SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung announced the next generation of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. The handset is designed to be a sleek companion to Samsung's new family of wearable devices.
"Consumers want durable design and performance," JK Shin, Samsung co-CEO and head of its mobile business, said during the announcement at the MWC. "Consumers want a good camera, faster and seamless connectivity, and consumers want a phone that can help them stay fit."
JK Shin holds a Samsung Galaxy S5 at the MWC.
The specific processor that Samsung is using remains under wraps,
though specs from the company's website show a quad-core chip running at 2.5 GHz. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Galaxy S5 will have 2 GB of RAM and be made available in the US in April.
"The Galaxy S5 has full LTE coverage with support of category 4 [speeds]. It provides the fastest and most stable WiFi performance based on the 802.11 ac standard and WiFi MIMO," Shin said. "The Galaxy S5 also supports smart bonding for WiFI and LTE to create and even faster and more stable connection."
At 5.1 inches, the Galaxy S5 will have a slightly larger display than its predecessor; the screen resolution is unchanged at 1,080p. A new algorithm for local contrast enhancement makes the screen clearer and easier to see, Shin said. The handset also has a 2,800mAh battery for 10 hours of web browsing or 12 hours of video playback.
Additionally, the rear-facing camera boasts 16 megapixels with the ability to shoot 4K video, as well as fast auto focus and enriched color with advanced HDR. Other new features include water and dust proofing and a built-in heart rate sensor below the camera.
"Consumers want a phone that can help them stay fit," Shin said. "These dedicated fitness tools are designed to work with our Gear series to provide consumers with [the] best personalized experience. Real-time fitness coaching services together with the gear can be tailored to each user."
Samsung's new line of wearable devices.
The Galaxy S5 release coincides with Samsung's wearable updates: the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are "chic personal devices that help consumers manage their lives using a wide range of features," while the Gear Fit "would be an ideal method to check your heart rate while you're exercising," Shin said. "This represents the next generation of smart wearable designs to balance individual style with the personal life and connectivity needs."
PayPal and Samsung announced a biometric feature that will allow S5 owners to use fingerprint authentication for mobile payments with PayPal merchants. The feature will go live on the Samsung Galaxy S5 in 26 markets in April.
"We think consumers will be wary and need some convincing due to security concerns. In Ovum's 2013 Consumer Insights Survey, almost half the survey respondents (49%) ranked lack of security as their priority concern with mobile payments," Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum, wrote in a blog post on her firm's website. "Consumers already worried about the security of established m-payment mechanisms are likely to view a new technology and process with suspicion."
To that end, Shin said that the Galaxy S5 will incorporate the "highest level of security for enterprise users" with the latest evolution of Knox. Details on the security enhancement were not immediately available.
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times