Samsung's (NASDAQOTH:SSNLF) latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, isn't even two months old and yet there are already widespread rumors that the South Korean tech giant is gearing up for another major handset release.
Samsung's next phone, the hotly anticipated Galaxy S5 Prime, could fix many of issues critics have long had with Samsung's handsets, while putting further pressure on Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone business.
Another Galaxy coming in June?
Reports of a forthcoming Galaxy S5 Prime have been floating around the Internet for months, even before the original Galaxy S5's unveiling. On Monday, those rumors gained additional credence when two outlets, TK Tech News and Phone Arena, offered images of what may be Samsung's next handset.
Compared to the original Galaxy S5, the most notable feature of the S5 Prime could be its rumored aluminum body. Samsung's previous phones, including the Galaxy S5, have all been made out of cheap-feeling plastic, much to the ire of critics, most of whom frequently complain that Samsung's phones don't feel like the high-end, expensive devices they are.
UHD coming to smartphones
Although Apple's CEO Tim Cook has criticized Samsung's choice of screen technology, few have found fault with the Galaxy S5's 1080p display. Nevertheless, Samsung is also said to be bumping the display resolution up, aiming to offer a Galaxy S5 Prime with an ultrahigh-resolution screen.
This move could be aimed at warding off future competitors: In the Android space, LG's forthcoming G3 is said to be packing its own ultrahigh-definition screen, while Apple's next iPhone could get a higher-resolution display to go along with more screen real estate.
To power that display, Samsung could upgrade its handset's processor, moving to a Snapdragon 805 from the Snapdragon 801. The 805 is better able to tackle ultra-HD than the 801, able of outputting 4K resolutions on both the device itself and an external monitor.
The Galaxy S6?
If the Galaxy S5 does feature a better display, faster processor, and higher-quality build materials, it will be interesting if Samsung decides to stick with the S5 moniker. The Galaxy S5 was heavily criticized for not offering enough improvements over the Galaxy S4 -- keeping the S5 name could help temper expectations.
In the past, Samsung has released variations on its flagships (the S4 Active, for example, along with the SIII and S4 Mini) but the changes made to the underlying hardware were far from substantial. If the reports prove true, Samsung could just as easily call its new flagship the Galaxy S6.
Extremely fast following
And that, ultimately, appears to be Samsung's biggest competitive edge over Apple. Despite growing competition, Apple's iPhone business has remained resilient, defying critics and continuing to grow even in the face of smartphone saturation.
But it's clear that Samsung is able to move at a more rapid pace than Apple, churning out radically improved products in just a few months time. While Apple's management complains that customers "want what we don't have," Samsung responds quickly, churning out several revisions before Apple can adjust.
Consider that, if reports of the Galaxy S5 Prime prove true, Samsung will have released three new flagship smartphones (the Note III, the S5, and the S5 Prime) in the time between Apple's annual iPhone update.
For now, Apple maintains an unprecedented level of consumer loyalty, and iOS remains the favored platform of developers. But Samsung's ability to deliver new devices at such a rapid pace is clear advantage.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AAPL. The Motley Fool owns shares of AAPL. 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.