Samsung unveils phone with heart-rate monitor
Samsung sought Monday to frame its new Galaxy S5 smartphone as a lifestyle product, as it emphasized a built-in heart-rate sensor and improved camera features over its slightly larger size.
One of the main appeals of Samsung phones has been their size. The screen has steadily increased from the 4 inches on the original S in 2010, while the iPhone made that jump to 4 inches only in 2012 and has stayed that way since.
But the S5 pushes the screen to only 5.1 inches, measured diagonally, from 5 inches in last year's model. Instead of size, Samsung touted the new phone's ability to adapt its screen to changing external conditions and to dim it to avoid disturbing others nearby.
The phone has a 16 megapixel camera, sharper than the 13 megapixels in its predecessor. It promises faster auto focus and the ability to blur the foreground or background of an image to emphasize a subject.
Samsung Electronics Co. made the latest announcement during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona, Spain.
The new phone will go on sale worldwide on April 11. The company didn't announce a price; its predecessor sold for about $600 without phone subsidies or a contract.
The S5 has a fingerprint sensor to use in place of a passcode to unlock the phone or make payments through PayPal. It's a feature still rare in phones, though Apple introduced it in last fall's iPhone 5s.
Samsung's Galaxy S series has emerged as one of the strongest challengers to Apple's iPhones and has helped the Korean company surpass Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker. According to IT research company Gartner, Samsung's smartphones had a worldwide market share of 31 percent last year, compared with 16 percent for Apple's iPhones.
The heart-rate sensor on the S5 can be used before and after exercise to measure fitness activities. It's not meant for continuous tracking. Samsung also unveiled a fitness band, Gear Fit, to complement two new computerized watches announced Sunday and due April 11 as well.
Parents, meanwhile, will enjoy the ability to hand the phone to a kid without worry. Just place it in kid mode, and only approved apps can be accessed.