educated guesses on the details of Samsung's next big thing. We'll also have a huge team on the ground in Barcelona, so be sure to check back regularly.
Announcement and release dates
Samsung has MWC. We can likely expect the phone to make its debut there: the Samsung Galaxy S5 was unveiled at MWC 2014, and its predecessor the Samsung Galaxy S4 got its own splashy (and unintentionally controversial) launch event at Radio City Music Hall weeks after MWC in March 2013. Both phones went on sale a few weeks later.March 1, at
We've heard that the display on Samsung's upcoming flagship phone will be anywhere between 5 and 5.5 inches. The Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch display, and larger screen sizes are generally relegated to the Galaxy Note phablet line, so we should expect the smaller, more conservative number to be the right one.
The well-regarded Samsung Galaxy Note 4 packs a power-sipping AMOLED display, like just about every other Samsung smartphone -- expect one here, too.
Could the Galaxy S6 sport a curved edge? Both the recently leaked images of potential cases (exclusively leaked to CNET Korea) for the Galaxy S6 and Samsung's teaser invitation for its Unpacked event in Barcelona hint that a curvaceous chassis might be in the cards.
The Galaxy Note Edge made waves with its distinct design, so it stands to reason Samsung might want to expand on the idea. At CES this year, we also caught wind of LG prototypes boasting two curved edges, one-upping Samsung's Edge. There still hasn't been much of a use case for these extra edge-displays (besides looking cool), but if more devices pick up on the trend, we just might see app developers getting on board, too.
Another option would see Samsung releasing multiple variants of its new flagship, with curved displays and without. A Galaxy S6 might be akin to a more traditional Samsung flagship, while the Galaxy Edge could prove to be the curved model we've been anticipating.
New design, new cases?
And let's not forget the accessory market. If Samsung does indeed go for one or two curves on the upcoming Galaxy S6, you might be hard-pressed to find your favorite case. Consider the popular Mophie battery pack cases: these cases will need to be redesigned with new curves in mind. Unless a curved Galaxy S6 goes gangbusters, there's a chance many companies won't bother retooling their entire design processes to court a niche design. That said, this is Samsung's flagship phone, and we can expect a fair number of accessory makers will jump at the chance to meet the demand.
Plastic or metal?
This is anyone's guess, though devices like the all-metal Samsung Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A3, as well as the Galaxy A7, suggest that Samsung might be looking to spruce up its image with premium metal designs.
Alpha and Note 4 have metal frames but plastic backing.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 4 both sported excellent 16-megapixels cameras, though the former lacked optical image stabilization. That's becoming increasingly prevalent on kitted-out smartphones -- see the 8-megapixel camera on the iPhone 6 Plus -- so it stands to reason Samsung would bake it into their latest phone's rear camera.
Samsung usually bumps up the megapixels as they release newer models: we could see a 16-megapixel rear camera, or a shooter that goes as high as 21 megapixels.
We can likely expect a beefy front-shooter, too. Like it or not, smartphones at CES 2015 were all about the selfie, so there's a good chance Samsung will pay close attention to the oft-ignored front-facing camera. Consider the HTC Desire Eye: it has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with a flash, for taking the perfect selfie. But the Galaxy Note 4 offered a rear-camera selfie-solution that alerts you when your face in in frame, and automatically takes a photo for you. If Samsung sticks to a "normal" megapixel count on its front facing shooter, you'll still have the rear camera as an option for your stellar selfies.
Android 5.0 Lollipop will be the star of the show, coupled with Samsung's TouchWiz Android skin. But there's a curious wrinkle here: Some rumors claim that Samsung is hoping to dial down TouchWiz on the new device, with the aim of improving performance. But TouchWiz isn't dead: it's a critical part of Samsung's Android identity, and while the company has been reining in features for some time now, don't expect a pure Android experience.
Expect top-of-the-line guts for the Galaxy S6. We expect a Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor from Qualcomm (as found in the upcoming LG G Flex 2) , but reports suggest that Samsung may be opting for its own Exynos 7420 for the first run, and possibly even issuing two variants of the phone.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 chip reportedly overheated during testing, which may have prompted Samsung to stick to its own wares. Microsoft has also confirmed that it will use the Snapdragon 810 in a flagship Lumia device, which could lend a new Lumia smartphone some extra processing power over a Samsung S6 equipped with an Exynos chip. That said, Samsung could also release variants of the Galaxy S6 with different processors in different territories -- something it's done with past flagship phones.
