Samsung, the Korean electronics giant, introduced the new Galaxy 5S at the World Mobile Congress, held in Barcelona. The high-end smartphone, which is expected to be on sale in April, includes several new features that position the unit as more than just a phone, but as a multipurpose device.
The new Samsung Galaxy S5 unit includes a built-in heart monitor, and the camera has also been improved as the phone is now slightly larger than its predecessor. The heartrate monitor is not intended for continuous monitoring, but can be used to indicate heart- rates, before and after exercise or strenuous activity. The screen on the S5 is slightly bigger than its main competitor, the iPhone, which has remained at a diagonal 4 inches since 2012. The S5, however now measures 5.1 inches or 13 cms, which is a slight increase from the S4.
What may perhaps be most important for users is that the Samsung 5S is powered by Google’s latest Android operating system, the 4.4 version with the moniker Kit Kat. The processor is none the less impressive, with a Quad-core running at 2.5 GHz.
As Samsung introduces the Galazxy S5, they appear to downplay the increased size, and instead emphasize the adaptability to change with different lighting conditions. It was expected or rumoured that the resolution would include the 4K or Ultra HD format, but with the larger display, the company has elected to maintain the current 1920 x 1080p format, along with a 16 megapixel camera that offers sharper autofocus and the ability to blur the background.
An interesting addition, is that the Samsung Galaxy S5 now includes a biometric fingerprint sensor that unlocks the phone or identifies the user to process PayPal payments. Observers and analysts are of the opinion that the upgrades are restrained, as there have been some complaints that the Galaxy brand was becoming too complex with too many apps. The S5, with the larger display, has been certified as being dust and water-resistant, and will only be originally offered in white and black, with an electric blue and a gold-like finish similar to that of the iPhone 5S to follow later. The number of embedded apps has also been reduced to include the popular S-voice, Chat on, and S Health.
The life of the battery which is a very important feature for smartphone users has been increased by 20 percent, and Samsung claims that the phone can last for 10 hours of continuous browsing on Long Term Evolution Networks, or 12 hours of video playing.
As far as networking is concerned, the S5 supports 802.11ac Multiple Input-Multiple Output and Wi-Fi technologies promises to be 300 percent faster than the S4 with faster download speed as well. The phone also includes a boost feature to allow simultaneous downloading from both a LTE and Wi-Fi network.
Observers believe that the S5 introduction, although not revolutionary, continues to strengthen Samsung’s leadership in smartphones, where they continue to hold more than a 30 percent market share as opposed to the 21 percent maintained by the iPhone.
Samsung appears to be proceeding cautiously with the introduction of new technology, and may be waiting for dramatic shifts in the landscape, such as flexible or curved screens. At the same time, it is not uncommon for electronic companies to roll out products with planned obsolescence. This strategy is often used to keep consumers purchasing upgraded products as they are released, and it may be one of the reasons why upgrades are always highly anticipated. It appears to be much more than coincidence that when Samsung introduces the new Galaxy S5 smartphone, there may be several launches that are done almost simultaneously.
By Dale Davidson
The Toronto Sun