All eyes were fixated on Samsung at Mobile World Congress. It had littered the streets of Barcelona with giant ads, teasing they typical “next big thing” with the predicted number 5.
The existence of the Galaxy S 5 was no secret, even if its actual appearance wasn’t known to us until just hours before the announcement. (We live in a sad world where not knowing every last detail about a phone before it’s announced is abnormal.) But the phone Samsung announced was not at all what we were expecting. It’s wasn’t the super progressive, innovative handset that would put the final nail in the coffin for all its competitors. There was no 2K display onboard, no OIS camera, and no metal chassis.
To be fair, a lot of us questioned the legitimacy of most the rumors leading up to the announcement. But even those who highly doubted Samsung would deviate from its typical plastic housings and fix an unnecessary 2K display to the front of its 2014 flagship had to have felt somewhat disappointed in the Galaxy S 5.
It will ship with 2GB RAM, 16 or 32GB fixed storage with a microSD card slot for up to 128GB extra, a 16-megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus, a Snapdragon 801 SoC with a quad-core Krait 400 CPU clocked 2.5GHz, and a 2,800mAh battery. Sure, there are a handful of notable changes and improvements, like the fingerprint scanner or heartrate sensor. But as I explained in an editorial shortly after the announcement, this sort of marginal upgrade from Samsung is either a) an indication that the seemingly futile spec war is (thankfully) slowing to a more manageable pace or b) a sign that Samsung has fully jumped into the passenger seat and is unintentionally letting the competition grab the reigns.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter. The Galaxy S 5 is the most marginally upgraded Galaxy S to date, and while it will still be a fantastic device and sell by the millions, it’s upsetting to a lot of people, even die-hard Samsung fans.
A fancier Galaxy S 5
In the wake of the underwhelming announcement, however, attention started to shift to prior rumors of a second Galaxy S 5 picked up – an alleged ultra-premium Galaxy handset, rumored as the Galaxy F or Galaxy S 5 Prime. This so-called Galaxy F was rumored to come with all the things the Galaxy S 5 didn’t deliver on – the missing 2K display, metal chassis, 3GB RAM, a 64-bit processor, etc.
Renders have surfaced which are quite clearly a fan concept. In fact, the whole Galaxy F story reads like fan fiction of the Galaxy S 5 that wasn’t, more so than the guerrilla play by Samsung it was said to be. Word was, Samsung purposefully announced the modest Galaxy S 5 before HTC to lull the Taiwanese-based maker into a sense of security, then later this year, Samsung would pull the rug out from under HTC and its competitors with the groundbreaking, far more impressive Galaxy F.
That sure would make a pretty story, eh?
Well, JK Shin, President of Samsung Mobile, came forward last Friday to put an end to the rumors, stating the rumors were flat out “wrong” and there was “no such thing” as a premium Galaxy S 5.
As upsetting as Shin’s statement may be for those who were holding out hope, it’s a good thing for several reasons.
Imagine Shin never debunked the rumors and we’re three months in the future. Samsung has launched its Galaxy S 5, millions have since bought it, and we’re waiting patiently for Google I/O and our toaster to kick some burnt toast out at us. Then it happens. Samsung sends out invites to some mysterious event, and we all cheer … except those millions who just recently purchased a Galaxy S 5 Normal Edition.
Can you imagine? The anger? Remorse? The pure hatred people would feel for Samsung?
At the same time, I can imagine Samsung doing just this. And if you’re into conspiracies, this exact scenario could explain why JK Shin debunked the rumors in the first place. Who would buy the Galaxy S 5 if there were rumors floating about that an even better one was just around the corner? Some, but definitely not as many if a giant hole were punched in the rumor.
For the sake of Samsung and all the future Galaxy S 5 purchasers’ happiness, let’s hope this conspiracy is a crazy as it sounds … and not true.
Further dilution and devaluation of its brand
If Samsung has done one thing in the last few years, it has built an empire around its brand. Galaxy is globally known as Samsung’s brand of Android phones, and Galaxy S, at least at one point, stood for its most premium offer.
Fast forward to current day, and Samsung has also diluted the crap out of that very same brand with devices which arguably belong in a category of their own: Galaxy S 3 mini, Galaxy S 4 mini, the Galaxy S Duos phones, etc.
Now there are low-end phones which bear Samsung’s high-end branding. And imagine how deflated its brand would become if the staple Galaxy S were no longer the pinnacle of the Galaxy S line, but instead fell to an even more premium version.
Those of you who don’t care about the importance of branding probably couldn’t care less. But those who do understand Samsung is slowly ripping its own golden ticket to shreds in favor of consumers who don’t know any better.
Even if the so-called Galaxy F were to release under that particular brand and not as a Galaxy S 5 Prime, yet another line of Samsung phones is the very last thing we need.
Isn’t that what the Note is for anyway?
Galaxy Note is its new baby, and it gets all the attention. Just like last year, being about six months off the pace of the Galaxy S line each year, Samsung has more time to put newer, better specifications in the Galaxy Note handset. For instance, the Galaxy Note 3 bore 3GB RAM and a Snapdragon 800, it was the first to break away from the hyperglaze finish, and it was the first utilize some of the most useful features, like Multi-Window.
Would it not make more sense for this ultra-premium smartphone from Samsung to materialize as the next Galaxy Note?
Either way, I’m prone to take Shin’s word as truth. I don’t think a more premium Galaxy S 5 is on its way, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung did some more experimentation with the Note brand.
What say you, folks? Are you happy Shin shot down the premium Galaxy S 5 rumors? Or were you hoping the rumors were true? If Shin had not killed the rumors, would you have still picked up a Galaxy S 5? Better yet, now that we’re told a better Galaxy S 5 is not on the horizon, will you cave and get the S 5 right away?