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Samsung Galaxy S5: Rumor roundup

South Koreans walk past a Samsung logo in Seoul on April 22, 2011. (PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s that time again. Rumors are heating up that the next major Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy S5, may see light as soon as next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

For the phone’s predecessor, the Galaxy S4, Samsung held a glitzy launch event of its own. But, as Slashgear reported, there is a some indication that the firm will at least be offering a peek at its major product at the February trade show instead.

A recent report from Bloomberg indicates that device will have an April release, fitting into the schedule that the Korean smartphone titan has set in the past. Bloomberg also reports that the newest model in the Galaxy line will sport a fingerprint reader and an all-new design.

The move from the Galaxy S3 to the Galaxy S4 was not dramatic, and the phones looked very similar. While the S4 introduced a lot of new features, such as a scrolling feature that detects when you’re looking at the screen, there wasn’t anything that really set the S4 apart — which Samsung needed in an increasingly competitive smartphone market.

Re/Code reported that the S5’s software will feature fewer company-specific tweaks of Google’s Android mobile operating system. This has been a sticking point in the relationship between the two companies.

Samsung, by far the largest Android smartphone manufacturer, has made the Android name nearly synonymous with its products. But it has also pre-installed its own apps and made design tweaks to change the operating system on Samsung phones. Google’s purchase of Motorola was, in part, seen as a way for the company to show what it wanted an Android phone to look like beyond its Nexus devices. On Thursday, Google announced it would sell Motorola Mobility’s handset business to Lenovo.

But earlier this week, Samsung and Google announced a patent cross-licensing deal that paves the way for “deeper collaboration” on development projects. Re/Code reporters Liz Gannes and Ina Fried say this could include having Samsung alter the look of its devices to better fit Google’s vision.

So, in all likelihood, that means that future Samsung phones, perhaps including the S5, will sport software that looks more like Google’s own version of Android than it has in the past.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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