Samsung will use enhanced soft keys for the Galaxy S8 for the entirety of the device according to a new rumor. While Samsung uses capacitive keys for the navigation controls, and employs hardware buttons for things like the volume up, volume down, power, and home button, this new rumor asserts that the physical home button and capacitive buttons will be forfeited and the company will instead use soft keys for those functions. Things like the power button and volume rocker would of course remain the same.
In regards to the enhancements, the soft keys are rumored to have a functionality that is similar to 3D Touch, which essentially allows users extra actions for a certain button based on how much pressure they put on that button when interacting with it. It's not too unlike Google's new App Shortcuts for devices running on Android 7.1 Nougat, which, allows users to initiate multiple actions for apps on the homscreen, so long as they support the Shortcuts API. What Samsung is planning to enable with this feature for their soft keys on the Galaxy S8 is currently unclear, but having all of these buttons enabled to complete multiple actions could come in very useful for people who are constantly multitasking, and it would certainly be more efficient.
For example, simply tapping on the recents button could allow users to bring up the menu and see all of their most recently used apps, while giving it a little bit more pressure could initiate a "clear all" functionality without actually having to open the menu up. What's more, is that getting rid of the capacitive keys alongside the hardware buttons will give the Galaxy S8 loads of screen real estate. It's also rumored that Samsung may end up making the soft keys configurable, meaning they would be letting users customize the 3D Touch-like function for each button or certain buttons, although it wasn't mentioned how deep that customization would go if it ends up being implemented. One last bit of detail states that Samsung will not be placing the fingerprint sensor on the front of the Galaxy S8, which makes sense if they're getting rid of the physical home button, yet there was no mention of where it will end up exactly.