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Samsung reveals Galaxy S5 at MWC

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Published : 2014-02-25 10:10
Updated : 2014-02-25 16:28

Samsung CEO J.K. Shin presents the new Samsung Galaxy S5 at the Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, Spain, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. Highlights of the show included major product launches from Samsung and other phone makers, along with a keynote address by Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. (AP)

Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top maker of smartphones, on Monday revealed its latest Galaxy model, which focuses more on users than features.

The Galaxy S5, introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, comes with a 5.1-inch display, wider than the 4.99 inches of its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, launched in April. The device is also equipped with a 16-megapixel camera.

"We only succeed when customers choose us," said Shin Jong-kyun, who heads Samsung's mobile business. He said the latest device focuses on meeting the needs of users rather than boasting eye-popping and complex features.

Accordingly, Shin said, the Galaxy S5 has a durable design, a simple yet powerful camera and improved connectivity, as well as other features that help users stay fit and enjoy life.

To boost its security, the Galaxy S5 adopted fingerprint screening, which is also anticipated to be applied in mobile transactions. Samsung beefed up its durability by making it dust- and water-resistant.

The smartphone allows users to track their heartbeat, the first to do so in the industry, and can be connected to Samsung's smartwatches to effectively manage workouts.

While the improved battery of 2,800 mAh allows 10 hours of Web browsing or 12 hours of video watching, its "ultra saving mode" will make the battery life last even longer by activating only vital functions.

Another prominent feature of the Galaxy S5 is its "download booster," which makes downloading much faster by combining a full long-term evolution mobile network and WiFi.

The device comes in four colors -- black, white, blue and gold. Samsung's Galaxy S5, along with its smartwatches, are set to be launched in 150 countries starting on April 11.

An employee displays a Galaxy S5 smartphone, left, and new Samsung Gear, center, and Gear Fit wristwatch devices during a Samsung Electronics Co. news conference ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday. (Bloomberg)

The tech giant also revealed its Samsung Gear Fit, a new wearable device that comes with the industry's first curved Super AMOLED display that can be worn more comfortably and connected to the Galaxy S5's health management features. The Galaxy Fit is also equipped with its own heart rate sensor.

Samsung also revealed a Tizen-powered Gear 2 smartwatch, featuring a 1.63-inch screen and basic 2.0-megapixel camera, which connects to Samsung's smartphones and other gadgets via Bluetooth technology. The Gear 2 Neo, which has no camera on its body, has the same panel size but is lighter than the Gear 2 at 55 grams.

Hosted by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, around 1,700 firms from 220 countries are participating at this year's MWC, running through Thursday under the theme "Creating What's Next." It's the largest number of participants ever.

The Galaxy S5 may be a disappointment for users who were expecting a package of new groundbreaking features, industry watchers say, but its focus on vital functions preferred by general users gives hope that it will contribute to Samsung's earnings down the road.

It is still uncertain, however, how Samsung's emphasis on health-related features, which seem to be the key of the new model, will appeal to users, other than seniors, who are attracted more to innovations.

Despite having originally adopted fingerprint screening in its flip-style 2G phone in 2005, Samsung has to overcome the image among non-Galaxy fans that it is copying its U.S. rival Apple Inc. by showing cutting-edge features new to the market.

Last month, Samsung said it logged a net profit of 7.3 trillion won ($6.8 billion) during the October-December period, a sharp fall from the 8.24 trillion won tallied the previous quarter.

The fourth-quarter readings mark the first quarterly decline in more than two years, indicating a pullback in demand as Apple Inc.'s new iPhones and cheaper smartphones from Chinese players expand their presence in the global smartphone market. (Yonhap)

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