Samsung is known for including flashy new features each year with new installments to the Galaxy line, and this year will likely be no different. One likely candidate for the suite of features to be included in the Samsung Galaxy S7 is a pressure sensitive display, much like the 3D Touch introduced in the latest Apple iPhones.
Are Pressure Sensitive Screens Useful?
Coming from almost a decade of smartphones that have operated on solely capacitive screens, only some of which has offered multiple simultaneous points of input, pressure sensing displays may seem excessive or unnecessary. However, when considering how prolific the right-click of modern Windows and Linux machines has become since its introduction, it is clear that an alternative input means could and even should be embraced to augment the ways in which we can interact with devices.
Though pressure sense and 3D Touch are remarkably new innovations in mobile technology, they open up doors to vastly more useful devices. With Apple’s 3D Touch, a higher pressure touch opens up an alternative set of options that allow users to more quickly access menus or secondary functions without navigating through cumbersome steps. Additional uses could be incorporated to pressure sensitive screens as more manufacturers incorporate them into devices. Samsung could be early on a trend that becomes standard over the coming generations of smartphones.
Does Pressure Sensing Have Downsides?
Though pressure sensitive displays could bring smartphones into a new era of interaction, it is not without downsides that certainly need to be overcome. One huge hurdle that Samsung must bypass is buggy or unreliable features. In past generations, Samsung has forced features into devices criticized as being nothing more than “gimmicks” intended to catch consumer attention without offering anything of substance. If Samsung does choose to include a pressure sensitive display in the Galaxy S7, it is imperative that it be as reliable as possible. Including a hastily thrown together feature that doesn’t work more often than it does could be detrimental to sales of the Samsung Galaxy S7, as well as the public opinion of pressure sensing in mobile devices across all platforms.
Another potential problem that Samsung will be forced to deal with is the lack of support across Android as an operating system and in-app support from developers. Pressure sensing is new to mobile devices, and thus has had very little time to be fully incorporated into existing software. Much like fingerprint sensors that have only become prolific within the past few months, early devices with pressure sensitive displays will have very little to show off with the hardware. A perfectly implemented touch screen with no digital support has no way of proving its usefulness.
Though there has been no official word from Samsung regarding the presence of a pressure sensing display in the Samsung Galaxy S7, it is not a far cry to suggest that it may be included. Samsung and Apple have frequently contended since the introduction of smartphones, releasing similar features within a few months of each other in order to stay relevant. With Apple’s inclusion of 3D Touch, Samsung will almost definitely have some sort of competing technology in the Galaxy S7. If the Samsung Galaxy S7 has no form of pressure sensing, Samsung could suffer a backlash of PR for passing on a huge opportunity. Even if the possible Galaxy S8 were to include pressure sensing in response, that may be too late for both consumers and critics alike. If Samsung wants to remain relevant, a pressure sensitive display is likely the best way to stay on top.
READ MORE: The Official Galaxy S7 Features and Specs