Samsung will hold its "Unpacked 5" press conference during Mobile World Congress on Feb. 24 during Mobile World Congress where we will almost certainly see the Galaxy S5 for the first time. In previous years, Samsung has really stepped up its game with each launch of its new Galaxy S-branded smartphone, though this year we aren't expecting as much of a huge jump on the hardware front, but instead a nice all-around boost to some of the latest specs we've seen in other flagships from competitors. So what do we think the Galaxy S5 may include? Lets find out.
Galaxy S5 Display
A recent report in The New York Times suggests that we can toss out any fantasies of crazy eye-ball scanning technology and super sharp quad-HD displays. That means that all of the rumors pointing to 2560 x 1,440 screen resolution may fall flat, at least in the initial version of the Galaxy S5. There are still some rumors suggesting that quad-HD is in the cards, though. Alleged packaging leaked on Tuesday points to a "QHD Super AMOLED screen," which means quad-HD make indeed make an appearance. The company is known for upgrading its devices after the fact (the Galaxy S4 LTE-A SKU, for example), so perhaps we'll see a sharper version down the line.
Galaxy S5 Hardware
On the processor front, we're expecting a bump to a faster Snapdragon 800 processor. An AnTuTu benchmark showed the device running that chip, and while it didn't provide information on the clockspeed the increase in performance over the Galaxy S4 suggests there have been some tweaks to the processor and a bump from a Snapdragon 600 chip. Recently leaked packaging also points to a 2.5GHz clockspeed. This suggests we won't see the rumored 64-bit CPU just yet, but until Samsung has a real use case for it, that processor probably isn't necessary. As for RAM and storage, we're expecting 3GB of RAM and 32GB and 64GB models of the Galaxy S5.
Galaxy S5 Camera
Samsung may bump the 13-megapixel camera on the Galaxy S4 to a 15.9-megapixel camera on the Galaxy S5 – at least according to the same AnTuTu benchmark that discussed the processor. The same packaging we referenced earlier, however, points to a 20-megapixel camera. Samsung has so far focused on increasing the megapixel count on its cameras instead of opting to venture into different areas – like pixel size, as HTC has, or by adding in optical image stabilization (OIS), like LG has. We hope OIS is included, however, especially since Samsung has the tech to add that option. Either way, we're expecting at least some form of bump from the 13-megapixel camera on the S4.
Galaxy S5 Software
Samsung has been slow to a global roll-out of Android 4.4 KitKat to its existing portfolio of phones. However, the Galaxy S5 is expected to run Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. Google has asked Samsung to tone it down on its TouchWiz customization options, though this handset was likely far along in development before that request was made. As such, we're expecting a TouchWiz-heavy user interface, likely with some of the Magazine UX changes we saw introduced on the new Galaxy Note tablets introduced at CES and a flatter design, as some leaked software has suggested. The New York Times said Samsung won't be promoting new software gimmicks this time around, so maybe we'll see the elimination – or at least some deep hiding – of features that are present on the Galaxy S4.
Galaxy S5 Design
We're really stuck here. We don't yet have any clue what the Galaxy S5 is going to look like. Early rumors suggested Samsung was going to opt for more premium materials such as aluminum instead of plastic. Whether or not Samsung is actually doing that is still a big unknown. The company may gravitate from its shiny plastic toward a faux-leather back that's prevalent on its Galaxy Note products, or it may have a different material entirely. We just don't know right now.
Final Thoughts, Including Galaxy S5 Launch Date
We're pretty confident at this point that we're going to be able to play with the Galaxy S5 on Feb. 24. Right now it sounds like a pretty solid jump from the Galaxy S4, with a new processor, improved camera and better software. Samsung doesn't usually announce devices until they're ready to hit the market, so we're expecting the phone to be available shortly after launch. Our best guess is a March or April launch. Also, considering the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S III launched on all major U.S. carriers, we expect that trend to continue.