Samsung is indicating it will launch the newest model in its popular Galaxy S smartphone line later this month, and the guessing about new features for this anticipated launch has begun. Possibilities include a larger screen and biometrics.
The South Korea-based company has sent out invitations to an event that will take place at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 24. Although the release of the Galaxy S5 is not explicitly mentioned, the event is called Unpacked 5, leading invitees to assume it refers to that model.
Feb. 24 is the first official day of the big mobile event, so this could give the Galaxy S5 a big sendoff. Previous reports had predicted that sales of Samsung's Galaxy S5 would begin in March or April, so a presentation at the end of February could move that timeline up by a month or more.
Not 'Much Difference'
Samsung's executive vice president, Lee Young-Hee, told news media in January that "consumers did not notice much difference" from the Galaxy S3 when the company launched the S4. He added at the time that the Galaxy S5 would be "back to basics," and predicted the reaction to the S5 would be based on the quality of the screen and the physical feel of the phone.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, told us that he hoped "to see better quality" in the materials used to make the S5. He said that the "relatively cheap plastic" used in the S4 and previous models was "a big disappointment," although he acknowledged that those materials are durable and easier to manufacture.
"For a flagship model you'd expect it to be look better," Greengart said. The company, he noted, appears to be sticking to its schedule of updating the S line once a year.
He also expressed hope that Samsung would "finish baking" any new software that is offered in the S5. While he said that the company's software can be "fantastic," he also noted that "some of the software features in the S4 don't work all that well because they're not very refined." In fact, Greengart said, a user sometimes has to employ the device's "simple mode because the software itself is too complex."
According to rumors, the S5 will have an AMOLED screen ranging from 5.2 to 5.25 inches, will offer 2560x1440 resolution, and will be built around either a quad-core 2.5 GHz or even an octa-core 2.0 GHz processor. Other expectations include 3 GB of memory, 3G and 4G LTE, cameras front and back, and a 2900 mAh battery that can be rapidly charged.
There have also been reports that Samsung has been revising its TouchWiz user interface for the new model. Several screen shots have been floating around the Web, which appear to primarily show minor changes. Other rumors suggest that the company is readying an intelligent assistant feature that resembles Google Now, or that it will include an eye scanner, a fingerprint reader, or both.