Samsung's Galaxy S5 an incremental update

Nick Dillon/Ovum
26 Feb 2014

Samsung has updated its flagship smartphone, announcing its latest incarnation, the Galaxy S5, at Mobile World Congress 2014. 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 very minor – on first glance most consumers would be hard pressed to notice that it has changed from the previous version. 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 just how successful this formula has been by noting that it has sold 200 million Galaxy S devices since launching the franchise in 2010.

Rather than introducing a new raft of features, Samsung has focused on a few enhancements to the S5. The challenge for Samsung will be to convince existing users to upgrade to a handset that offers little more than its predecessor or to attract new buyers while the S4 remains on the market.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the announcement was what Samsung did not say, effectively putting to bed a number of rumors. These included suggestions that the device would be running the Tizen OS or 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.

Nick Dillon is a senior analyst for devices and platforms at Ovum. For more information, visit


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