One of the most anticipated smartphone releases in 2014 is also one we know very little about – the Samsung Galaxy S5. So much is riding on this next Samsung flagship, as customers demand great leaps in technology with each new model year. They will will not settle for merely an evolution in design or a simple refinement, as nothing short of a revolutionary change will satisfy the techno geeks. In 2013, even though Samsung sold over 10 million Galaxy S4's in the first month, was named by PC Magazine, "The Best Phone on the Planet," and by the Q3 2013 had sold over 40 million, Samsung was still a little disappointed. To say that Samsung wants to "hit a homerun" with their Galaxy S5 would be a gross understatement, they want to crush their opponents, and Samsung Galaxy S fans would like to see something extraordinary as well.
One Samsung's great problems is that the some consumers and critics are highly divided as well – some critics demand a metal body and others like the light, slim, feel of the polycarbonate – another problem for Samsung is the ability to produce enough metal bodies. Techno geeks, and even Samsung, would like to see a 64-bit processor, which will just not be ready for the early release date that Samsung seems to be shooting for. There is also a great divide over if Samsung should include a Qualcomm Snapdragon Quad-Core or Samsung's own Exynos Octa-Core. Most people would like to see the QHD display, but can Samsung and their suppliers deliver the quantity of displays that would be needed for the number of sales that the Galaxy S5 should generate.
Having such a popular device, selling possibly over 50 million, can be a double-edged sword. It makes for a great bottom line, however, sometimes obtaining the quantity and quality of components needed to make that many devices can present a manufacturing nightmare. This is one of the reasons Samson claimed they could not offer the OIS feature for their Galaxy S5 camera – they simply could not manufacturer enough. There are three things we know for sure – first is that Samsung will launch a Galaxy S5 this Spring, and secondly, you can be sure that a huge group of fans will love this new device and thirdly,many detractors will be critical of the new device.
We are going to take a look at the many rumors surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S5 and see if we can sift through them and figure out what features we can realistically expect to see on the final product. Let us know on our Google+ Page what you would like to see on the next Galaxy S5 and why.
Body: Metal, Plastic or Both?
One of the main concerns is what will the Galaxy S5 be made out of – plastic, plastic with faux leather, metal or a combination of a metal body, but a plastic or faux leather back to make it easier to remove. Nothing has been confirmed, although the Koreans site, ETNews, reported that production for an all-metal body has already begun. The metal front and plastic-like back makes the most sense as Samsung seems intent on a removable back to allow battery replacement, to insert a microSD card, and to allow Samsung replacement backs with flip covers too be used. We have seen many concept designs using a variety of materials, but metal and plastic seem the most likely.
Display: Full HD or Quad HD (QHD), Flat or Curved?
We are almost 100-percent sure there will be no curved or flexible display this time around. However, that leads us to the next question – will the display continue to be a FULL HD display or will Samsung step it up to a QHD 5.25-inch display with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution with 560ppi. According to leaks from our reliable @evleaks, it will be the 2K screen (WQHD) and that supports other rumors that the 2K display is being mast produced.
More Chip Rumors Than in a Bag of Ruffles?
A number of recent reports put the Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU in the Galaxy S5, however, the Vice President of Marketing of Qualcomm claims that he does not expect the 805 will be ready until "mid-2014," which would rule out its use in the Galaxy S5. The most obvious processor would be the Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.5GHz, but Samsung up like to up the ante of its competitors, as well as, move up to 64-bit. Samsung is working on its own Exynos 64-bit processor with a true Octa-Core processor. They claimed at the end of October they were about ready to go into full production and that it will support the LTE network. Samsung's CEO of Mobile, Shin Jong-Kyun, recently stated that "yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality," however, because of production issues it may not be ready until the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
It was immediately assumed that the Galaxy S5 would come with 3GB of RAM since the Galaxy Note 3 arrived with 3GB this past November. At the end of December, Samsung unveiled a new chip, the LPDDR4 is an 8-gigabit (1GB), low powered DDR memory chip, and if you put four of them together, you get a 4GB of RAM – but will it be ready for the Galaxy S5 or not until the Galaxy Note 4.
