Galaxy S7 edge

Just like last year, the rumor mill is churning over the possibility of Samsung including a pressure-sensitive display (like Apple's 3D Touch) in its upcoming flagship phone. This time the source of the speculation is Korean outlet The Investor, which has been coughing up Galaxy S8 rumors for the past couple of weeks, citing "multiple industry sources."

"Samsung is mulling to adopt the force touch technology partially from the S8 but the full adoption qill (sic) come in one or two years," an official of a Samsung supplier on condition of anonymity.

"It is a matter of time before other major Android smartphone makers deploy the technology that will help enhance user interface."

That's a mightily hedgy statement there. "Mulling" to adopt. "Partially" in the S8. Who knows what that actually means.

But if some kind of pressure-sensitive screen tech makes it to the Galaxy S8, it's not entirely surprising. The technology already exists — Apple and Huawei have been using it since 2015. The broader challenge is how to implement this — and justify the extra thickness demanded by a pressure-sensitive display — in a way that people actually care about. Even Apple, with its 3D Touch implementation, has had a hard time getting developers onboard, and even using pressure sensitivity in its own apps in a way that's more than a neat gimmick. iOS 10 improves things a bit, but it's far from a killer app for the latest iPhones.

Will the Galaxy S8 be able to weigh an orange?

Google has made baby steps towards 3D Touch-like functionality with Android 7.1's App Shortcuts — the feature in Pixel phones which lets you jump to a specific area of apps by long-pressing. But so far, that's it. Huawei implemented its own "Force Touch" in the Mate S and P9 Plus, but this too was functionally dubious, allowing users to zoom in on photos or (I am not making this up) weigh an orange.

So it's less a case of whether Samsung can do it, more whether it can solve the UX puzzle. Part of that involves getting developers onboard with a feature which (to start with) will only be available on a couple of very expensive phones.

We'll find out early next year with any luck — earlier reports point to the Galaxy S8 series breaking cover sometime between late February and April.

More: Samsung Galaxy S8 rumor roundup