Samsung Galaxy S5 tipped for 23 February launch, new TouchWiz

The S5 will launch on 23 February in Barcelona, but go on sale at the end of April, according to a pretty reliable industry tipster.

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February or March? That's the big decision for Samsung's crack team of marketing gurus -- while its engineers put the finishing touches to the Galaxy S5, they have to pick the right date and location for maximum impact.

So far we've heard noncommittal noises from company execs that leave open the door for either a late-February launch at Mobile World Congress, with the world's tech press gathered and waiting; or a separate event, like the bonkers Radio City Music Hall skit in March last year. Now one industry insider reckons it's the former.

Eldar Murtazin, a Russian analyst with Mobile Review, and a tipster with a decent track record (he correctly predicted the date of the S4 launch, he's quick to remind us), says the S5 will launch on 23 February in Barcelona, but go on sale at the end of April, as its predecessor did.

He also notes the flagship phone will have a new version of the TouchWiz software with which Samsung customises Android -- another prominent Twitter-based leakster published purported pics of the new interface yesterday. Apparently it's taking a few leaves out of Google Now's book, with pretty cards showing all sorts of contextual info.

Why would Samsung move up the launch, if it's not moving the street date? Possibly to save money -- last year it had to assemble dozens of journalists in New York, whereas most of us will be in Barcelona on 23 February anyway. Possibly to get back to basics, as an exec hinted recently. That stage show was something of a disaster, attracting the strongest possible criticism from some quarters, and must have cost a fortune.

Murtazin doesn't elaborate on specs, but a 5.25-inch 2,560x1,440-pixel screen has been mentioned before, alongside a 2.5GHz quad-core processor running Android 4.4 KitKat. A super-premium metal version is rumoured too.

"Samsung does not comment on rumour or speculation," a spokesperson told me in a statement.

What are you hoping for in the S5? Will it be annoying to have to wait two months between seeing the new flagship phone and having it in your hands? Launch your thoughts into the comments below, or on our well-specced Facebook page.

Update 12 noon: Added Samsung's (no) comment.