Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Gear 2 To Launch In February?

Galaxy S5 may be easier to use one handed

Rumors about the purported Samsung Galaxy S5 have been circulating on the internet from past few weeks. Now, there’s a new rumor suggesting that Samsung will launch the new Samsung  Galaxy S5 in February, along with the next-generation Samsung Galaxy Gear 2.

We could only be a few months away now from officially seeing the next flagship smartphone from Samsung, and as usual we are being treated to various rumours and speculation. Now it is being suggested that the Samsung Galaxy S5 may be easier to use one handed thanks to some alleged software tech.

While we have got used to hearing various claims about the possible hardware specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S5, when the company launches a new flagship device we are also treated to some new software features and a recent patent application is pointing to some neat new TouchWiz features that could be seen.

Samsung Galaxy S5

The patent application includes a feature that will allow the user to resize the on screen interface to their own preferences, which will see certain content pushed to a certain side of the display. Also instead of an app having a standard square window it can be altered to any shape on the side of the display.

This could certainly make the use of larger sized smartphones easier with one hand with the Galaxy S5 tipped to be the first handset to feature the new software technology that could see a slight increase to the 5-inch Full HD display the current model has.

The software could also be rolled out across a number of handsets including the Galaxy Note 3, where at times users may want to use the device one handed and this feature could aid this. It has to be remembered though many companies get patent’s approved for the technology never to see the light of day on a product released to the public.

Android 4.3 firmware for Galaxy S4 now available for download

A leaked road map revealed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be getting the latest Android 4.3 Jelly Bean upgrade this month and now, a test firmware for the fourth-generation Galaxy S smartphone has been leaked.

The leaked firmware is very close to the final build, which means that there will be no additional features included in the Android 4.3 OS for Galaxy S4. According to SamMobile, the upcoming software upgrade for Samsung’s flagship smartphone will be mostly identical to this ROM, expect for a few bug fixes and minor enhancements.

Samsung is expected to roll out the official Android 4.3 upgrade for its Galaxy S4 smartphone in a week or two. However, there is no official word on that at the moment.

The folks at SamMobile have already done a video preview of the Android 4.3 ROM running on the Galaxy S4 smartphone. Check it out below.

If you are in a hurry and don’t feel like waiting for the official Android 4.3 Jelly Bean update, here’s how to install it.. HOWEVER, please continue with the flashing instructions only if you are sure about what you are up to!

Model: GT-I9505
Country: Open Asia
Version: Android 4.3
Changelist: 1840064
Build date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 23:29:05 +0000
Product Code: OLB
PDA: I9505XXUEMJ3
CSC: I9505OLBEMJ2
MODEM: I9505XXUEMJ3
Download: I9505XXUEMJ3_I9505OLBEMJ2_OLB.zip

NOTE
– This firmware will WIPE your device (Perform a backup before flashing)
– This test firmware will NOT increase your binary counter NOR void your warranty.
– This test firmware will NOT trigger your KNOX Warranty Counter (If it’s 0×0 before flashing, it will remain 0×0 after flashing and vice versa).
– This test firmware is a pre-release firmware and not official from Samsung.
– We have fully tested this firmware and this firmware works perfectly as any other official firmware.

INSTRUCTIONS
– Extract (unzip) the firmware file
– Download Odin3 v3.09 (From here or here)
– Extract Odin .ZIP file
– Open Odin3 v3.09
– Restart phone in download mode (Press and hold Home + Power + Volume down buttons)
– Connect phone and wait until you get a blue sign in Odin
– Add AP_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to AP
– Add BL_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to BL
– Add CP_I9505XXUEMJ3_1840064_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to CP
– Add CSC_OLB_I9505OLBEMJ2_1765174_REV06_user_low_ship_MULTI_CERT.tar.md5 to CSC
– Make sure re-partition is NOT ticked
– Click start button, sit back and wait a few minutes.
– If you encounter any issues with the firmware (Any FC, Bootloop etc)
– Boot into recovery mode (Home+power+vol up)
– Choose to wipe/factory reset. (THIS WILL ERASE ALL OF YOUR DATA INCLUDING YOUR INTERNAL SD CARD!)
– Then choose reboot and you should be good to go!

Samsung Galaxy S5 Release Date Coming? Device To Hit The Market In February After January Unveiling?

It’s not quite Samsung Galaxy S5 season; however, a recent report out of South Korea suggests that the upcoming flagship device may be released a bit earlier than usual.

