Samsung is already eying the iPhone 6s’s most significant new feature, 3D Touch, for its next-generation Galaxy phones. A report on Weibo suggests that the Korean company will be adding pressure-sensitive screens next year following Apple’s lead.
Samsung will apparently be using screen technology from Synaptic, called ClearForce, which we reported on last week. Although right now pressure-sensitive screens are effectively exclusive to iPhone, the availability of Synaptic hardware to OEMs is seemingly allowing Samsung (as well as other manufacturers, not yet disclosed) to jump on board in the near future.
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The Huawei Mate S has already been announced with a pressure sensitive display, likely with Synaptic hardware backing it. Samsung phones already include some smart contextual menus when they detect pressure from stylus input but obviously it’s not the same as direct force manipulation with a finger on the screen.
Whilst this rumor is focused on the hardware specifics of detecting force, much of what makes up 3D Touch is actually software implementations. Things like Peek and Pop take advantage of the force data to show custom preview interfaces across iOS as well as show quick actions on the Home Screen. At the moment, it is unclear exactly how far Samsung will ‘be inspired’ by Apple’s ideas in that regard.
Samsung got its reputation as an Apple photocopier many years ago with earlier Galaxy models that resembled the Apple iPhone hardware and software designs. This resulted in a multi-year billion dollar lawsuit over intellectual property, the ramifications of which are still ongoing. Since then, Tim Cook has generally steered Apple away from court litigation, however, and Samsung has done a more respectable job at making unique products.