Scroll down for a chronological look at the latest rumors
February 26, 2015
A pair of phones appear in a leaked image, and allegedly offer up the closest look of Samsung's upcoming devices yet. The rumor mill believes these are the real deal, pointing to previous suggestions that Samsung is actually going to unveil a pair of devices: one with a curved display, and a "traditional" non-curved device.
February 25, 2015
Speaking of rumor mills: Samsung pokes a little fun at all of the conjecture and rumor-mongering with a comical little teaser site of its own. The page features relatively outlandish interpretations of all of the hearsay floating around the Web, including solid glass "prototypes" and interfaces splayed out across orbs.
February 23, 2015
Pop over to a sign-up page on T-Mobile's website, and you'll see the words "Six Appeal" sitting above a mystery Samsung device with curved edge, not unlike the one featured on Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge. Couple that with the March 1st teaser date and you've got a not so subtle nod that something curved is coming out of Samsung, soon.
February 17, 2015
In a blog post, Samsung outlines a "commitment to a wireless future" and hails the advances that've been made in wireless charging technology. The timing of these affirmations is so close to Samsung's upcoming Unpacked event that it's hard to dismiss as mere coincidence.
February 5, 2015
A photo leaked exclusively to CNET Korea shows off what are alleged to be multiple variants of a new Samsung flagship phone -- some curved, some not.
February 4, 2015
Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 processor is rumored to have overheated during testing, which reportedly prompted Samsung to opt for a version of its own Exynos processor for the Galaxy S6.
February 2, 2015
Well, it won't be long now: Samsung has officially announced a date for its Galaxy Unpacked event, just a day before Mobile World Congress. At last year's Galaxy Unpacked we saw the Galaxy S5, the Gear 2 and the Gear Fit, so it stands to reason that we could expect to see a new flagship device.
The announcement of an upcoming announcement isn't enough to slow down the rumor mill: model numbers tied to a mystery pair of Samsung mobile pones have allegedly turned up on an Indian import/export site, and both sport 5-inch displays. This wouldn't be too much of a stretch -- the Galaxy S5 packs a 5.1-inch display -- but it would certainly reverse the trend of increasingly large smartphones. Pair this with the rumored 2,560 by 1,440 quad-HD display and you have a potentially sharp screen.
January 21, 2015
Some early rumors suggested that the upcoming Samsung flagship phone would pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, while others predicted the device would ship with a Samsung Exynos processor. A report from Bloomberg seems to confirm the latter: Samsung is allegedly not using the Snapdragon 810 in its upcoming device, citing issues with the processor overheating during testing.
January 13, 2015
Citing remarks from "industry sources," Business Korea notes that Samsung is in the process of dialing down the TouchWiz experience for its upcoming Galaxy S6. Samsung's TouchWiz interface all but takes over the Android experience, and while it adds numerous features and functionality, I've always preferred a cleaner, stock experience. Citing "a delay in responsiveness" from all of the added functionality TouchWiz bakes in, the company will reportedly be streamlining things for future devices. Whenever the Galaxy S6 is announced, there's a chance we'll be treated to a leaner software experience.
January 12, 2015
CES 2015 was still fresh on our minds when a rumor surfaced that Samsung might actually unveil two versions of its Galaxy S6. One would mimic the curved display found on the Galaxy Note Edge, while the other would offer a metal design, as opposed to Samsung's generally plastic wares.
December 12, 2014
A picture is worth a thousand rumors: Dutch blog Toptienmobiel leaked this image of someone holding what's alleged to be the Galaxy S6, with a big screen and a thin bezel. We'll take this image with a grain of salt, of course.
December 5, 2014
The rumors started to firm up in December, when benchmarking site AnTuTu allegedly displayed some of the specs in its database. Those details showed a device packing the octa-core Samsung Exynos 7420 processor and a 5.5-inch display with a 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution. The device also reportedly has a 20-megapixel rear-shooter, a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, 3GB of RAM and a paltry 32GB of storage -- you can expect that to be expanded with microSD cards.
November 4, 2014
The rumors started, as always, with sources leaking specs. Samsung is reportedly starting from scratch with the Galaxy S6, which is reportedly codenamed "Project Zero." We learned that it might feature a "Quad HD" display (2,560x1,440-pixel resolution), and pack a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a rear shooter offering between 16 and 20 megapixels. The device is also speculated to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU in some markets, and a Samsung Exynos 7420 in others.
Editors' note: This article was originally published in on January 15 2015, and has been updated regularly since then to include new rumors as they appear. We will continue to update it until the official announcement of the Galaxy S6 on March 1.