Samsung’s latest Galaxy device takes center stage

New wave of phones unveiled

Samsung president J.K. Shin also unveiled the Samsumg Gear computerized wristwatch.
Andreu Dalmau/European Pressphoto Agency
Samsung president J.K. Shin also unveiled the Samsumg Gear computerized wristwatch.

BARCELONA — Sony unveiled a new waterproof phone that can take ultra-high-definition video. Nokia introduced three Android smartphones aimed at emerging markets. And Lenovo announced one with an all-glass exterior.

Yet the spotlight Monday was on Samsung, which unveiled a successor to its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone. The Galaxy S5 will feature a heart-rate monitor, a fingerprint sensor for security, and a sharper camera with faster autofocus.

Samsung’s glitzy announcement during the Mobile World Congress wireless show in Barcelona made it harder for other phone makers to get noticed. Samsung had several times the attendance of either Sony’s or Nokia’s event Monday. An orchestra opened Samsung’s event as blue spotlights moved up and down the aisles.


‘‘It’s increasingly difficult to get attention for your mobile device in a very crowded marketplace,’’ said Dan Hays, US wireless advisory leader at the consulting firm PwC.

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It’s even more difficult when one of the competing devices comes from Samsung Electronics Co., which announced the new phone a day after it unveiled two new computerized wristwatches, the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Samsung also announced a fitness band on Monday.

Apple is the only company that may be able to overshadow Samsung, but it isn’t attending or announcing anything at the show.

Roger Entner, an analyst with the Recon Analytics research firm in Dedham, Mass., said the S4 and its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, were both blockbuster phones and have helped Samsung surpass Apple Inc. as the world’s largest smartphone maker.

According to Gartner, Samsung had a 31 percent market share last year, compared with 16 percent for Apple. No other company had more than 5 percent.


More important than having well-made phones, however, ‘‘is that they are spending a significant amount on advertising,’’ Entner said.

Samsung spent nearly $4.3 billion in advertising in the 12 months through September, about four times the $1.1 billion Apple spent in the same period, the latest for which figures were available.

In a November interview, Motorola Mobility chief executive Dennis Woodside said Samsung has shown ‘‘that marketing can really create a product and create a phenomenon. We’re never going to have the money that they have to market our products.’’