Samsung Galaxy S5: Updates 'Are So Minor'

By Kimberly Koerth Comments
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Samsung announced the Galaxy S5, the latest version of its flagship smartphone, today at Mobile World Congress.

The phone boasts an improved camera, longer battery life, fingerprint scanner and water and dust-proof coating, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The S5's additions differ greatly from those of years past, especially the flashy advertising and overall gimmicky attitude surrounding the launch of the S4. The S5 will have a 5.1-inch HD screen, but the focus this year is clearly more on basic hardware.

Samsung has extended the new device's battery life, saying users can get 21 hours of talk time from one charge, and the phone will also have a power saving feature that shuts down unnecessary programs and turns the display into black and white.

The device will have a 16-megapixel camera, which Samsung claims has the fastest autofocus of any smartphone camera at 0.3 seconds.

The biggest addition to the Galaxy S5 is the fingerprint scanner for unlocking the phone and making mobile payments, much like Apple's iPhone 5S.

Ovum senior analyst Nick Dillon said Samsung's biggest challenge will be in convincing customers the new device is worth buying without many upgrades to its predecessor.

"In contrast to the Galaxy S4 which was packed with gimmicky features, Samsung has focused instead on a small number of enhancements with the S5," Dillon said. "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 Samsung not to mess with its winning formula. Samsung reminded us quite how successful this formula has been, noting that it has sold 200 million Galaxy S devices since launching the franchise in 2010.

The Galaxy S5 will go on sale in April. Samsung did not say how much the phone will cost.

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