The Samsung Galaxy S4 launched in the spring of 2013, which means that it’s time to start dreaming up what could be next for the tech giant’s flagship phone. The S4 continues to dominate the mobile market alongside Apple’s iPhone 5s, but what can we expect from the sequel? If some of the rumors are true, the Galaxy S5 may bring the more premium, durable design Samsung fans have been waiting for alongside some noteworthy performance enhancements. Here’s a look at what we think we know about the Galaxy S5 so far.
Samsung recently sent out invitations for an Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, leading many to believe its next-gen flagship will debut this month. Samsung hasn’t confirmed that its upcoming press conference will focus on the S5, but the “5″ on the invite certainly adds fuel to the rumor mill.
Although a Samsung unveil seems early, it does line up with previous rumors. Bloomberg reported in January that Samsung plans to launch its Galaxy S5 by April, which would make Mobile World Congress an ideal venue to build hype before its release. Samsung sent out a similar invitation for its Galaxy S4 launch last March that played up the “4″ theme.
Apple’s iPhone 5s became the world’s first smartphone to launch with a 64-bit processor, but it certainly won’t be the last. Samsung’s mobile business chief JK Shin recently confirmed to Korea Times that the company plans to launch smartphones with such technology.
“Not in the shortest time,” he said. “But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality.”
Samsung also made a point to mention its upcoming 64-bit processing technology at its recent Analyst Day, saying that the company will start by using ARM cores and will eventually develop its own. This doesn’t guarantee that the Galaxy S5 will debut with 64-bit processing, but since the company has been publicly acknowledging its plans, it certainly seems plausible. And Samsung would be wise to do so if it truly wants the S5 to be a 5s killer.
Samsung released two models with different processors when it launched the U.S. and international versions of the Galaxy S4 last year, and it may follow suit with the Galaxy S5. According to SamMobile, one unit will include a 64-bit Samsung Exynos 6 processor while another variant will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 CPU. The Exynos 6 chip is likely to be found in a more premium metal version of the S5, while the newest Snapdragon processor will power the lower-end plastic Galaxy S5.
The Galaxy S4 comes with eye tracking technology, but its successor may be able to actually scan your eye. ZDNet Korea quoted industry sources saying that Samsung’s “next big thing” could be the first phone to come with such technology. The scanner is said to offer functionality similar to Apple’s TouchID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s, meaning it will primarily be used to unlock the phone.
Like Apple’s iPhone 5s, the Galaxy S5 may come with a fingerprint scanner built directly into its home button, according to Sam Mobile. The device will reportedly be able to hold eight different fingerprints, and users would register their prints by swiping a finger across the home button. Samsung is expected to preload a Private Mode on its next flagship that lets S5 owners lock certain content to only be accessed by swiping an enrolled fingerprint.
ZDNet Korea also reports that the Galaxy handset maker will launch a phone with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display at Mobile World Congress in February. This is believed to be the Galaxy S5, although the company has not confirmed this information. Rumors from SamMobile also suggest that the S5 will sport a 5.25-inch display, which coincides with new information from Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin who reports the same.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Samsung attempt to beat LG to the punch again as it did with its Galaxy Round curved display smartphone. LG Display has already announced that it’s developed a 5.5-inch QHD screen for smartphones, but the company hasn’t mentioned any plans to implement this tech in a particular device. The China-based Vivo Xplay 3S also boasts this display resolution, although there’s no word on when it will launch.
Smart home tech isn’t a new frontier for Samsung, but this may be the first time we see it integrated directly into Galaxy smartphones. Blogger Eldar Murtazin, who accurately leaked that the Galaxy S4 would debut on March 14 last year, said that the S5 will come equipped with smart home functionality. Murtazin didn’t elaborate on specifics, but tweeted that the next Samsung flagship come with “a lot of software for smart home.”
If there’s one thing we learned from this year’s CES, it’s that smart home tech is expected to be a larger trend moving forward in 2014. Samsung showcased its own smart home setup with Galaxy Gear integration at the annual tech conference, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see this become a running theme with Samsung Mobile products.
Samsung toutes the Galaxy S4 as a “life companion” thanks to its suite of health apps, and the company may reiterate that notion with its successor. Murtazin also tweeted that Samsung will launch a new version of the S Band fitness bracelet, updated S Health apps and new accessories.
The Twitter post follows previous rumors that Samsung’s next wearable device will be a fitness tracker dubbed the Galaxy Band.The wristband would feature sensors for motion, pressure and humidity and may be able to sync with other Samsung Galaxy products, Korean publication Digital News Daily reports. If Samsung does decide to jump back into the fitness tracker game, it will be facing some fierce competition from the likes of Sony’s SmartBand, LG’s LifeBand Touch and Razer’s Nabu among others attempting to steal the spotlight from Fitbit and Nike.
Samsung is expected to ditch its signature plastic form factor for a more sturdy and attractive design. An “inside source” reportedly told Android Geeks that the Galaxy S5 will sport a fully aluminum chassis, and another report from Korea soon followed reporting the same information. At the same time, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 model could adopt some of the rugged features we’ve seen on the Galaxy S4 Active and Sony Xperia Z1. Korean news outlet ETNews reports that the S5 will be water and dust resistant.
Samsung recently revealed that its future smartphones launching in 2014 will use ISOCELL technology, which allows for clearer low-light photography and more accurate color reproduction. This would be a welcome addition to the Galaxy line, considering the S4 fared miserably in the low-light test during our Smartphone Camera Shootout. Meanwhile, TechRadar is reporting that Samsung will bump the megapixel count from 13 to 16 for the S5’s camera sensor. Tech blogger Eldar Murtazin also reports that the S5 will feature a 16-MP camera and a 3.2-MP front facing shooter.
Recent reports suggest that the Galaxy S5 will ship with Android 4.4 KitKat. This doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering Google is likely to roll out its latest Android OS more widely over the next few months. Android 4.4 brings some notable improvements to the Android ecosystem, including faster multitasking, a new immersive mode that hides toolbars and on-screen buttons, a streamlined contacts app, built-in printing and Emoji support. You’ll also be able to perform voice searches from the home screen by saying “Ok, Google.”
Samsung has a knack for releasing its devices in multiple flavors, and the Galaxy S5 is expected to be no different. SamMobile reports that a Galaxy S5 Mini is on tap for a June release, while the Galaxy S5 Zoom is expected to be unveiled in May with a 4.8-inch 960 x 540 resolution display.