Friday, January 10, 2014

Samsung to release Galaxy S5 in March / April timeframe, possibly with iris recognition

Samsung is planning a release of a new flagship model, the Galaxy S5, in the March / April timeframe, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The smartphone, the latest in the Korean giant's flagship Galaxy S series, might might -- with the operative word being "might" -- even include iris-scanning technology, Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of the company’s mobile business, added at CES this week.

The release of the Galaxy S5 will coincide with that of a new wearable device that will be a new version of Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch. You might recall that when the original Galaxy Gear was introduced in late September of 2013, it shipped at the same time as the Galaxy Note 3, and that the company even promoted it as the "Galaxy Note 3 + Gear."

Lee 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.
Speaking at CES, Lee added:
Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology. We are studying the possibility but can’t really say whether we will have it or not on the S5.
Iris recognition technology would be a response to the iPhone 5s' TouchID fingerprint scanner.

Security experts have said, however, that if you wish to be really secure, use of biometrics is not the way to go.

While the Samsung Galaxy S4 was still a hit, sales were not as high as the company wanted. Lee attributed this fact to the design of the GS4 being to similar to its predecessor, the GS3. This will not be the case with the GS5, Lee said.
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. For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it’s about the display and the feel of the cover.
Although the Galaxy Gear wasn't well received, in October of last year, Samsung registered a design in South Korea for smartglasses similar to Google Glass, so it's obvious the company has not given up on wearable computing.

We would also expect the second iteration of the Galaxy Gear to show major improvements.

Earlier this week, Samsung saw its streak of profit increases broken, seeing its first profit decline in nine quarters. Samsung said high-end handset growth slowed, at the same time the company paid employee bonuses estimated at nearly $1 billion. Operating profit was 8.3 trillion won ($7.8 billion) in the three months ended December, falling from 9 trillion won ($8.46 billion) a year earlier, the company said.

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