According to a tech Website; The Samsung Galaxy S5 is scheduled for a January unveiling and a February release. This is quite early in comparison to previous releases of Galaxy S devices; the Samsung Galaxy S4 was notably unveiled in March and released in late April, while the Samsung Galaxy S3 was unveiled in early May 2012 and released in late May. Even the Samsung Galaxy S2 released in May 2011, while the generations old original Galaxy S released in June 2010.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Proposed Specs

The Naver report also brings us a number is proposed specs for the Samsung Galaxy S5, which have been previously tossed around to varying degrees. The Galaxy S5 will reportedly feature the long rumored metal exterior, a 64-bit Exynos 5430 “true eight-core” processor, a 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and a fingerprint scanner.

After it was discovered that the Samsung Exynos 5410 chipset used only four of its eight-cores at a time, Samsung (NASDAQ:SSNLF) went back to the drawing board and produced the Samsung Exynos 5420, which can actually utilize all eight-cores at once; however, it can use either four-cores or all-cores depending on the functions. Exynos 5430 will likely take after the 5420 in this fashion. We currently see the Exynos 5420 in the 3G version of the Galaxy Note 3 while the LTE version features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. We can likely expect that rumors will introduce a Qualcomm LTE counterpart for the Galaxy S5 at some point. Notably, Qualcomm recently clarified that 64-bit processors may be releasing in the future.

Early rumors for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 also proposed a 16-megapixel camera with OIS; however, the device released with the Samsung 13-megapixel camera that was introduced on the Galaxy S4. Current Galaxy S5 camera rumors suggest the lens will remain at 13-megapixels and will include Optical Image Stabilization and improved low-light image capture ability.

Recent news also indicates that fingerprint scanner technology was cut from the Galaxy Note 3 early in its development. The technology was reportedly unable to pass quality tests for the Galaxy Note 3, so Samsung ultimately continued development without it. In the wake of Apple releasing its iPhone 5S with a fingerprint scanner; however, many expect Samsung will soon revisit the idea for future handsets such as the Galaxy S5.

Samsung Galaxy S February Release Farfetched?

Previous reports have indicated that the Galaxy S5 will release within the second quarter, which goes from April to June. To clarify, financial second quarter does not coincide with the U.S. fiscal second quarter, which goes from January 1 to March 31; however, most reports do not explicitly state to which quarter they are referring. If the Samsung Galaxy S5 were to release in February, it would release within a second quarter for all intents and purposes.

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As per the report, Samsung has decided to push for an early release of the Samsung Galaxy S5 to combat supposed disappointing sales of the Galaxy S4, which is a story we have heard many times before. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 notably released between late September and early-October, when pre-release rumors suggested it would hit the market in July or August to make up for disappointing Galaxy S4 sales. However, the Galaxy S4 has sold over 20 million handsets since its release, most of which were sold within the first two months of availability. Samsung has long insisted that the Galaxy S4 has not had trouble on the market.

Another consumer favorite, the Samsung Galaxy S3 was also reportedly suffering from low sales, which prompted rumors of an early launch for the Galaxy S4 during its pre-release. However, the Galaxy S3 is actually considered the best and fastest selling smartphone of its time, having sold over 50 million units since its release, with 20 million sold within the first three months. While these reports about the Samsung Galaxy S5 currently remain in the realm of rumors with no confirmation from Samsung, it wouldn’t be surprising if they turn out to be just as much hearsay as rumors prior.

Other Reports Point To Normal Release

Several other reports indicate that development of the Samsung Galaxy S5 will continue well into 2014. We have heard that Samsung is currently shopping for metal suppliers to produce aluminum chasses for the Galaxy S5; deals which are expected to be finalized in early 2014, while the updated 13-megapixel camera is also supposed to go into production in early 2014.

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It remains too early to peg any of the current Samsung Galaxy S5 news as fact; however, we do know Samsung to be a creature of habit, which will likely follow its usual release schedule as always. Besides, if the company is that concerned about sales, it will likely not truncate the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 sales period.

Samsung Galaxy S4 I9505 and Note II Jelly Bean 4.3 test firmware leaks

Thanks to an insider ninja, Sammobile was able to obtain an Android 4.3 Jelly Bean firmware destined for the Snapdragon 600-clad I9505 Galaxy S4. On a related note a very early Android 4.3 Jelly Bean build has been leaked for the Galaxy Note II as well.

