Yesterday Samsung unveiled their latest Galaxy S series smartphone, the Galaxy S5. Samsung says that the new phone was designed to "focus on what matters most to consumers". The display is a 5.1" FHD (432 PPI) Super AMOLED display (seems to be the same display as on the GS4, only a bit larger).

Other features of the GS5 include a 2.5 Ghz quad-core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16MP camera (4K video support). The GS5 is dust and water resistant, and it packs a finger scanner and a heart rate sensor. The new flagship device will launch on April 11 in 150 countries worldwide.

In past weeks we heard several reports regarding the GS5 display - that it will use an LCD and not an AMOLED, that it will use a 5.2" WQHD (2560 x 1440, 560 PPI) AMOLED and even that it may sport a flexible (curved) OLED screen. But Samsung did not really innovate with the new display. It may be that Samsung will unveil a "premium" GS5 model later on - and this one may sport the higher-density OLED or even a curved display indeed.

It's also highly likely that we'll soon see a GS5 "Zoom" model and perhaps a GS5 "Active" model (even though the regular GS5 is already water and dust resistant), and these may adopt a different display.



If a fingerprint scanner, a

If a fingerprint scanner, a slightly larger display and a heart rate monitor is really "what matters most to the customer" then the mobile phone industry has become very dull...

The S5 probably isn't a bad phone, but by all accounts it seems even less innovative then Apple's iPhone 5.


Oh, they didn't innovate with the display, huh? Consider that they are claiming that the Galaxy S5 can surf the web for 10 hours straight, can watch video for 12 hours straight, and has a monochrome mode for increased battery endurance. This implies that they have made significant improvements over the Galaxy S4 panel and potentially over the very impressive Note3 panel as well. Just because the screen doesn't show some overtly visible differentiator does not mean that there is no innovation.

Its so bizzare that people associate innovation with the shape of a device. In this case, the design of the smartphone is very similar to that of the Galaxy S4, so it is said to lack innovation. But like *all* device refreshes, it is faster, has a better camera, has new accessories, has updated software, and new applications. In fact, this device seems to have significantly MORE innovation than most device refreshes, and should be a top performer and a great device to own and use.


First of all:Where did I say

First of all:Where did I say that I associate shape with innovation?

That being said: I'll believe the claims about 10 and 12 hour battery life when I see it first hand. The monochrome mode is a workaround that might come in handy at time, but let's be honest: Most users will never want to use this.

Overall I think we are looking at this differently: Of course there is impressive new technology in the S5 I would never deny that and in that respect there is a lot of innovation in the device. However in my book real innovation is more than just using the newest semiconductor technology to crank up the processor some more or adding a new mode to your camera software.

For me Innovation is about rolling out entirely new concepts, solving problems that have bugged people in earlier versions or at times even fulfilling needs that the customer wasn't even aware of (this is what Apple excelled at und Jobs). In that respect the S5 is underwhelming with the possible exception of batter life and again in that respect I have been burned so often that I will believe it when I see it.

Sean - it's just that people

Sean - it's just that people expected more from Samsung, like a curved display, or a higher-density one (which doesn't really make sense, but that's a different topic). Actually the biggest innovation may be the new display chip that enhances colors and contrast under ambient light.

You didn't associate shape

You didn't associate shape with innovation. I was trying to use an common example (perhaps poorly) to ask the question of why the idea of innovation is tied to obvious morphology or overt features.

To take semiconductors SoCs as an example, there is so much innovation that goes into a bump in speed or a node shrink. It's not a trivial improvement. Thought has to go into the way that calcuations are being done, the types of tasks that will be routinely handled, how hot the chip gets, how they are organized, and the amount of power consumed (especially for mobile). It's almost ironic that it is seen as a simple 'cranking' up of performance because we see something go from handling 100 operations per unit time to 200. Even moreso that microchips (or nanochips) represent the most complex manufactured objects on the face of the earth.

My larger point is (and was) this: just because the innovation can't be directly seen doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

The Galaxy S5 seems to have no fewer than 3 camera sensors, with a new isocell sensor on the main one. In fact, a large part of its photography repritoir seems to be informed by computational photography, which is quite cutting edge and will be increasing in popularity in the future. From a software perspective, it implies that they may be using the DSP or at least the GPU to handle a lot of the camera features in real-time (and without specialized optics) that would have been impossible otherwise, and modifies the idea of photo quality to being partially a software problem. This is so-called 'real' innovation, plain and simple, though perhaps not as easily understood as a fingerprint scanner.

Another for the Galaxy line is the year-over-year improvements of the OLED screen. It's not easy to see directly, but I'm sure that there is a lot of research put into increasing display performance and increasing efficiency. That's precisely why I frequent this site. Unfortunately that innovation is likely to go unnoticed. And how many companies develop and manufactur their own displays?

The Galaxy S5 also has added biometrics -- in this case a heartrate monitor. Although it seems strange, this is a pretty big deal, very forward thinking, and the future. Biometrics promise to give us a moment to moment view of our health, which is great for research, and can potentially diagnose problems early. For example, the current monitor might measure arythmeia or even stress. That this sensor is in a mass-consumer mobile device is very significant. Though the technology is limited today, it is a first step, and with more sophistication it can become something like a star-trek tri-corder and be used a serious tool to improve health.

The list goes on. While I would probably argue with you that Samsung hasn't necessarily always rolled out well polished features, it's hard to slight them for not-innovating and year over year, they present the industry with things that simply were not present before. This is starkly different to a company like Apple that presents things that have often largely existed in the industry prior, but it presents them well and delivers them with polish. Both are 'real' innovation.

Indeed. I think that Samsung

Indeed. I think that Samsung's largest challenge is communication. It's important to set expectations and sell directly to people's wants. Samsung hasn't mastered this yet and does fairly poorly during presentations. Prior to this presentation it feature a deluge of branded features, and this presentation seemed to be the opposite extreme. They may just need to hire a better director for keynote presentations; one that understands both people and the technology.

I read about the ambient sensor! That is pretty cool, and generally useful. Thanks!

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