There is no doubt that Samsung’s new flagship smartphone for 2014, the Galaxy S5, will be one of the most anticipated releases in the first half of the year.
While details are very sketchy about the device, we’ve received an array of rumours, speculation and leaked reports.
If last year is anything to go by, Samsung should unveil their new device at the Mobile World Congress in February, but things haven’t been looking too promising for 2014. While it is technically possible for the makers to at least show off the device, there are doubts as to the actual release date.
“We’ve been announcing our first flagship model in the first half of each year, around March and April, and we are still targeting for release around that time. When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions; the bulky design will also be improved”, said Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business.
If Hee is correct, Samsung will repeat what they have done for the past 2 years. The company market-launched their new device in April 2013 in New York. This year there are speculations that Samsung will have a launch event come mid-March in London, UK.
At the Mobile World Congress this February, users might get a glimpse of the unit, but it won’t be launched into retail outlets until much later.
Several reports have surfaced that mention two different designs – a metallic body for a premium model and a plastic version as a more price-friendly option. A purportedly leaked specifications sheet emerged on Wednesday which claims that the device will have an impressive 2560×1440 AMOLED display – that’s 1440p resolution (HD is only 1080p).
If it makes use of that size display, it could well be encased in a 5.2” body. The Galaxy S4 measures 5.3″ in length, and features a 5.0″ screen.
In terms of computing power, the report goes on to state that the S5 will be running on either an Exynos 6 processor or a Snapdragon 805. In order to capture images, it is rumoured to make use of a 16-megapixel camera and as for an operating system, it is highly likely that the device will be shipped with Android 4.4 KitKat.
While it might not sound lik a revolutionary step in smartphone design, Hee also mentioned that Samsung has been looking into the use of iris recognition technology-
“Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology. We are studying the possibility but can’t really say whether we will have it or not on the S5,” he said.
Apple unveiled their finger-print recognition technology with their new iPhone 5 model and iOS 7 operating system, which users enable to unlock the device and to make App store purchases without inputting a password.
Apart from the possibility that the device’s functionality will be neatly packed in a 5.25” body, it has been mentioned by several outlets that the S5 will be dust and water-resistant. It’s not too far-fetched to imagine, as Samsung has a number of devices that already have this feature – and it has become a standard feature in many of Sony’s smartphones.
While iris recognition technology might not be ready come launch day, there have also been strong rumours suggesting that Samsung has filed a new patent that tracks gestures via head tracking gesture controls – which could make its way into the S5.
While smartphones don’t exactly come cheap, it is expected that the plastic-body S5 model will retail for about $888, while the premium metallic body should retail for just over $1000 – which is a lot, even by smartphone standards.
The pricing is based on leaked documents and company executive statements, but it is not clear whether the price is for the bigger 64GB version, or the starting price. In comparison, the 64GB version of Apple’s iPhone 5s retails contract-free for $850.
The same source that leaked Galaxy S5’s specifications, SamMobile, suggests that the Korean manufacturer will be launching updated versions of some existing products. According to CNet, “we can expect updated versions of the Zoom and Mini sub-models with Super AMOLED displays to follow the Galaxy S5 into the world later this year.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor