Samsung Galaxy S5 to launch by April, may sport eye-scanning tech, says executive

By Alexandra Burlacu | Jan 09, 2014 10:09 AM EST

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Samsung has revealed some of its plans for future products and reckoned that it's considering an iris scanner for its next-generation Galaxy S5 flagship smartphone.

The yet-to-be-announced Samsung Galaxy S5 has starred in various rumors recently. The smartphone was speculated to launch with eye- and fingerprint-scanning technology, and finally ditch the polycarbonate casing in favor of a full metal jacket. A top executive at Samsung has now revealed that the company is indeed looking at the possibility of equipping the Galaxy S5 with an eye scanner.

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Lee Young Hee, Executive Vice President of Samsung's mobile business, discussed the company's plans for future products in an interview with Bloomberg. The executive talked about the much-rumored Galaxy S5, as well as a new wearable device that Samsung is reportedly planning to unveil within the next few months.

"We've been announcing our first flagship model in the first half of each year, around March and April, and we are still targeting for release around that time," Lee told Bloomberg. This could dismiss previous rumors about a release at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014 in February. On the other hand, this comment could also mean an actual release in March or April, which would allow for a MWC unveiling in February.

Lee further confirmed that the next-generation Samsung Galaxy S5 will be accompanied by the second-generation Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Samsung launched its first smartwatch a while back in a bid to beat Apple to the punch and release its gadget first, but many consider that rushing to launch compromised the quality and success of the product. The Galaxy Gear has received lots of criticism for its cumbersome operation, its design and its limited compatibility with other devices. The second Galaxy Gear smartwatch will reportedly address these issues, according to Lee.

"When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions, and the bulky design will also be improved."

The executive also tackled the potential reasons behind the Galaxy S4's disappointing sales, acknowledging that it was not the dramatic improvement people expected.

"Consumers couldn't really feel much difference between the two products from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn't as big," noted Lee. With the next-generation Galaxy S5, Samsung will reportedly "go back to the basics" and launch a "very different" smartphone. The differences will mostly consist of the display and the feel of the cover, said the executive.

When it comes to eye-scanning technology, Lee said the Samsung is considering the possibility because "many people are fanatical about it."

The Galaxy S5, however, will not be the only 2014 device from Samsung to sport a big change in terms of appearance. The Galaxy Note 4 may sport an even more radical redesign, as Lee told Bloomberg that the phablet may boast a three-sided display that would allow users to read messages from an angle.

Lastly, the executive confirmed that Samsung will focus on tablets in 2014. The company has already unveiled four new tablets this week at CES - a 12.2-inch Galaxy NotePRO and three Galaxy TabPRO models, with more to come later this year. 


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