Samsung's Latest Anti-Apple Weapon: The Galaxy S5
It features a heart rate monitor, fingerprint reader and is water-resistant. It’s Samsung's (OTC: SSNLF) latest entry in the Samsung versus Apple wars, the Galaxy S5.
Introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, the device relies on Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android OS and has a download booster that combines 4G networks and Wi-Fi simultaneously.
At 5.1 inches, the S5’s screen is only slightly bigger than its predecessor (the S4), but big enough that Samsung hopes to keep high-end consumers from switching to the smaller Apple iPhone. Samsung lost sales of its S4 when the iPhone 5S came out last September and the launch of the S5 is designed to recover some of that revenue.
Despite the new features, Leading Investment & Securities Co. analyst, Oh Sang Woo told Bloomberg, “I don’t think the new S5 smartphone itself will be a major game changer.” Game changer or not, Oh said the device was still expected to sell 50 to 60 million units a year.
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Among the improvements over the S4 are the S5’s camera and battery. The S5's camera will have a resolution of 16 megapixels versus the S4's 13, and the battery will last 20 percent longer, according to Samsung.
Samsung, which is the top smartphone vendor in China with 19 percent of the market, is not only feeling pressure from Apple’s recent deal to sell devices through China Mobile Ltd. The company also sees domestic Chinese makers, including Lenovo and Xiaomi with 12 percent and 7 percent market share respectively, starting to close the gap.
Time magazine thinks the S5 could be the phone to own this coming spring following its April 11 launch. In particular, Time said, the new Galaxy could outsell the iPhone by a significant margin.
With many people, especially in developing markets, using their smartphone as their only computing device, the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch screen, which beats the iPhone by more than an inch, could be a big selling point, according to Time.
In addition, Samsung has turned the Galaxy line into a brand to be reckoned with. In the past, all Android phones were lumped together with little distinction between them. Now the Galaxy is a well-known and respected brand all by itself.
The heart rate monitor that will be integrated into the S5 is a unique feature and, thanks to Samsung’s new Gear-Fit smartwatch, a clear move on the company’s part to appeal to the growing fitness market.
Finally, the very fact that Samsung is launching a new product at a time when Apple’s latest offering has become an almost distant memory, coupled with the company’s deep pockets when it comes to marketing, should provide plenty of buzz and interest.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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