MWC 2014: Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5 Smartphone, Galaxy Gear 2 Watch

Samsung has finally unveiled wearables and its latest smartphone.

Samsung introduced to the whole world its new Galaxy S5 smartphone and Galaxy Gear 2 Watch. Photo: Samsung Tomorrow/Flickr

Korean rech giant has just unveiled a new smartwatch and fitness band as well as the latest version of its Galaxy series smartphone on Monday, demonstrating how the battleground for innovation is shifting from the hand to the wrist.

Sanmsung set a trend less than six months ago for wearable devices that are linked to mobile handsets with its Galaxy Gear watch, which has seen rivals like Sony and Huawei follow in its wake, reports Reuters.

“With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics,” JK Shin, co-chief executive and president of Samsung’s mobile business, revealed to the media at the annual Mobile World Congress technology trade show in Barcelona. Samsung will roll out the S5 globally on April 11, with price tag detailed later.

“Our consumers do not want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology,” he said, adding that they simply want beautiful design, a more advanced camera, faster connectivity and technology that would help them keep fit, Shin said.

Market expectations for the new S5, one of Samsung’s marquee product launches this year, remain subdued given its comparative lack of innovation.

“The Galaxy S5 has great features and will probably sell well due to massive marketing support,” Forrester Research analyst Thomas Husson said. “But is the total product experience it offers differentiated enough to continue the sales success story? Is it enough to bet on fitness and fingerprint sensors to beat Apple – rooting the experience in people’s daily lives? I don’t think so.”

The just unveiled smartphone features a slightly bigger screen than its predecessor, at 5.1 inches compared with 5 inches, advanced camera technology and better protection against water and dust, the biggest smartphone maker reports.

Which is more, Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner on the home button, which the company’s main rival Apple introduced in its latest device iPhone 5S in 2013. The function is designed to protect user’s data and provide security credentials in a swipe.

“It’s very unlikely for the S5 sales to top its predecessor S4’s performance during the key initial sales period,” said Lee Seung-woo, an analyst at IBK Securities in Seoul. “I think sales would come in fewer than 20 million units in the first three months of the launch.”

During Samsung’s Barcelona event, the South Korean tech giant also introduced to public its Gear 2 smartwatch, which runs on the Tizen operating system instead of Google’s Android software, and a stripped-down version called Gear 2 Neo, which doesn’t have a camera.

The small device was designed to monitor the wearer’s heart rate, a function used in increasingly popular health and fitness apps, or individual programs.

“The Samsung Gear Fit, also targeting the fitness sector, has a heart rate monitor, too, as does the Samsung Galaxy S5 itself, a first for a smartphone,” Reuters quotes Samsung.

The Gear Fit features a stylish curved touch-sensitive screen and the list of its features includes a pedometer, Samsung said.

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