Although it sold millions worldwide, Samsung’s wobbling share price suggests the Samsung Galaxy S4 didn’t do anything like the numbers the gadget-maker hoped for.
Team that with the fact the flaghip phone got more than its fair share of lukewarm reviews and it’s fair to say the pressure is on for the phone-maker to really deliver with the next-generation Galaxy S model.
But how? No-one knows for sure.
But the constant stream of rumours and leaks gives us plenty of food for thought. Below, we’ve collated all the chatter on tech sites in one place so you can see at a glance what the rumour mill thinks Samsung has got in store for us.
Want the skinny? Read on…
Samsung Galaxy S5 design
It’ll have a metal construction
Purportedly as a result of criticism of the Galaxy S4’s ‘cheap-feeling’ plastic build, it's thought that the Galaxy S5 could be the first to feature a more premium metal construction.
The move was also apparently in response to the glowing reviews HTC’s One flagship phone picked up for its gorgeous aluminium unibody construction.
It’s not just metal. It’s super-robust diamond-coated metal
In December, talk surfaced that Samsung is trialling a "diamond metal surface treatment technology". The process involves blasting carbon with high temperatures in the same way diamonds are made.
The treatment would apparently result in a super robust shell that means it’s far less prone to scratches and deformities. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The only catch is that industry wisdom has it that the process is far too expensive to implement. And given that margins are already shortening in the smartphone sector, Samsung might just opt for a cheaper build.
They'll be metal and plastic variants a la iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C
Insiders cited by Sam Mobile claim the S5 will come in metal and plastic variants. The former will be pitched as an iPhone 5S-style premium option with a £660 price tag to match. Choose the plastic variant and you’re apparently looking at an outlay of just shy of £500.
How popular would a metal model be, though?
Very popular, if our research is anything to go by. In a poll of 520 people conducted by uSwitch Tech, 87% said they want to see a metal Galaxy S5. That suggests it could be one of the smartest moves Samsung has made for a long time.
Don't expect much of a change design-wise
A render of the S5 sourced by Sonny Dickson showed a phone that was hard to tell apart from the S4. That might disappoint the tech fans holding out for a new look for the Galaxy S range. But it wasn't all bad news.
That's because the renders also added more weight to rumours of a metal frame. And our studies reveal that's an addition that would be welcomed with open arms by the overwhelming majority of consumers.
Samsung Galaxy S5 release date
It’s dropping February at Mobile World Congress
Early indicators suggested an earlier-than-usual due date for the phone, possibly at the Mobile World Congress event.
The decision to bring it forward was apparently precipitated by slower-than-expected sales for the Galaxy S4 and consumers’ perception that it was an incremental upgrade that wasn't worth the asking price.
No, it won’t. It’s coming in March or April as usual
Previous Galaxy S smartphones have always tipped up in April or March. And there are plenty of people who think the phone-maker will once again adhere to that schedule this time around too.
Not least mobile maverick and firebrand analyst Eldar Murtazin. He’s tipping a late April launch. That ought to spell a streetdate a week or so later.
No, hang on. It is coming in February after all. Maybe
Not long after he ruled out an early arrival for the Galaxy S5, Murtazin performed an impressive volte-face.
In January he disclosed that he expected the new Galaxy S kit to tip up on the eve of Mobile World Congress on February 23rd.
Murtazin predicts a street date of some time in April.
It's official! D-Day is February 23rd
In news that surprised many in the tech world, Samsung has officially announced Unpacked 5 will take place during MWC on February 23rd. Press invites have gone out and the '5' part of the event's name suggests there can be little doubt that the fifth-gen Galaxy S phone will be the star turn.
Samsung Galaxy S5 screen rumours
It’s the first Samsung phone with a flexible screen
Business site Bloomberg’s sources reckon the S5 will feature a radical three-sided screen that means users are able to read messages from angles that would ordinarily make it impossible.
The flexible screen is apparently being made possible by the same Youm technology as the Galaxy Round, which trades glass for plastic as a key facet of its construction.
They’ll be an LCD screen instead of an AMOLED one
Samsung is purportedly mulling a switch to an LCD screen to save cash. This has been driven by the need to preserve margins that are being eroded by downward pressure on prices and the mooted switch to a more costly metal construction.
If Samsung does go with LCD tech, it’d make the Galaxy S5 the first in the range not to feature an AMOLED screen.
Or will it be AMOLED after all?
Rumblings picked up by Sam Mobile indicate we’re on for an AMOLED display with a 2,560×1,440 resolution that will come in at around 5.25-inches. By way of comparison, the S4 is home to a five-inch screen.
