Samsung is eyeing an April release date for its upcoming Galaxy S 5, and speaking of eye, it's currently testing iris recognition technology that could be featured in the new handset.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Samsung confirmed a March or April release date for its successor to the popular Galaxy S4, and the new device is expected to have a new design and features to compete with Apple's iPhone 5c and 5c smartphones.
Samsung plans to change up the design of the Galaxy S5, mainly because consumers complained that the S4 resembled its predecessor -- the Galaxy S3 -- too closely. Samsung fans want a change, and the company plans to give them that with the new S5. No details were given as to what kind of changes, but there were hints of a possible screen size adjustment.
Aside from cosmetic changes, Samsung is looking to bulk up the new S5 with all-new features. One that may be included in the new handset is eye-scanning technology, which would be on par with Apple's new fingerprint scanner in the iPhone 5C and 5S. However, Samsung Executive Vice President of Mobile Lee Young Hee said that this new tech might not be ready in time for the S5.
“Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology,” said Lee. “We are studying the possibility but can’t really say whether we will have it or not on the S5.”
In addition, Samsung will be coupling its new S5 with an updated wearable that is meant to work alongside the handset.
“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,” said 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.”
A recent Reuters report said that Samsung would likely see a slow 2014 for smartphone sales due to Apple moving into the Chinese smartphone market. The iPhone maker just scored a deal with China's largest mobile carrier -- China Mobile Ltd -- late last month, which opens the iPhone up to 760 million China Mobile customers starting January 17, 2014.
Aside from that, Apple is expected to start selling phones with larger screens this year, which is one feature typically dominated by Samsung's Android-powered phones. With Apple entering the market and offering similar features, it poses a real problem for Samsung's mobile business.
Thomson Reuters' Starmine SmartEstimate added that Samsung's fourth quarter business was likely hit by Apple's strong iPhone sales, and that this is expected to continue through the end of the first quarter of this year.
Samsung just posted its Q4 2013 earnings, which saw the company's first profit decline in nine quarters. Operating profit was 8.3 trillion won ($7.8 billion USD) in the three months ended December 2013, which was a decrease from 9 trillion won a year earlier.