Samsung makes iteration look easy, but not bad
As I write this, the Galaxy S5 is being introduced by Samsung in Barcelona, Spain, during Mobile World Congress 2014. The company announced their Unpacked 5 event not too long ago, and ever since then we've been under siege when it comes to Samsung related rumors and speculation. When it comes to a flagship device, though, we really shouldn't be all that surprised. We've been hearing about Samsung's changes for months now, and the excitement has indeed been growing. 2014 was supposed to be the year that Samsung changed up quite a bit when it comes to their Android-based hero devices, specifically its TouchWiz user interface.
Too bad none of that happened.
Before I get too far into this, let me just make one thing clear: Samsung has a strategy that works for them. No one can dispute this. The company sells a lot of phones, and when it comes to the Android army, there's no question as to who is leading the charge against any and all competitors. Samsung is Android for a lot of regular consumers, and that's not going to change anytime soon. They've built up a huge presence in just about every market you can think of, and if that's going to be degraded, it will take time.
The question on everyone's mind, though, is whether or not that time has already started, and we're bearing witness to the eventual collapse of one of the giants in the mobile industry. Specifically, with the launch of the Galaxy S 4 last year and its more iterative approach to an upgrade from the previous generation device, many were expecting a big change this year. A device that blew away the competition, but also the expectations of anyone and everyone waiting to see the new handset.
Now that the Galaxy S5 is here, I've already seen plenty of remarks on Twitter and other social networks that all seem to reflect the same thing: it's not enough. Whether it's the hardware or the software, people were expecting more and Samsung wasn't able to meet those demands. Not that Samsung should expect to, mind you. Our own expectations are our worst nightmare. However, while Samsung may not have changed things up as much as many people --including myself-- expected them to, I can't help but see the silver lining here.
I know, it's crazy that I could have something positive to say about a device like the Galaxy S5, but hear me out.
The Galaxy S5 is another iterative device, just like the Galaxy S 4 was an iterative handset from the Galaxy S III. But, here's the thing: that's not a bad thing. With a yearly refresh schedule, it's going to be hard to always include the best processors, sensors, or whatever else some consumers might be looking for. I think that's one reason why Apple has positioned its major flagship refreshes every other year.
When we're dealing with a yearly refresh, this was always going to be the result. Eventually. With five different flagships for the Galaxy S lineup now, we've finally reached that inevitable moment. Samsung's not going to fix what isn't broken, and since their phones are selling so well, they've got no reason to think anything's broken. Sure, a change to TouchWiz would be nice, but apparently that's not something the wide audience want.
Besides, look at the way iOS 7 was criticized for changing things up. Does Samsung want to take that heat yet? The answer to that is apparently no. Will it happen some day? I don't doubt it. That day's just not today.
The Galaxy S5 features a slightly larger display than the Galaxy S 4, while still maintaining that 1080p selling point. It has a slightly faster processor. The camera's still a 16MP shooter, but I'm sure that's more than enough for the average consumer. It doesn't have a slimy, slick plastic back cover anymore (I'm still not necessarliy sure I'm a fan of the new cover, though.). And there's even features baked into the device to try and help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
It's going to come down to what you're looking for, though. If you bought a Galaxy S 4 last year, especially near the end of the year, I wouldn't be too surprised if you didn't see a reason to upgrade to the Galaxy S5 in April, when it's expected to see the light of day. But, I guess that would be my question to you:
Are you going to buy Samsung's Galaxy S5?