As expected, Samsung rolled out its new flagship smartphones in the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge at its Unpacked event ahead of Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, culminating a years-long effort by its Project Zero team to overhaul the look and feel of the Korean device maker’s lead product.
In an emphatic nod to design, the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge use a specially treated Gorilla Glass 4 on both sides encased in a metal frame. In doing away with the removable plastic backs to its phones, Samsung also has eliminated battery replacement options, as have Apple (AAPL) and a few other smartphone makers.
“With the all new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, Samsung is offering what’s next in mobility, along with a new standard to drive the global mobile agenda,” said JK Shin, Samsung IT & Mobile Communications Division head and chief executive. “With a reimagined design, robust partner network and novel services, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge offer users the ultimate experience in smartphone options.”
In contrast to the lukewarm reception accorded the Galaxy S5, the Galaxy S6 edge marks Samsung’s most enterprising design change to date, featuring a screen that curves on either side of the unit’s front and another curve on the back surface.
The models sport some upgraded specs and features, most of which were expected:
- 5.1-inch 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display
- Quad 2.1GHz + Quad 1.5Ghz, Exynos Octacore application processor
- 32/64/128GB, UFS 2.0 internal storage
- Runs Android 5.0
- Microsoft Apps (OneDrive 115GB for 2 years, OneNote)
- F/1.9 16MP rear camera, F/1.9 5MP front camera, Auto Real-time HDR (Front
- & Rear), Low Light Video (Front & Rear)
- Category 6 LTEC
- WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v4.1
- USB 2.0
- NFC, IR Remote
- 2,550mAh (GS6), 2,600mAh (S6 edge) batteries
Samsung is touting the new models’ quick battery charging ability to reach 50 percent capacity in 30 minutes. The new phones also will use mobile wallet technology from LoopPay, a two-year old startup which Samsung recently purchased to compete with Apple’s Pay feature.
In addition, Samsung has improved the fingerprint sensor--rather than swiping down on the home button, users just touch it as with iPhones.
Both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge include an upgraded version of Samsung’s Knox security platform.
The devices will be available globally starting April 10 in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz (Galaxy S6 only) and Green Emerald (Galaxy S6 edge only).
In the U.S., AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular and Verizon, as well as Samsung’s micro-stores within Best Buy locations, Amazon.com, Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart have signed on to sell the new models.
Pricing? Unannounced. We’ll just have to wait on that one.