It is now under a week until we finally find out what to expect from the latest flagship Samsung mobile. The Galaxy S5 is hotly anticipated by many mobile phone enthusiasts, and this will be a particularly important release not only for Samsung’s prospects, but for those of its biggest competitor Apple as well. Samsung intends the Galaxy S5 to be the biggest smartphone of the year, and with Apple gearing up for a massive release for its forthcoming iPhone 6, it is quite obvious that Samsung is going to have to either produce something spectacular, utilize some clever marketing to induce consumer interest, or both.
Thus, we can’t be too surprised that murmurings are already indicating that the Galaxy S5 may be released at a significantly lower price point than previous models of the handset. According to Bloomberg, an unnamed source close to the release indicated that the Korean manufacturer is looking to make the Galaxy S5 extremely competitive in every respect, including price.
Samsung seeks affordable market share
According to the source in question, Samsung has received “encouragement” from wireless carriers which could lead to them releasing the Galaxy S5 at a much lower price point than previous models. This is not merely an attempt to deal with its most obvious rival of Apple, or keep the secondary rival HTC at bay, but the thinking behind it is apparently to also appeal to the sort of consumers who typically plump for the more affordable alternatives to the Galaxy.
However, we are yet to see a specific price suggested by either official sources or leaks. The fact that there is an existing Galaxy on the market for $200 in the United States would suggest that perhaps we could see an even cheaper Galaxy S5, or at least a 32Gb model of the S5 released at this $200 price point. When one considers that AT&T is currently flogging the S4 for $100 with a two-year contract, it’s clear that Samsung is becoming increasingly conscious of the need to provide a budget option if they are to increase their consumer base.
Galaxy S5 - more spec rumors
Aside from the pricing issue, there are further murmurings about the specs that we can expect the Galaxy S5 to possess. It looks pretty much set in stone that the premium version of the device will have a 5.2-inch screen, which we already know will have an improve pixel resolution over its S4 predecessor. There have also been solid reports today that the Galaxy S5 will come with a fingerprint sensor, a security feature which has been rumored for some months.
There has been a further leak today with regard to the camera which will be included with the Galaxy S5. Over the weeks leading up to its unveiling and release, the Galaxy S5 has first been rumored to have a 16-megapixel camera, and later some sources even suggested that it might have a 21-megapixel snapper. Either would be a significant improvement over the 13-megapixel camera contained in the Galaxy S4, but it now looks as if it will be the former not the latter. This latest leak has come from the ever active and reliable @evleaks, who has recently pointed to a Flickr shot allegedly taken by the S5. EXIF data related to the image has revealed that it was taken by a 16-megapixel camera, suggesting that this could be a solid piece of information.
All of these specs are fascinating to the mobile devotee, but will they be enough to achieve what Samsung has so ambitiously stated that it will do; replace Apple at the top of the smartphone tree? This is a particularly big ask, even if Samsung can rely on growth in East Asia’s developing markets in order to shift increasingly vast numbers of units.
Can Samsung match Apple branding?
However, according to an analyst quoted by TechRadar, the key issue for the Galaxy S5 may not be either its capabilities or price, important though they undoubtedly are. Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza suggested that the key issue for Samsung is unquestionably brand recognition; how can they mark out Galaxy devices as being significantly distinct from those of Apple over a raft of different categories?
It seems that Samsung has already acknowledged this, as executives at the top of the company have indicated that the design of the Galaxy S5 will be significantly altered. This may have some influence, as creating a good first impression with consumers is particularly important in the smartphone market. But more than this alone is required to dethrone Apple. We’ve seen in recent survey results related to Apple’s brand loyalty that they achieve a connection with consumers that few companies in the history of the world can come close to matching. Can Samsung achieve this with the Galaxy S5?
We don’t have long to wait to find out. Samsung is expected to unveil the phone on February 24 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and its launch will surely be in early April at the latest.