Samsung Galaxy S5 processor
The processor is octa-core
Processing brawn seemingly comes in the form of an Exynos 6 processor or a Snapdragon 805 – both of which are sinewy octa-core numbers. Either way, if this one is true, we can look forward to, a very mighty smartphone indeed.
Samsung Galaxy S5 software
It’ll pack Android 4.4 KitKat
That the S5 will run the latest KitKat version of Android seems beyond doubt. And there’s plenty of reports that testify as much. However, what’s less clear is how much Samsung will tweak the software to its own ends.
Which brings us neatly along to chatter that...
The version of TouchWiz will be stripped down
In an interview with Bloomberg, Samsung’s executive vice president of mobile Lee Young Hee admitted the company had got some things wrong with the S4 and promised that they’ll “go back to basics” with the S5 in an attempt to put things right.
This has been interpreted as an intimation that maligned novelty UI features will be pared down compared with the S4. That could mean the end for the S4's eyeball-tracking tech and ability to register touch-free inputs from users' fingers.
The icons are in line for iOS 7-style rethink
In mid-February, Samsung trailed the livestream of the Unpacked event with a flyer showing a series of icons for key features, each of which has been given an understated overhaul.
They're also now 'flatter' than the previous Samsung icons and lose the '3D' effect Samsung favoured previously. The result is that an aesthetic that isn't a million miles from iOS 7.
The homescreen will be a Windows Phone-BlinkFeed hybrid
More from that Samsung home screen. pic.twitter.com/5Z0jKKxXYN— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 19, 2014
Once again, this comes from @evleaks, who published photos of what is claimed to be a radically different form of TouchWiz that combines the pictorial and social focus of HTC's BlinkFeed with the live updates of Windows Phone.
Oh and it even cops some moves from Google Now too.
AirView and its ilk are due a rethink
According to ETNews, the company that developed the S4’s floating-finger system, Synaptics, has been working on a more advanced version of the technology.
The idea is it'll allow users to interact with their phone from further away than before and access more features than before. That would be a step change from the S4 where the touch-free UI limited you to simple tasks, such as previewing a photo.
Biometric tech a la Touch ID could be on board
That Samsung will introduce a layer of biometric technology on its smartphones seems beyond doubt. It's more a question of what class of tech it goes with.
Some reports claim the company will introduce a retina or iris scanner. That would tie in neatly with Samsung's existing experiments with eyeball-tracking features on the S4.
However, it seems that a more prosaic fingerprint scanner is also under consideration. And if you believe some reports, this is what'll feature on the finished product after a retina scanner was rejected on the grounds of expense and impracticality.
But unlike Touch ID, it'll be embedded beneath the screen
In early February, all the talk was of Samsung opting for a so-called swipe fingerprint scanner. As the name implies, this means users must swipe their finger horizontally or vertically to register their fingerprint and unlock their handset.
Assuming that's so, practicality mean this will most likely be secreted below the screen rather than on the relatively small surface area offered by a physical home button.
Expect a 3D feature too
Also from Samsung Galaxy S 5. pic.twitter.com/sbJSH1mlkV— @evleaks (@evleaks) January 30, 2014
Titles of an Android Application Packages (APKs) sourced by @evleaks indicates that along with a fingerprint scanner, the S5 will pack a mysterious 3D feature. It's thought that this could be 3D motion-tracking technology.
It'll be waterproof and dustproof
Insiders quoted by ZD Net’s Korea reckon the Galaxy S5 will offer the same water-resistant capabilities as the Galaxy S4 Active, which could survive in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes and come out as good as new.
They'll be a gold edition
Once again, this rumour originated with Eldar Murtazin. The way he tells, Samsung will ape Apple and come to market with a blingy, gold version of the S5. If he's right, we'd bet our house on this being the most in-demand colourway.
Samsung is reviving the dedicated camera button
After a fashion, anyway. In fact, the rumour didn't actually mention a physical button. Rather, it was claimed that the Galaxy S5 will sport an invisible sensor at the side that will function as a dedicated presser for taking snaps.
They'll be more cool camera modes
Sam Mobile listed a whopping 19 camera modes to choose from. Among them was 3D Tour Shot which allows you to record “interactive virtual tours of your surroundings” and a Sports mode for “clearer pictures of fast-moving subjects”.
There's even a Gold Mode for analysing your swing and an Aqua mode for when you want to make like Jacques Cousteau.
Samsung Galaxy price rumours
It'll undercut the Galaxy S4
Citing people “familiar with the matter”, Bloomberg claims Samsung could sell the S5 for cheaper than the S4 at launch after being encouraged to do so by :@at least one wireless carrier".