Samsung sought Monday to frame its new Galaxy S5
smartphone as a
lifestyle product, as it emphasized a built-in heart-rate sensor and
improved camera features over its slightly larger size.
One of the
main appeals of Samsung phones has been their size. The screen has
steadily increased since the 4-inches (10.2 cm) on the original
S from 2010, while the iPhone made that jump to 4-inches only in 2012
and has stayed that way since.
But the S5 pushes the screen to
only 5.1-inches (13 cm), measured diagonally, from 5-inches (12.7 cm)
in last year's model. Instead of size, Samsung touted the new phone's
ability to adapt its screen to changing external conditions and to dim
it to avoid disturbing others nearby.
(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S5: 10 big new features)
The phone has a 16-megapixel
camera, sharper than the 13-megapixel in its predecessor. It promises
faster auto focus and the ability to blur the foreground or background
of an image to emphasize a subject.
Samsung Electronics Co. made the latest announcement during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain.
: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Samsung Galaxy S4
The new phone will go on sale worldwide on April 11. The company
didn't announce a price; its predecessor sold for about $600 without
phone subsidies or a contract.
The S5 has a fingerprint sensor to
use in place of a passcode to unlock the phone or make payments through
PayPal. It's a feature still rare in phones, though Apple introduced it
in last fall's iPhone 5s.
(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S5 specifications)
Samsung's Galaxy S series has emerged as
one of the strongest challengers to Apple's iPhones and has helped the
Korean company surpass Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker.
According to Gartner, Samsung's smartphones had a worldwide market share
of 31 percent last year, compared with 16 percent for Apple's iPhones.
chief complaint about Samsung phones has been the company's tendency to
pack them with a slew of features, some of which don't work well with
each other or at all. Recent phones have sported an Easy Mode, with
larger icons and fewer customization choices. It's as though Samsung
acknowledges that its devices have become too complex for many people to
Samsung showed restraint this time.
betting big on wellness, fingerprint reading and camera autofocus, while
keeping a very similar look and feel for its hardware and software,"
said Nick Dillon, a senior analyst at the research firm Ovum. "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."
(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S5 price not revealed, gets an April 11 release date)
But he said that is to be expected "given the maturity of the
smartphone market and the pressure on the Samsung not to mess with its
The heart-rate sensor on the S5 can be used
before and after exercise to measure fitness activities. It's not meant
for continuous tracking. Samsung also unveiled a fitness band, Gear Fit,
to complement two new computerized watches announced Sunday. Those will
be available April 11 as well.
"These devices are Samsung's
commitment and vision to great experiences that matter the most to us
all," Samsung European executive Jean-Daniel Ayme said.
(Also see: Samsung Galaxy S5 vs. Sony Xperia Z2 vs. LG G Pro 2 vs. iPhone 5S)
meanwhile, will enjoy the ability to hand the phone to a kid without
worry. Just place it in a kid's mode, and only approved apps can be
accessed. Your kid can't send your boss an email or post an embarrassing
picture on Facebook when all you intended was to have your kid play
"Candy Crush Saga."
The phone is also water resistant.
consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex
technology," said J.K. Shin, Samsung's head of information technology
and the mobile communications division. "Our consumers want durable
design and performance. Our consumers want a simple, yet powerful
Samsung Galaxy S5 in pictures