The firmware for the Galaxy S4 and Note II are completely flashable through popular desktop app Odin with the one for the S4 built on September 20 with a European stamp on it. It brings a new Reading Mode, which eliminates unnecessary clutter from pages, a working Samsung Knox security app and more.

You can find the download link to the firmwares under the Source links below. Also here’s an in-depth look at how the software feels on the Galaxy S4. The software is expected to hit the device some time later this month.

As usual with these things, proceed with caution and only if you know what you are doing. These are both pre-release firmwares, but should not increase the binary counter or void your warranty, and so far the guys over at SamMobile seem happy about the stability of the package for the S4 while the firmware for the Galaxy Note II is still early and may have bugs throughout.

Galaxy S 4 Explosion Burns Hong Kong Home!

A Hong Kong couple have been displaced after an exploding Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone burst into flames, burning their house to a crisp.

The man, identified in the original Xianguo.com report only as Mr. Du, claims that his phone, battery, and charger were all legitimate Samsung products, but that’s now difficult to confirm since his home and everything in it were destroyed.

Hong Kong House Burned Galaxy S 4

According to the translated report, Du sat on the living room sofa playing the game “Love Machine” on his charging GS4 when it suddenly exploded. In the heat of the moment, he threw the device onto the couch, which caught fire. The flames then spread to the curtains and the rest of the house, “out of control,” Xianguo said.

Du, his wife, and his dogs managed to escape the house unscathed; neighbors were temporarily evacuated as firefighters fought the flames. Almost all of the couple’s furniture and appliances burned to ash, the news site said, adding that their Mercedes parked outside was also damaged.

Whether or not the true cause of an entire house fire was a singular 5-inch smartphone remains to be seen, though a fire department investigation initially resulted in a report of “no suspicious circumstances.”

Samsung did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but told Xianguo that it will “carry out detailed investigations and tests to determine the cause of the incident.”

Last year, a Galaxy S III owner in Dublin was driving in his car when the device caught fire.

Cell phone safety is increasingly becoming an issue in Asia, where two cases of iPhone shock occurred within a week of each other this month.

In other news:

Samsung caught cheating in Galaxy S4 benchmarks

Cue the Lance Armstrong and Alex Rodriguez jokes, Samsung has been caught using performance-enhancing code to beef up the Galaxy S4′s test scores. It’s been discovered that the tech giant has programmed the handset to increase its clock speed during certain benchmarks.

The claims were initially made in the forums of popular 3D graphics site Beyond3D, and have since been confirmed by the hardware specialists over at AnandTech. The S4 specifically enables full speed GPU during testing, and then reverts to slower speeds for everyday usage…

Here’s the original claim from Beyond3D:

“I’m currently doing GPU overclocking and voltage control in the kernel for the 5410/i9500 and was screwing around with what was supposed to be a generic max limit only to be surprised by what it actually represents.

This GPU does not run 532MHz; that frequency level is solely reserved for Antutu and GLBenchmark* among things. The GPU on non-whitelisted applications is limited to 480MHz. The old GLBenchmark apps for example run at 532MHz while the new GFXBench app which is not whitelisted, runs at 480MHz. /facepalm”

So essentially, the Exynos 5 Octa (5410) SoC in the international version of the Galaxy S4 has a 533MHz GPU clock that’s never used. The handset runs apps and games at 480MHz, likely due to battery life and other compromises, but switches to 533MHz for certain benchmarks.

anandtech samsung benchmark

Here’s AnandTech’s findings:

“Running any games, even the most demanding titles, returned a GPU frequency of 480MHz – just like@AndreiF alleged. Samsung never publicly claimed max GPU frequencies for the Exynos 5 Octa (our information came from internal sources), so no harm no foul thus far.

Firing up GLBenchmark 2.5.1 however triggers a GPU clock not available elsewhere: 532MHz. The same is true for AnTuTu and Quadrant.”

And what’s worse is the site found the same behavior (on the CPU side) in Qualcomm versions of the Galaxy S4, as well as other processors. This seemingly indicates that Samsung isn’t just cheating on benchmarks for one handset, but it’s more of a widespread company policy.

So why does any of this matter? Well for starters, it’s very misleading. What if someone were to compare benchmark scores on multiple handsets, and buy the S4 based on it coming out on top? Or what if you bought it thinking it could handle graphics-intensive tasks, and it couldn’t?

What Samsung needs to do is start opening up these higher GPU speeds to all apps/games, or stop using them to game test scores. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of this discovery and if any other handset makers, like Apple, are guilty of similar behavior.