Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Could Be a Game Changer

The upcoming Galaxy S5 could win back share against Apple's iPhone 5s.

Feb 24, 2014 at 8:30PM

Samsung's (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) rise as the world's largest smartphone vendor has been nothing less than impressive. The company has not only made a killing in the low end and mid range of the handset market, but it has built a strong enough brand at the high end with its Galaxy S series that it is a very legitimate threat to the mighty Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). While the Galaxy S4 did extremely well, sales of this phone disappointed the lofty expectations that the investor community had. That said, the Galaxy S5 can be a "game changer."

Samsung is fighting both Apple and secular trends
While Samsung's products are strong, and while its growth in the high-volume entry/mid-range of the market is robust, the company must fight two headwinds at the very high end of the market:

  1. The high end of the handset market has slowed considerably, much to the chagrin of both Samsung and its chief high-end rival, Apple.
  2. Apple seems to be strengthening its position at the high end.

The first point is one that nobody can really do anything about, and having a high market share position means growing that share is increasingly difficult. The second bullet point, however, is something Samsung can attempt to combat with next-generation, differentiated products.

Apple's iPhone 5s could become stale
While the iPhone 5s has been described by Apple as the most "forward-thinking" smartphone that the company has ever created, there is very real risk that it will become stale alongside phones that are coming at Mobile World Congress 2014. More importantly, though, is that Samsung's Galaxy S5 is likely to prove to be a rather nice phone with great hardware and software, as the company continues to refine its approach.

The Galaxy S5 is likely to sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 in the U.S. and other developed markets (and an "Exynos Infinity" for international versions), 3GB of RAM, a 2560x1440 display, an updated/new industrial design, and a fingerprint reader. This should make it the crème de la crème of Android devices, and to address the critics that Samsung's products are "cheap plastic," there will likely be a version with a metal chassis. The iPhone 5s is likely to pale, at least from a hardware perspective, in comparison.

It's not all about the hardware
There's no doubt that the S5 will likely to be more feature-packed and have a more aesthetically pleasing design than the iPhone 5s, but this really isn't enough. Many Apple buyers became customers not only for the hardware, but for the software ecosystem, the smooth uncluttered user interface, and the excellent support that Apple provides. Also, it's tough to deny the cachet that the Apple brand has among the more affluent of the smartphone-buying population.

It will be interesting to see how Apple's market-share numbers end up following the Galaxy S5 launch. If the Galaxy S5 is as impressive as the leaks and the pre-release marketing hype suggest, then Apple's market share could take a meaningful hit until the company launches its next-generation iPhone 6, which should contain meaningful hardware and software improvements that can turn the tide back in Apple's favor.

Foolish bottom line
The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 is likely to be a great device, the most premium of the Android devices. Apple is probably going to lose high-end share as this product ramps, but if Apple is smart, it will prepare to host a "special event" to launch a suite of new iPhone products sooner rather than later. 

Get in early on Apple's next technological revolution
If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now... for just a fraction of the price of AAPL stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Ashraf Eassa has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers