Mixed Response to Galaxy S5: Why Was Galaxy S5 Unveiled Earlier than Expected? | BusinessKorea

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The Samsung Galaxy S5.
The Samsung Galaxy S5.
7 March 2014 - 4:22pm

Samsung’s next-gen flagship phone has been criticized in the industry after it was showcased in Feb. The speculation surrounding the reason behind the early launch of the Galaxy S5 at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) has not subsided, in tandem with market’s cold response to the new model’s technological innovations.

According to industry sources on March 6, the Galaxy S5, which was unveiled during the “Samsung Unpacked 2014 Episode 1” event at the Barcelona International Convention Centre on Feb. 24 (local time), has met with a mixed response at home and abroad. Critics point out that its specifications do not live up to market expectations.

In an article titled, “The Samsung Galaxy S5 Is Missing 5 Big Things” posted on its website, US-based business magazine Forbes said, “Rumors of a Galaxy S5 with a metal unibody were among the earliest gossip about the new Samsung phone, but so far it hasn’t come true.” Influential media outlets such as CNN, Bloomberg, and Financial Times remarked, “The Galaxy S5 barely kept up appearances of the Galaxy S series,” or, “There was no destructive innovation in it.”

Meanwhile, Samsung Mobile Business head Shin Jong-kyun commented, “The Galaxy S5 is the one that fulfills its intended function as a smartphone.” In effect, its heart rate sensor, waterproof and dustproof functions, and technology of supporting for different LTE methods in the world got good reviews. 

The controversy surrounding the Galaxy S5 was anticipated prior to its release, though. Unconfirmed specifications reported by IT news sites prior to the showcasing of the new model contributed to intensifying market expectations. The new version was rumored to have a metal body, a QHD display, and a 20-megapixel camera. In addition, it was falsely reported that eye scanning iris recognition will possibly be included. However, the S5’s specs turned out to be not much different from those of its predecessors, except for a 16 megapixel camera. 

As a result, various speculations surrounding the main reason behind Samsung’s decision to reveal its new flagship device at this year’s MWC have circulated widely. In particular, many in the industry pointed out that it was unusual for the Korean tech giant to rush out of London and New York to go to MWC 2014, after launching an aggressive marketing campaign for the Galaxy S3 and S4 during its special Unpacked events in those cities. On top of that, it became inevitable for the firm to wait before the Galaxy S5 is officially introduced in the global market on April 11, owing to its early release.

A Samsung executive said, “There are perhaps many reasons behind our decision to reveal the Galaxy S5 at this year’s MWC, but it was mainly aimed at countering Apple’s iPhone 5S.” The official added, “I heard that it was necessary for our company to unveil the new version ahead of schedule, since the iPhone 5S got a better-than-expected response in Europe, which is the Galaxy S series’ stronghold.” 

A source in the mobile phone industry remarked, “Actually, there is a general consensus among Samsung employees about a lack of product innovation, even before the Galaxy S5 was revealed.” The source concluded by saying, “To the best of my knowledge, Samsung decided to showcase the new model at MWC 2014, rather than through a separate Unpacked event, because it was much easier to divert attention away from the innovation problem.”


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