Did Samsung do enough at MWC 2014?Samsung announces all of it's latest goodies at Mobile World Congress including the Galaxy S5, the new Gear 2 smartwatch, and the Gear Fit fitness band.
-Googlicious, so delicious. -What's up? Brian Tong here and welcome to Googlicious for everything Google that we can pack inside of a show each week. Mobile World Congress is in full effect and the announcements are putting CES to shame with products that people actually wanna purchase right now. Now, Samsung finally revealed the new Galaxy S5 packing a slightly larger 5.1-inch screen with the same resolution and an extremely familiar design that will remain a plastic body and a new perforated backing with colors that Samsung calls glam. Probably not the first word you wanna hear when a company describes their phone, glam. Now, the S5 brings new technology like the fingerprint scanner we talked about to unlock your phone, but it's also plugged into PayPal for mobile payments. It's water-resistant and dust-resistant, but you don't wanna put this phone under water. There's a slightly cleaned up interface but nothing earthshaking, and they also touted it as the first phone to bring a heart rate sensor on a phone. See, all you have to do is just touch your finger on that area that looks like a flash, but it's not. It's a heart sensor. And we know everyone is going to want that. Well, the bigger problem, Samsung didn't even give us a compelling reason for why it might be important. They just said it's an industry first. Come on, Sung. Now, my reaction to the Galaxy, faithful users will be happy with the new improvements. We aren't florid by the announcement, but it's the same story with smartphones. It's a mature market and it's harder and harder to wow anyone. Now, Samsung also updated their smartwatch lineup with the Gear 2 and Gear Neo lineup just five months after its initial launch. The watch will feature a slightly streamlined design. The camera placement is on the face, and not awkwardly placed on the side for a pair of shots. It includes a heart rate sensor. It also has 4 gigs of storage to play music natively on the device, but the biggest improvement is that their entire wearable line is running on Samsung's own Tizen operating system and not Android. So, it requires less power and early claims expect two to three days of battery life. Still, the UI and OS aren't wowiness visually, but they will work with 17 Galaxy devices when they launch in April. The original Galaxy Gear only worked with a Note 3 on launch. Now, the product I was excited the most about was the Samsung Gear Fit with a truly new design and form factor. Samsung is positioning this as their fitness band, but I think it's a huge miss for a company that should have made this their next-gen smartwatch. Now my sources close to the project pitched the finalized design as a smartwatch with its own UI, but Samsung corporate decided this would be their fitness device instead and put Tizen on it. Even if it only works horizontally and not vertically, the way you would actually, you know, look at your wristband or watch comfortably. Now it has a one of a kind look. It does everything the Gear 2 can with heart rate sensors and displays alerts from your phone with a three- to four-day battery life. You guys, they absolutely missed it here. People weren't impressed with the first Galaxy Gear. The Gear 2 is an improvement, but there's no buzz around it. And this was a chance for Samsung to make this a flagship product instead of just a fitness wristband. Come on, Sung. Now, all of these products will be available on April 11th in 150 different countries, but we wanna know what you thought of Samsung's product announcements. Let us know at Googlicious@cnet.com and we'll read a few of your responses next week. Now, there's also been plenty of other surprises at Mobile World Congress like Sony's waterproof and 4K capturing Xperia Z2 or Huawei's TalkBand that's a fitness band with a Bluetooth speaker that you can take out of the band and then use it as a Bluetooth headset or even the GeeksPhone Blackphone with a focus on user security and privacy. So all you guys gonna do is just make sure to check out CNET's special coverage for all things Mobile World Congress and more on our website at CNET.com. Now, also there's plenty of Google news this week. The smartwatch bells are just heating up, and a new CNET report says Google is set to unveil its plans for a smartwatch-centric operating system in March, most likely over a blog post, with the actual smartwatch making its debut at Google I/O in June. LG is the manufacturing partner for the hardware while the Googs will handle the software aspect to the product, pinning its smartwatch OS on its Google Now voice assistant, and this platform is really perfectly suited to be adapted to a smartphone, and this will be Google's second wearable product in the market if it all comes together. And outside of the iWatch, Google's watch product is really the only one I'm curious about. Now, according to website Re/code, Amazon's long-rumored Roku-like set-top box is rumored to be launching next month with the company aiming for a March rollout. They report the box will be powered by Google's Android providing access to Amazon's Instant Video service and Amazon's own music catalogue, while other rumors also say it will double as a gaming console. Now, it sounds ambitious, but we know 2014 looks to be the year of the video streaming set-top boxes as well. So, we'll see what they can do with it to really make this compelling when people already have an Apple TV or Roku or even both. What will make me wanna buy this one? Also, the big Google machine has recently announced Project Tango, and it's an experimental effort to have an Android phone equipped with a variety of sensors for advanced motion and space tracking in hopes that it can be used to scan real 3D environments using your phone. Now, their internal video shows how it could be used to open new opportunities for developers for indoor navigation or even gaming experiences. And this is just another one of those out of the box thinking projects that gets us all excited with the work Google is doing behind the scenes. Now the prototype phone includes a 4-megapixel camera, two computer vision processors, integrated depth sensors, and a motion tracking camera. Pretty much, everything I'd want in a woman. Now, the project is being led by the Advanced Technology and Projects group. It's the same team behind Project Ara and the part of Motorola that wasn't sold to Lenovo that Google kept for themselves. All right, guys, that's gonna do it for this week's show. Again, we wanna hear from you about Samsung's announcements. So, email me at Googlicious@cnet.com or tweet me at Brian Tong. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Brian Tong, and we'll see you guys next week for some more of that Googlicious. -Googlicious.