What's next for smartphones? As the market enters a new phase, improvements like bigger screens and thinner frames are becoming more subtle.
Having already revealed its latest take on the smartwatch, Samsung will host an event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, where it is widely expected the electronics giant will unveil its latest Galaxy smartphone.
The company has all but confirmed it will announce the Galaxy S5 smartphone, recently launching a teaser video titled "The Next Galaxy" that features a series of images and buzzwords with the number 5.
The smartphone is the latest in Samsung's line of Galaxy devices, which have surged in popularity in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. Online reports have swirled about what the new smartphone will feature, including a fingerprint sensor, also available on the rival iPhone 5 from Apple.
During an interview with Bloomberg in January, Samsung mobile chief Lee Young Hee hinted at a significant upgrade from the Galaxy S4, which topped 40 million in global sales six months after launching last April.
Potential features for the S5 will determine how successful and how much of an impact the smartphone will have for its users, says IDC analyst Ramon Llamas.
"Are you going to put out something new that's going to really turn the market on its head, or are we going to see feature creep, part two?" he says.
Llamas says some of the terms used in Samsung's teaser video could hint at new features, such as slide with the word "Wet," which might suggest waterproofing similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.
The S5 arrives as the smartphone market is approaching a transition period, says IBB Consulting analyst Jefferson Wang. As the smartphone matures, technological improvements such as bigger screens and thinner frames are becoming more subtle.
"We've almost maxed out on how good you can make the experience," Wang says.
Enter the smartwatch, which could serve as a new mobile frontier for many smartphone makers. Samsung unveiled two new smartwatches Saturday night: the Galaxy Gear 2; and the Gear 2 Neo. Both watches will make their debuts in April and work with a variety of Samsung smartphones.
The watches, which run on the Tizen operating system, shift the camera from the watch strap to the body of the device, and include a heart rate sensor and pedometer for fitness buffs. It will include apps from CNN, Evernote and PayPal, among others. No pricing details were revealed.
Samsung's original Gear smartwatch, launched last year, challenged by critics for weak battery life, a lofty price and limited compatibility with only a handful of Samsung smartphones. "Samsung has suffered a lot of the slings and arrows of putting out their first device," Llamas says.
Wearables are expected to become the next hot spot in technology, from fitness bands to smartwatches, including Pebble and Google Glass. However, most of these devices have been viewed more as a companion instead of a replacement for your smartphone.
"As we mature into wearables, the computing power is going to move from the smartphone into the wearables themselves," Wang says. "That's when you're going to see stronger adoption."