The launch of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 has met with a mixed response from the mobile industry both on and offline.
The hotly anticipated device will be available through retail channels from 11 April, although a UK release date is not yet confirmed. The S5 was revealed by Samsung president, CEO and head of IT and mobile communications division, JK Shin (pictured), who said the device was designed with the customer's needs in mind.
Commenting on the launch, Ian Fogg, head of mobile analysis at IHS Technology, described the S5 as a ‘solid evolutionary extension of the Samsung flagship smartphone.’
Fogg said the S5’s focused features were sure to cement Samsung's market position.
‘Samsung removes a Sony flagship differentiator by adding IP67 proofing in the S5,’ Fogg said.
‘The Galaxy S5, Gear Fit and Gear 2 offer complementary features that work well together. It’s a nice linking vision that allows Samsung to cross-sell its different mobile devices.’
Fogg added that Samsung understood smartphones were the hub of the new ‘mobile lifestyle.’ He said: ‘In the past all devices linked to the PC, now the smartphone fulfils that role in the digital world.
‘Samsung’s growing range of smart wearables follows its smartphone portfolio strategy: varied features, prices, and form factors leveraging Samsung's strong brand.’
Nick Dillon, senior analyst at Ovum told Mobile: ‘Samsung is betting big on wellness, fingerprint reading and camera autofocus, while keeping a very similar look and feel for its hardware and software. The updates are so minor that on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version. Still, this should come as no great surprise, given the maturity of the smartphone market and the pressure on Samsung not to mess with its winning formula. Samsung reminded us quite how successful this formula has been, noting that it has sold 200 million Galaxy S devices since launching the franchise in 2010.
'In contrast to the Galaxy S4 which was packed with gimmicky features, Samsung has focused instead on a small number of enhancements with the S5. The challenge for Samsung will be to convince users to upgrade to a handset that offers little more than its predecessor.'
Dillon added: 'What perhaps is the most interesting aspect of the device is what Samsung did not announce, effectively putting to bed a number of rumors. These included suggestions at both ends of the scale that the device would be running Tizen OS and that it would be using a “pure” Google version of Android. That it has neither tells us both that Tizen is unlikely to see a major handset launch this year and that Google and Samsung are still operating at arm’s length.'
Online reaction to the S5 has been less positive. On the Samsung Unpacked Facebook page, one user said: ‘Very disappointing in every way. This device should he called the Galaxy S4+ NOT S5 this is a sorry excuse to charge for a new phone… this is the death of Samsung... switching to HTC or LG.’
Another user commented: ‘You guys totally went downhill. You are the Apple of android. I was excited for the Galaxy S5 but… this is a Galaxy S4.5.’
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