New generation Galaxy plus new wearables launched in Barcelona – no big 'wow'
Samsung Electronics has announced the latest in the Galaxy series of smartphones, the Galaxy S5, as well as new smartwatches to accompany the Galaxy family of devices.
Last night at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung announced the Galaxy S5 smartphone, plus the Samsung Gear Fit wearable device, to accompany the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo smartwatches launched on Sunday.
The Galaxy S5 is an LTE device and supports the fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MiMo, and the largest LTE frequency supporting Category 4. Additionally it features Download Booster, a Wi-Fi technology designed to boost data speed by bonding Wi-Fi and LTE simultaneously.
Qualcomm Technologies is powering the smartphone with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with integrated LTE. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor helps enable higher quality imaging with support for larger, faster camera sensors and improved image post-processing, immersive mobile graphics and gaming with enhanced Adreno 330 GPU performance, as well as higher speed SD card memory. Its fully integrated connectivity includes 4G LTE Advanced carrier aggregation for download speeds of up to 150Mbps, as well as dedicated hardware for dual-SIM/dual active (DSDA) service in China.
As well as catching up with the competition by becoming IP67 dust and water resistant, the Galaxy S5 also has a finger print scanner, but only for us in securing mobile payments through PayPal. Eden Zoller, principal analyst at Ovum, commented on the Samsung-PayPal tie up: '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. Consumers already worried about the security of established m-payment mechanisms are likely to view a new technology and process with suspicion.
'On the positive side, Samsung is a hugely popular smartphone brand with global reach, while PayPal is a trusted payments service provider. This is a powerful combination. PayPal stresses that fingerprint authentication is a secure feature based on a FIDO-ready software implementation with all credentials stored remotely in the cloud. PayPal is the first member of the FIDO Alliance to produce a solution of this kind; other members include Google and Microsoft. PayPal expects more device manufacturers to adopt the technology going forward,' added Zoller. The Galaxy S5 offers more tools for fitness with enhanced S Health 3.0. It provides a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage training behaviour, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new built-in heart rate monitor. Experiences can be further customised with an enriched third party app ecosystem and the ability to pair with next generation Gear products for realtime fitness coaching.
The new Galaxy S5 has superior camera functionality, featuring a 16 megapixel camera with an enhanced menu and user interface so you can effortlessly take, edit and share photos. It also has fast autofocus speed of up to 0.3 seconds and with the advanced High Dynamic Range (HDR), it is possible to reproduce natural light and colour with striking intensity at any time.
Nick Dillon, senior analyst at Ovum, said the Galaxy S5 showed incremental improvements on its predecessor: 'The updates are so minor that on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version. Still, this should come as no great surprise, given the maturity of the smartphone market and the pressure on the Samsung not to mess with its winning formula.'
The Galaxy S5 will be available globally through Samsung's retail channels, e-commerce and carriers on April. No price was mentioned at the launch.
'We've decided to go back to basics with the Galaxy S5 and focus on the features and things that matter the most to our customers, namely the camera, ability to view and download data and content quickly and their health and wellbeing,' said Simon Stanford, vice president of the IT and mobile division, Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland. 'People want a smartphone that enhances and enables their mobile life. The Galaxy S5 represents just that, and we're excited to see the response to our latest flagship smartphone device.'
Samsung also announced the new wearable device, the Gear Fit. Following the trend for curved screen devices, the Gear Fit is a curved Super AMOLED wearable device. As well as fitness tools, the Samsung Gear Fit is designed to keep the user up to date with instant notifications from Galaxy smartphones, including incoming calls, emails, SMS, alarm, S-planner, and third party apps. The Gear Fit will be available globally starting from April.
Announced on Sunday, the Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are smartwatches designed to let the user manage their smartphone via their wrist, but also offer personal fitness coaching in real time and enable the control of the other electronic products in the home, such as TVs and set-top boxes, through a WatchON Remote application with an embedded IrLED sensor. Both will be available globally from April.