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Samsung teases Galaxy S5, new Gear, smart glasses (+video)

In a recent interview, Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, says the Galaxy S5 will be released later this spring, along with a cohort of new wearables.

What's cool at CES 2014? Folks have been asking us that question all week, ever since the nation's largest gathering to display new devices, gizmos and gadgets got underway. The answer: big TVs, as expected, plus some fun 3-D and wacky phones as well. LG and Samsung played up the new curvy Ultra HD 4K TVs big time in their booths, to massive crowds. Beyond the TV, LG turned heads with a new curved G Flex smartphone, which will be available for sale later this year.

Though the tech news cycle has largely been dominated by International CES announcements the last few days, Samsung has hinted to Bloomberg that its big news is set for two months from now.

Samsung is set to release the fifth generation of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, in the “first half of each year, around March and April”, according to Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, in an interview with Bloomberg. In addition, he says the company will release an updated Galaxy Gear smart watch, which has been criticized for its clunky aesthetic and limited functionality.

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“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,” she adds.

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So what can we expect from the new S5? Sophisticated security is a likely guess. After Apple debuted a fingerprint scanner on its iPhone 5S, innovations in lock screens have been the talk of the mobile town. Ms. Hee says that Samsung has looked into eye scanners, but did not confirm whether it would be seen on the S5.

One thing is certain: Design will be key to the device’s success. Hee admitted that the design of the S4 was too similar to that of the S3, and the new device will focus on “going back to the basics.” Now the focus will be on the cover and screen, she says.

In terms of the Gear watch, the aim will be to increase its functions by adding more apps, specifically in health care. Look for features such as a calorie counter, heart-rate monitor, and stress monitor, she adds.

Hee also hinted at the release of a yet-to-be named wearable device along with the Galaxy S5 and new Gear. Samsung did register a design for “sport glasses” in South Korea in October that have the ability to answer phone calls and have a cord that extends to a micro-USB.

“This design is of a type [of glasses] with earphones integrated, allowing [people] to take phone calls and listen to music during workouts,” according to a memo that accompanied the mock-up.

With the IHS Global Insights' prediction that the wearable tech market will balloon to $30 billion by 2018, it will be interesting to see how a smart phone powerhouse such as Samsung plays the game.

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