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Galaxy S5’s Killer Feature Could Set a Trend for iPhone 6 and Beyond



The Samsung Galaxy S5 ships with one killer feature that real consumers can’t stop talking about when I share the details about this new phone — the water-resistant design.

Samsung is set to make a splash with a “rugged” phone for the average user and if it catches on it could push Apple in the direction of delivering a slightly more rugged iPhone 6.

While the Samsung Galaxy S5 isn’t a rugged phone like those we see from Casio and CAT, and we don’t expect the iPhone 6 will be either, it is the first real flagship consumer smartphone to deliver blockbuster features and specs with the ability to withstand water and dust on all major U.S. Carriers.

Up til now Users had to settle for an outdated Sony Xperia Z on T-Mobile or opt for bigger bulkier phones that ran old versions of Android and traded consumer friendly features like an amazing camera for the ability to drop the phone in water. Yes, the Casio G’zOne Commando 4G LTE is a great phone for a user that needs a truly rugged phone, but for the user that just wants their phone to survive an accident involving water the Galaxy S5 is a better option.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is water-resistant, which could influence the features we see on other phones.

The Samsung Galaxy S5 is water-resistant, which could influence the features we see on other phones.

Rugged smartphones typically arrive with older specs and are slower to see Android updates. We also see longer periods between hardware updates. Samsung’s decision to make the Galaxy S5 water-resistant will bridge a gap between these fully rugged devices and the desire of consumers to not spend $80 to $100 on a waterproof case. Samsung didn’t opt for a design that will survive drops as well as a rugged phone, but with built-in water-resistant features many users will be able to pair the Galaxy S5 with a less dramatic case option that can handle the drops.

The Galaxy S5 is designed to survive your life without the need for an expensive case, and that is something we think will influence the rest of the smartphone market in 2014 and beyond. This is not the first phone to bring this feature to market, but it is poised to be one of the top selling phones with a water-resistant design. The Galaxy S4 Active is a water-resistant smartphone, but this was a niche device that used an inferior screen, lesser camera and was not available on all carriers.

The Galaxy S5 is water resistant.

The Galaxy S5 is water resistant.

The iPhone 5s is not water-resistant in any fashion, and while it is not as easy to trigger a water sensor by keeping the iPhone in the bathroom during a hot shower, there is still a need for waterproof iPhone cases. There is an entire industry of waterproof iPhone cases designed to help the iPhone 5s survive bath time with your kid, a trip to the beach, reading in the hot tub or just lounging near the pool in range of a cannon ball splash.

The Galaxy S5 should survive all of these scenarios without the need for a case, without the need for owners to spend an extra $50 to $80 to survive common life activities. Of course Galaxy S5 owners and iPhone owners will both need a heavy-duty waterproof case if they plan to use the device to take underwater photos or in extreme water sports, but it’s nice to see Samsung offer a solution that fits the majority of smartphone users who don’t need a truly rugged phone.

The lack of a water-resistant iPhone feature played a role in the estimated 5.9 billion dollars that Americans spent on iPhone repairs by September 2012. The study from SquareTrade identified the top five iPhone accidents including the iPhone being immersed in liquid (#2) and something spilling on the iPhone (#5), that accounted for 27% of iPhone accidents.

The pink sensor inside the iPhone indicates water damage and or exposure.

The pink sensor inside the iPhone indicates water damage and or exposure.

Further proof that a water-resistant iPhone 6 could solve many of the iPhone accidents also shows up in a data released in December 2012 which identified 51% of iPhone accidents took place at home. This is not an area we typically think of for a rugged smartphone or where we need a rugged waterproof case that can survive for 82 days at the bottom of the ocean. The kitchen is the most dangerous place for an iPhone, but the rest of the house is also full of potential issues. 9% of iPhone owners dropped an iPhone in a toilet at the time of this survey, and 5% sent the iPhone through the washing machine. The survey reports water, soda, beer and coffee or tea are the most common liquids spilled on iPhones.

The Galaxy S5 could survive the toilet spills of water, soda, beer and coffee; as long as the owner quickly rinsed off the sticky substances. The Galaxy S5 water-resistant rating is for 30 minutes in 1M of water, so users can run it under water to rinse off dirt and sticky spills like beer or pop.

Samsung’s decision to make the Galaxy S5 a little thicker and deliver a feature that consumers will actually use and that will prevent millions of dollars of damaged phones. Apple is reportedly shifting to a Sapphire iPhone 6 display cover that will make the display nearly scratch proof. This addresses a common complaint of iPhone owners, and while there is a debate over whether Sapphire can prevent as many broken iPhone screens it is a sign that Apple wants to deliver a more rugged or durable iPhone 6.

Apple received multiple patents relating to using Sapphire in new products to cover the screen of a mobile device. While Apple patents do not always come alongside major investment in a company that can help Apple manufacture the needed products the patents do show where Apple may go with future products.

An Apple patent from early 2014 shows one way Apple could make a waterproof iPhone 6 using a moisture barrier to keep the internal parts of the iPhone safe when the phone is exposed to water.

We don’t know if an iPhone 6 will be water-resistant like the Galaxy S5, but with increased competition in the smartphone space and the realization that consumers are in need of devices that can survive their daily lives it is possible Samsung is kicking off a trend that could catch on in 2014 or at least 2015. If consumers respond with their wallets a phone being water-resistant could soon be as expected as offering a great camera.

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  1. Fulaman

    03/09/2014 at 12:25 pm

    Why do some people act as if it is the first water resistant device when there have been several others like the Sony xperia Z and Z1…..for at least a 1 year+

  2. norsepower

    03/09/2014 at 1:27 pm

    Sony Xperia Z2 is also water resistant and MUCH cooler in every way. And so is older Z1.

