Samsung Electronics appears poised to unveil its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, at an event later this month at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain.
Samsung sent out invitations for its "Unpacked 5" event, on Monday, Feb. 24 in Barcelona. When reached for comment by The Verge, a Samsung spokesperson said "We can't tell you what '5' means." Samsung has previously announced its Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3 phones at "Unpacked" events. For example, last March Samsung used an "Unpacked" branded event at Radio City Music Hall in New York City to unwrap the Galaxy S4 in a theatrical fashion.
While there's no guarantee Samsung will use the new event to announce the S5 (it could launch a new iteration of its Galaxy Gear smart watch) it seems likely that the showcase will be for a smartphone. Other rivals, including LG Electronics, Huawei, HTC and Nokia (NYSE:NOK), are planning product events or press conferences for Feb. 23 or Feb. 24 at the start of the trade show.
The S5 is expected to have eye-scanning technology and a new physical design. "When we moved to S4 from S3, it's partly true that consumers couldn't really feel much difference between the two products from the physical perspective, so the market reaction wasn't as big," Lee Young-hee, executive vice president of the company's mobile business, told Bloomberg in January. "For the S5, we will go back to the basics. Mostly, it's about the display and the feel of the cover."
Samsung is still the world's market leader in terms of smartphone and overall handset shipments by volume. However, the company posted flat profits from its mobile vision in the fourth quarter and a drop in sales from the third quarter. The South Korean conglomerate also said it plans to slash its marketing spending on mobile relative to revenue, though it declined to say by how much.
Analysts warned that 2014 could be a perilous year for Samsung in smartphones, especially in China, the world's largest smartphone market. According to Reuters, Samsung is bracing for its weakest mobile annual profit growth in seven years amid fierce competition, not only from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which launched its iPhones last month through China Mobile for the first time, but others as well.
One company likely to be nipping at Samsung's heels is Lenovo, which has agreed to buy Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobile division for $2.91 billion. The deal is expected to make Lenovo the world's third-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple.
- see this Samsung post
- see this The Verge article
- see this Re/code article
- see this Reuters article
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