Samsung Galaxy S5 may have 'iris scanner' at April launch
Samsung Electronics will release its Galaxy S5 smartphone by April and is considering using iris-scanning technology for the first time as it readies the new high-end handset to compete with Apple's latest iPhones.
The S5 would be paired with a new wearable device that would be an evolution of the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, said Lee Young-hee, executive vice-president of the company's mobile business.
Samsung, which posted profit this week that missed analyst estimates, will debut the new products together as it also boosts marketing of tablet computers.
"We've been announcing our first flagship model in the first half of each year, around March and April, and we are still targeting for release around that time," Lee said. "When we release our S5 device, you can also expect a Gear successor with more advanced functions, and the bulky design will also be improved."
Samsung, which sells one of every three smartphones globally, is adding new features and models to fend off Apple in the high-end market and Chinese makers luring budget customers with handsets for US$100. The company would announce at least one other wearable device this year, Lee said.
Samsung registered a design in South Korea in October for eyeglasses that can show information from a smartphone and enable users to take calls.
Sales of the S4 slowed after Apple released the iPhone 5s and 5c in September. The 5s includes a fingerprint-identity sensor, and Samsung is considering using an eye scanner in its top-end smartphone.
"Many people are fanatical about iris recognition technology," Lee said at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "We are studying the possibility."
Samsung posted its first profit decline in nine quarters this week as high-end handset growth slowed and the company paid employee bonuses. Operating profit was 8.3 trillion won (HK$60.3 billion) in the last quarter of last year, down from 9 trillion won in 2012.