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S5 Unveiling Leads the GSMA Mobile World Congress

By James Deter, Jr - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:00AM

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Light speed for the new device means users get more of the same, but with some welcomed extras. Samsung's new smartphone is not earth-shattering, but it still rules the Galaxy.

Another year has passed and electronics manufacturer Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) kicked off the Mobile World Congress by revealing its flagship mobile device. The South Korean company is facing international competition on all fronts, from American rival Apple ( AAPL -1.17% ) to Chinese telecom provider Huawei. Undeterred by adversity, Samsung made the next step in its progression of the Galaxy line with the S5. Samsung has been able to dominate by providing the world with a blend of cutting edge technology and capable, durable equipment. The S5 is not poised to leapfrog any of its competitors, but Samsung is known to play it safe and focus on its strengths. 

Mobile wars
The S5 specs are not light years ahead of the S4, released last year. Instead, Samsung has been able to focus on what it does best, which is find a nice balance between premium hardware and the needs of its target market. Many owners of Galaxy products do not view iPhones as superior because Samsung has been able to surpass Apple's iconic device in many regards. Apple's release of the iPhone 5c was viewed as an attempt to gain traction in foreign markets, with its less-than-stellar plastic casing and a reduced cost. It is rumored that the new iPhone will sport a larger screen,  and it has become obvious that Apple wants to drop Samsung into a black hole.

Spaced out
Last year, investors were not amused with all the additional features of the S4, which many considered simply bloatware. Samsung also retained 30% of the mobile device sales,  so even in a period a criticism the Galaxy prevailed. This year's model's most obvious device upgrade is the increased megapixels of both the rear and front-facing cameras. An increase to screen size from 5.0 to 5.1 inches on the super AMOLED screen keeps the Galaxy from making the hyper-jump into phablet territory. The most useful feature is the limited water resistance that should provide a safety net if your S5 ever takes a toilet plunge, but how this affects the liquid damage indicator for insurance purposes has yet to be determined.

Ludicrous speed
Unfortunately Samsung missed some opportunities to truly make this year's Galaxy out of this world. The lack of 64-bit processing architecture definitely gives the iPhone 5 the advantage in terms of raw power. The continued use of a plastic body may have disappointed some, but this is how Samsung has found the perfect balance between the truly exquisite and practical basics. This is also the first time the S5 has been shown, and like last year, many variations of the S5 are bound to pass thorough the mobile device orbit. The key advantage for Samsung is that the company is not afraid to please everyone by offering an alternate universe of galaxies aimed at any possible user.

Stars aligned
The demand for the new Galaxy is already on track to surpass the records set by its predecessors, specifically the best selling smartphone of all-time S4 . Mike Sievert, CMO of T-Mobile tweeted that the preregistrations for the the S5 exceeded over 100,000 within 48 hours, a new record . Samsung will implement Lucid Logic's optimizing software to provide users with an ultra power saving mode. This wonderful feature sacrifices display colors for black and white to provide 24 hours of talk time with the last 10% of battery charge . Battery life has always been key weakness of the smartphone and simply by incorporating this tech is a huge win for Samsung, the S5 users and investors.

To infinity and beyond
It looks like Samsung is poised to break more records, again, with the S5. From the subtle tweaks to its design to the highly desired improvements, its looks as though Samsung will be the guardian of the galaxy. It was very strategic for Samsung to use the GSMA Mobile World Congress as the moment for S5 universal preview. Now the world anxiously awaits what will probably be the most sought after mobile device for 2014. This is just the beginning for the S5 as there are sure to be iterations in the pipeline catering to specific demographics. The S4 Active's dust and water preventive seals are now standard for the S5, so the future variations of this device may drop possible hints toward the 2015 Galaxy.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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