Camera: OIS or ISOCELL, 16MP or 20MP?
The latest info leaked from a very reliable @evleaks shows the camera in the Galaxy S5, appears to test out at 16MP and it does show that it has Samsung's ISOCELL technology built-in to its sensor, allowing it to take in more light and give a more natural tone to the images. Things do not look promising for ISO being on the Galaxy S5 – first there are supply issues and secondly, it does not sound like Samsung firmly believes this technology is necessary in a smartphone camera.
Fingerprint Scanner, Iris Scanner or Neither?
After the iPhone made popular the fingerprint scanner, HTC followed with one on their HTC One max – naturally, everybody assumed that Samsung would follow suite with their own fingerprint scanner. The problem appears to be that there are precious few companies that have that advanced fingerprint technology, and even fewer companies that could supply the 10's of millions that building the Galaxy S5 would command. However, our reliable @evleaks shared an image of an APK from the Galaxy S5, titled, "FingerprintService," which would indicate there is going to be one onboard.
Since Samsung is so devoted to "eyeball" technology, supported with patents that have been granted, it is very possible that Samsung will use an iris scanner as their security means to unlock your device. Better security is definitely needed as we head into the era of making purchases and doing banking directly with our smartphones at merchant sites, especially in person.
Old TouchWiz or New and Improved TouchWiz?
TouchWiz, Samsung's overlay (Use Interface) that covers up the pure Android experience is long overdue for an update. Overlays can add a lot of functionality to a device, but can also have a couple of drawbacks – Android updates can be delayed and they can add lag to an otherwise smooth operating system. It seems that Samsung is finally listening to their critics and will provide a lighter and kinder TouchWiz on the Galaxy S5 – especially after their recent "scolding" by Google and the sale of Motorola, which some say are connected. Whether there was a connection or not, Samsung agreed to follow more of Google's Android 4.4 KitKat directives, and Samsung did just that with their new Life Times applicatuon and their updated WatchON App.
Rapid Charge Battery?
A new type of Lithium-ion battery – 2900mAh and rapid charge technology – may find its way into the Galaxy S5. It can hold 20-percent more energy in the same footprint and allows a full charge in less than 2 hours. These batteries are being used now and available for smartphones and appears a win-win situation for both Samsung and the user.
Head Movement Tracking?
According to a published, European patent, Samsung is experimenting with tracking the movements of your head, by using the front facing camera. For instance, a nod may mean "yes" and moving your head to the right and left, could mean, "no." Using gestures is something that Samsung is serious about – controlling your smartphone without having to touch it, seems to be one of their goals. This patent went through back in July 2013, so it is very possible this feature will make an appearance on the Galaxy S5.
Samsung Mobile Executive Vice President, Lee Young Hee, was quoted that the Galaxy S5 will arrive in March or April, alongside the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch – and that part makes sense since the Galaxy Gear sold well when launched in conjunction with the Galaxy Note 3. He said:
"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. 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."
The Galaxy S5 will probably be announced at the MWC, in late February, but not go on sale until April – probably taking longer to finalize than Samsung would like, but so many decisions have to be made to insure enough parts are be available for production. I just hope they do not rush the device to market until they are sure that the Galaxy S5 can compete as a true flagship device for entire year. I see the next Galaxy Note 4 being a real beast in the late Fall of 2014 – 64-Bit, Octa-Core processor, 4GB of memory, QHD display, etc., because the parts will be available by then – but the Galaxy S5 is Samsung's main flagship, their bread and butter, so to speak, and they need to have the latest and greatest in that device to satisfy the critics and to make it the success that Samsung is hoping to keep them on top, but will the technology be available for an April release. I sure would not want to be the one at Samsung having to make those decisions.