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MWC: Samsung Unveils Galaxy S5, Gear Fit Health Tracker

Mon, 02/24/2014 - 3:11pm

After selling 200 million Galaxy devices to date, Samsung today unveiled the Galaxy S5 at the Unpacked 5 event at Mobile World Congress.Samsung CEO J.K. Shin presents the new Samsung Galaxy S5 at the Mobile World Congress (Image: AP)

Following a mini concert by the Barcelona Opera House chamber orchestra, Samsung CEO J.K. Shin emerged, standing in front of a huge screen displaying the four previous iterations of Galaxy flagship devices.

Shrugging off “earth-breaking” technological breakthroughs, Shin said that Samsung determined through market research that customers wanted only strong design and experience with a good camera and fitness tracking to boot.

From the front, the IP67 water- and dust-resistant Galaxy S5 doesn’t look strikingly different from its predecessor but perforated pattern that dots the back of the phone stands out, particularly with the light blue version of the device.

For the S5’s 16-megapixel camera, Samsung promised faster auto-focus, HDR as well as a new feature called Selective Focus.

Along with LTE category 4 support, Samsung promised the S5 will support up to eight LTE bands in any given market. Connectivity features also touch on MIMO and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Next to that under the hood is Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 801 processor and sitting up-front is a 5.1-inch full-HD display—only marginally bigger than the S4’s—with adaptive display that optimizes for viewing conditions

The S5 has a decent 2,800 mAh battery but in a pinch, users will be able to use a power saving mode that changes the display to black & white and disables all but essential applications like calls and messaging.

The device enables a finger-swipe function for mobile payments. The same finger scanner unlocks a private mode onboard the phone where a user can securely store files.

But mobile payments and security were just blips during the event, with huge focus placed on the mHealth features baked into the S5, like a heart rate monitor installed next to the camera flash, and the new Galaxy Gear wearables.

Shin and David Park, from Samsung’s marketing team, both talked about the already-announced Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo before announcing the Samsung Gear Fit with a curved super AMOLED screen and interchangeable straps. It focuses on health monitoring but also handles controls, notifications and messaging.

Both the S5 and the new Gear wearables are coming to all major U.S. carriers in April.

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