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The Next Medium Thing? Samsung Galaxy S5 Will Be Unveiled This Month


Don’t expect a lot of singing and dancing when Samsung Electronics introduces the next generation of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, this month.

Samsung showed off its current flagship, the Galaxy S4, last March in a glitzy gala at Radio City Music Hall in New York, billing it as “the next big thing.” But the S4 has underperformed analysts’ expectations, and Samsung’s archrival, Apple, has regained ground at the premium end of the smartphone market in recent months.

This time, Samsung plans a relatively low-key event for the Galaxy S5, according to a person in the smartphone industry with knowledge of the plans, in keeping with the setting, which will be more business than Broadway: a trade show called the Mobile World Congress, in Barcelona.

Samsung sent invitations to the event to journalists and others this week, billing it as “2014 Episode 1” in its “Unpacked” series of product introductions.

While there had been speculation that Samsung might depart from the Galaxy name for its newest phone, the invitation was headed “Unpacked 5,” suggesting that the company had decided to stick with that nomenclature for at least one more generation of its flagship phone. The person with knowledge of the plans confirmed that the new handset would indeed be called the Galaxy S5.

After some critics disparaged some features of the Galaxy S4 as gimmicky — including its Air View feature, which lets users answer the phone by waving a hand above it — Samsung seems to be playing it safer this time around.

While there will be design enhancements and other improvements in the Galaxy S5, the company is counting on other things, like an expected new version of its Knox security software, to enhance the appeal of its devices to relatively untapped audiences, like business users.

There has been speculation that the Galaxy S5 might include new technologies like an eye scanner that would allow the phone to identify its owner, or a so-called Quad HD, or WQHD, display, with ultra-high resolution. But neither of these will make an appearance on the Galaxy S5, according to the person with knowledge of the plans, who had been briefed on the specifications. However, the new phone is expected to include a better camera and a higher-performance processor.

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