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Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge (left) and Galaxy S6 haven't sold as well as the company envisioned. Source: Flick user Karlis Dambrans.

It's been a rough few years for Samsung's (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) smartphone operations. In April, the company launched a redesigned Galaxy iteration -- the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge units -- in an attempt to turn the page of its previous-generation Galaxy S5 that disappointed investors expecting sales more akin to the Galaxy S4.

With the newest-generation model, Samsung attempted a radical redesign by releasing a unibody smartphone at the expense of prior functionality. Many noted that the newest phone looks very similar to Apple's iPhone model. And while Samsung is somewhat coy with direct sales figures, it's widely assumed that the newest Galaxy has been a disappointment as well, as Bloomberg Business reports that the company recently demoted its president of mobile communications.

However, it doesn't appear as if Samsung's strategy has totally changed. According to a new article from The Wall Street Journal, Samsung is looking to copy Apple's differentiating feature when the Galaxy S7 is released.

Pressure-sensitive display is a go
According toWSJ, Samsung's next-generation Galaxy units will include a pressure-sensitive force-touch display. If this feature sounds familiar, it's because the pressure-sensitive interface is the distinguishing feature for Apple's off-year iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus iterations. As is normal with Apple's off-year phones, meaning those denoted by a letter, Apple generally improves the hardware and adds a user-feature upgrade.

Right now, Cupertino is on the forefront with this technology, even moving faster than third-party developers, as many have not fully integrated their apps with this technology. Interestingly enough, Samsung could unwillingly help Apple in this regard, as the addition of another luxury manufacturer with the functionality justifies the costs of app developers who integrate pressure-touch commands into their apps.

Who benefits from this?
WSJ didn't go into detail on how Samsung would attain force-touch technology. The company could design the chips and sensors internally, which is possible considering Samsung has its own semiconductor business, but Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA) has an out-of-the box solution for force touch with the newest generation of its ClearPad touch controllers.To incorporate the technology in time for a mentioned March release, it's possible for Samsung to buy Synaptics' ClearPad 3700 Series flagship touch controller.

But even if Samsung doesn't buy Synaptics' technology, the development that Samsung is incorporating force touch in the next-generation Galaxy line is still a positive for the company. As the most influential luxury Android OEM, the company sees its newest features and updates quickly copied among other Android units, negating any true competitive advantages, and these OEMs would presumably use Synaptics and the supplier.

Additionally, Synaptics is looking to bring force-touch functionality to more than smartphones, as its new ClearPad series controls are available for PCs, notebooks, and automotive applications. As smartphones are quickly becoming the device humans interface with the most -- a study showed that average Americans spent nearly five hours a day on their smartphones -- any breakthrough on these devices in terms of user functionality has a strong shot of being incorporated into other technologies. In the end, Samsung's attempt to copy Apple could be a bonanza for Synaptics' investors.

 

Jamal Carnette owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.