Samsung Still Hasn't Revealed This Crucial Fact About the Galaxy S5

Google's hardware partner Samsung still hasn't revealed this crucial fact about its upcoming flagship. It could give it the edge over Apple's iPhone.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:30PM

Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) biggest hardware partner, Samsung (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF), unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, earlier this week. While the intricacies of the handset's hardware and software have mostly been revealed, there's still one major detail that hasn't been finalized: the price.

Samsung's prior Galaxy flagships have been just as expensive as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones, but if recent reports are true, Samsung could be about to make a drastic change.

A more affordable flagship?
Samsung still hasn't announced an official retail price for its forthcoming phone, which has led to widespread speculation. Various reports (via BGR) have suggested that the Galaxy S5 could retail for as little as $399 off contract. Vendors, however, including, have begun to list the phone for preorder at prices consistent with Samsung's prior models.

Ahead of its unveiling, the Samsung rumor mill, fueled by reports from fairly reputable publications, had set lofty expectations for the Galaxy S5. Samsung's flagship was supposed to raise the bar, with major new features including a metal casing and an ultra high-definition screen.

None of that happened, of course, leading me declare the phone a major disappointment. However, if Samsung does offer the phone at a sharply reduced price, it would change things quite drastically.

Pricing pressure on the iPhone heats up
Around $400, Samsung's Galaxy S5 would be price-competitive with the growing number of cheaper Android flagships. Google's own Nexus 5 (manufactured by LG) retails for just $349 off contract, while Motorola's Moto X can be purchased for $399.

This trend toward cheaper smartphones is somewhat of a concern for Apple, as low-cost, "good enough" competitors could eventually rob Apple of its customer base.

In some developed markets like the U.S. and Japan, it isn't an immediate threat, as consumers continue to rely on carrier subsidies to purchase their smartphones -- most never see the full retail price anyway. Admittedly, this could change, as carriers have begun to push subsidy-free plans. But for now, less than 30% of the smartphones purchased at the four major U.S. carriers are done so with subsidy-free plans, according Consumer Intelligence Research Partners

More broadly, on a global basis, few consumers have access to subsidies, which is why Google's Android has about 80% of the market. In a place like China, for example, where smartphone subsidies are relatively paltry or nonexistent, a cheaper Galaxy S5 could give Samsung the edge over Apple.

Waiting for pricing confirmation
Until Samsung confirms the Galaxy S5's retail price, it remains speculation. But based purely on the phone's features, the Galaxy S5 is far from a noteworthy release, and could give consumers a reason to consider phones from Google's other hardware partners.

But if Samsung decides to compete on price, and offers up this year's flagship at a sharply reduced price point, it would shake things up quite a bit. While most American consumers, still reaping the benefits of subsidies, would hardly care, it would continue to further the trend of less expensive, Android-powered flagships.

That could make things more difficult for Apple as it looks to expand the iPhone business worldwide.

A better investment than Apple?
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google. 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