Samsung has been one of the major players in the smartphone market for some time, but recent years have seen them really close the gap at the top of the tree to industry leader Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The sales of the last iteration of Samsung’s premier smartphone, the Galaxy, stood up very well to the iconic iPhone, and the Korean manufacturer actually has hopes of exceeding Apple with its next release and becoming the world’s number-one smartphone manufacturer.
Not only have the sales of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) devices been outstanding, but the Galaxy range has also been praised for its quality. Thus, the release of a new Samsung Galaxy S5 handset in 2014 is big news for the industry, and one can be certain that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung will be vying for supremacy throughout the calendar year.
So what can we expect from this key Samsung release? Here is a summary of what we know and presume thus far.
Galaxy S5 appearance
One always has to be a little careful about pre-release images, as they have turned out to be incorrect on many, many occasions. Thus, it is perhaps a blessing that no images of the forthcoming rGalaxy S5 have really been forthcoming, although the website Patent Bolt has acquired patent applications which appear to relate to the S5. But we can be sure that a great deal of effort will go into making the Galaxy S5 look as sleek as possible, even if it is generally acknowledged that Apple has the edge in this department.
Galaxy S5 specifications and features
This is where it is difficult to separate rumor from supposition from fact. But the first thing that we can say with certainty about the Galaxy S5 relates to its processor.
Samsung executives have already proclaimed that every future smartphone produced by the company will feature 64-bit processors, so this would seem to be a solid presumption for the S5. It has also been reported by the Korea Herald, so would seem to be a rumor of some substance.
But a 64-bit processor, of course, requires a 64-bit operating system, so it will be interesting to see what Samsung comes up with in this department. We’re not 100% certain what form this will take, but there is some speculation that Samsung will sign some sort of deal with Google to produce a 64-bit version of Android. However, it seems a certainty that if such an iteration of Android is produced that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will naturally wish to include it in one of their own Nexus devices first. This could actually work in Samsung’s favor, with any teething problems ironed out before the Galaxy comes on to the market.
Camera and display
Samsung has had the edge in this department over Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), choosing to put more emphasis on delivering a high-quality camera than its main competitor. Thus, the Galaxy S5 is rumored to include a 16 megapixel camera with optical image stabilization.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) is also very well known for the quality of its displays, being one of the world’s greatest and most successful producers of televisions, and the company makes fantastic quality displays for every form of device that you care to name. Samsung is already planning to launch 4K Ultra HD devices with 560ppi displays, and it is possible that the Galaxy will be the first-ever 4K pixel phone. There has been nothing to confirm this suspicion as of yet, but it would be a feature that would truly make the Galaxy S5 stand out from the crowd.
Doon-hoon Chang, Samsung’s vice president of design strategy, has already confirmed euphemistically that the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature an aluminum unibody metal chassis. This would seem to be an essential innovation for Samsung, as Apple is putting a huge effort into improving the durability of the iPhone. Thus, we can expect the Galaxy S5 to have a considerably more metallic build than previous editions.
Chipset and other features
This has yet to be confirmed by Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930), even though the release of the device is not that far away, but the specifications are rumored to comprise a 64-bit Exynos chipset or a Snapdragon chipset. Furthermore, we can expect the internal RAM of the device to be around 3Gb.
Murmurings have indicated that there may be two version of the Galaxy S5; a premium variant which will include the metal chassis discussed previously and a flexible OLED, and a more affordable version akin to those found on existing Galaxy smartphones. This would seem to be a very sensible approach which will enable Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) to secure a bigger market share.
The launch of the Galaxy S5 has been rumored to be in the first quarter of 2014 for some time. This can now be considered fairly concrete, after the aforementioned Chang recently seemed to confirm a February release for the S5. The secrecy surrounding such high profile tech releases was exemplified by this ‘announcement’ which came at a press event is Seoul, with Chang answering questions on the Galaxy and indicating that a 24th – 27th February release date would be “about right”. So we don’t know for certain when the S5 will come out, but a February release seems likely.
The Galaxy S5 will probably launch at a slightly higher price than previous editions, given the fantastic technology which is rumored to be part of the device. It’s hard to see how Samsung could produce the device for the same price as previous iterations of the Galaxy, so an American launch price could be around $800-900, with the phone retailing for £550-600 in the UK.