It's outdoors time, and Samsung is out with a version of the Galaxy S5 designed to ward off the elements. Called the S5 Active, it's available in the U.S. at AT&T stores.
The rugged device is shock-resistant, water-resistant and has a dust-proof casing. A key on the side allows a user to launch apps that you might need outdoors, and, in case you want to see just how much exercise you're getting out there in the garden, there's a built-in heart rate monitor. For those walks on a warm summer night, you can track your steps, as well as get nutrition tips or earn virtual medals.
Jeff Bradley, senior vice president for devices at AT&T, said in a statement that the S5 Active "is built to handle the wear and tear of an active lifestyle, while still maintaining the level of performance customers expect from a premium smartphone."
Ultra Power Saving Mode
The model features a 2.5 GHz quad-core processor, runs Android 4.4 KitKat, and an Ultra Power Saving Mode shuts down non-essential apps and turns the screen black and white when you need to squeeze every ounce of juice out of that battery for that call from the beach.
Lest you go without watching video in HD on your fishing trip, the S5 Active offers a 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen with 1080p, and there's a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera for creating permanent memories of that whale of a fish you caught.
In the U.S., pricing is $199 with a two-year contract. Last year, Samsung released a waterproof version of the Galaxy S4, also called Active, and this year's standard Galaxy S5 is water-resistant and dust-proof.
In other Samsung news, the company is working to make its smartphones ready for virtual worlds as well as the outdoors. On Friday, Engadget added to its original report last week about Samsung creating a virtual reality headset for release this year that will compete with Facebook-owned Oculus VR.
Partnering with Oculus
As it turns out, the publication said, the VR headset is actually being made with Oculus, with the Facebook-owned VR maker handling the software and Samsung the hardware. The headset is expected to use next-gen, high-res OLED screens from Samsung.
Earlier this week, the Korean electronics giant announced a new health wristband called the Simband. The device, which was shown as a prototype, is being released as an open platform that the company invites other companies and developers to adopt. It features a color touchscreen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and sensors to detect heart rate and oxygen level. The data is stored in a cloud-based service called SAMI, also an open platform.
All of these developments point to step-ups in Samsung's effort to be seen as a leader in innovative products. Accompanying the Simband announcement, the company said it is collaborating with the University of California at San Francisco on a digital healthcare initiative, and will invest $50 million in companies innovating in that field.