Samsung’s premier Galaxy handset hasn’t exactly broken the mold over its last few installments, but the company appears to be ready to do just that with the next-generation Galaxy S5. The Korean manufacturer is looking to employ a new distinctive look, along with an improved paired smart watch that will offer better performance and a sleeker design than the Galaxy Gear, according to one of the company’s mobile-products leaders.
“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,” said Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, in an Interview with Bloomberg. “When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions, and the bulky design will also be improved.”
In many ways the Samsung Galaxy S5 is going to be an important device for the company. While Samsung remains one of the most dominant handset manufacturers in the market, accounting for nearly one of every three smartphones sold globally, the Korean manufacturer still finds itself fighting on all fronts; fending off Apple in the high-end market and battling with Chinese makers that are producing $100 handsets aimed at more frugal-minded consumers. With the smartphone market continuing to saturate that competition is only going to intensify going forward. That’s why it’s so important for the Galaxy S5 to offer a different look and feel.
“When we moved to S4 from S3, it’s partly true that consumers couldn’t really feel much difference between the two products from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn’t as big,” Lee Young Hee noted. “For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.”
Unfortunately Samsung didn’t provide the actual specifications as to what this new design will look like, but it’s clear the Korean company is ready to try something different.
The Galaxy S5 may also include some shiny new tech to compete against the fingerprint scanner found in Apple’s iPhone 5S. “Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology,” Lee Yong Hee explained. “We are studying the possibility but can’t really say whether we will have it or not on the S5.”
Samsung may have a few tricks up its sleeves for Galaxy Note fans as well. The company suggested that the next Galaxy Note might utilize a three-sided display that allows messages to be read from angle. “We are targeting consumers who want more professional use and tend to be willing to pay more for handsets,” Samsung’s Lee said.
With growth in the smartphone market slowing down, manufacturers are looking for new emerging markets and wearable tech could just be the next big thing. The market for wearable devices could possibly triple to account for roughly $30 billion by 2018, according to HIS Global Insights. Samsung hopes to make its smart watches part of that growth by incorporating health-care related functions, such as the ability to check calorie consumption, monitor heart rate and measure stress levels, Lee Yong Hee said.
Of course Samsung also appears to have its sights on the growing tablet market as well. The company’s share of global tablet sales has doubled to roughly 20 percent last year, Lee noted. Samsung looks poised to build off that number even further, announcing the company’s largest tablets at CES, unveiling the 12.2-inch versions of the Galaxy NotePRO and Galaxy TabPRO. The NotePRO will come equipped with a stylus, and both models are expected to be shipped in the first quarter of 2014.
Samsung will likely provide more details on the Galaxy S5 and the second generation Galaxy Gear nearing their expected release dates between March and April.