  3. Gaias

    03/09/2014 at 3:39 pm

    Here it is. When Sony put this feature on Xperia Z and Z1 everyone said that it was useless, because “no one use the smartphone on the water” or “I’m cautious with my cellphone, this is useless”. Now that Samsung put this on their cellphone it is a great innovation, a must-have on smartphones from now on. Please, two weights two measures, I’m sick of seeing this nowadays. Something can just be incredible on smartphones if Apple or Samsung put it on their smartphones?

    • christian bonilla (@Shadowelite0523)

      05/10/2014 at 5:12 pm

      As I recall Apple has only included a fingerprint scanner on the iPhone of which the idea was originated from some other smartphone. There might be something else but I’m not sure what else. The fingerprint scanner was perfected on the 5S, that’s why it was so great. That other smartphone’s fingerprint scanner was good but had many flaws. So well Samsung is the big feature ripoff artist here. The whole water resistance thing was not a big feature though. They strayed away from design when they did this. People wanted leather or a metal body but Samsung went some other way.

  4. Ninja Kiwi

    03/09/2014 at 4:45 pm

    . Just because Samesung are doing it now you think its the bees knees?

  5. appleiphone6cantwait

    03/09/2014 at 6:11 pm

    There have been thousands of waterproof cameras for YEARS, so I’ve always wondered why not waterproof phones? It’s ABOUT TIME!

  6. shahzad

    03/09/2014 at 6:26 pm

    Im using samsung gs4 and its not even close to iphone 4. Phones are about how much longer they can stay alive while u r away from home, samsung sucks big time with battery life. And android is not a stable operating system as ios. I so f***king regret changing my phone.

  7. Paul

    03/09/2014 at 6:49 pm

    Dont come here to vent your sad woes about your phone, ive still got a htc legend 4 years old and its going better than most 2 year old iphones. It dosent have a broken screen as its got gorilla glass, cracked screen only seen on iphone. All metal design way before htc one. But the beauty is my android is still going and probably way on into the future, and bonus it gets a week out of a charge! :) tiny weeny screens usually suck less power, thats why your s4 chewed it up, but maybe just maybe it was faulty!

  8. ME

    03/09/2014 at 7:20 pm

    Josh, The Sony xperia Z2 will be the 3rd
    Z phone to have water resistant as a feature. You should have included the Z2
    In your article. Makes you look like a Sammy Homer. And FYI T-Mobile has been selling the Sony xperia z1s since January.
    And yes it has this “killer feature”

  9. Brian

    03/09/2014 at 10:22 pm

    I see water proof phones as more of a niche market than a general one. I for one don’t find it necessary that my phone is waterproof, I’ve never had the need for it to be.

  10. Selvin

    03/10/2014 at 3:25 am

    Who cares I want a screen tht does not crack or scratch or enything at all thts my beef about these phones

  11. jason bladzinski

    03/10/2014 at 6:04 pm

    To shahzad: stop it with that crap! Yes, the iPhone is so much better…if you want something that is so closed in design, operation, and intention. On the oldest crappiest android phones way back in the 1.6 version, you had GPS with free turn by turn navigation. Only very recently have you had that feature on an iPhone, and its not free! Forever it seems that iPhone would always be without the option of seperate main screen and app draw pages, and though it has changed a little, you are still without this feature on an iPhone. Notifications have only recently become more accessible on an iPhone as an android, and they still remain quite behind android in accessibility on this matter. Let’s not forget widgets, which are one of the best parts of android that only recently has apple began to include this option and ate in no way as extensive as they are on android. Not to mention the fact that they copied this feature from android, meaning it was a good feature one that android had over apple for some time, mostly I think because of the fact that they sue just about everybody for their bullshit insanely broad and unspecific patents, going as far as trying to get Samsung phones moved from being sold, and this against a company that until only recently designed and manufactured many components of the iPhone. In reality, if you are dissing Samsung you are also dissing apple, because of that fact! Shut up stupid apple fan boys, don’t troll in this manner when all that was being discussed was the inclusion of a single feature, and not a total comparison of phone quality!

    • christian bonilla (@Shadowelite0523)

      05/08/2014 at 8:35 pm

      The mere fact that you are raging over his one comment about his bad experience with an android is amusing. One, Apple never copied widgets because they never added widgets. They don’t need to because it’s a waste of space and battery. Two you made yourself look like the biggest android fanboy ever with your comment. Now that you realized this, please calm down and think. Three, Apple has not sued everyone. You are just like all other fanboys. Apple sued samsung because they stole ideas and illegally used features that Apple has patents for. Suing samsung is called protecting your idea. If you had an idea and someone just goes and steals it saying its their own original idea, would you really just let him or her just steal your idea? Would you seriously not do anything about it? For you would, then you are just crazy. Why would you give up on your own idea, you won’t get anywhere by doing that. Bottom line is that Apple sues to protect what is theirs and that should not be a bad thing. Apple has done everything since they first started, legally and fairly, while Samsung has had to lie, cheat, steal, and pay people to do their dirty work. I admit that Samsung has had some good ideas but they need to grow up and start doing things how they should be done. So if you have any oppositions, don’t bother, I’m done with all you samsung/android fanboys who rage over nothing to justify faults in another company.

  12. Rob

    03/11/2014 at 9:54 pm

    I have a galaxy S3 and it slipped out of my hand and tapped the corner on a tile floor and I have a hairline crack off to the side. A more durable screen would be my idea of an improvement along with faster app processing. 4G LTE didn’t change much.

  13. heavy duty iphone cases

    03/13/2014 at 4:48 am

    Thank you so much for providing these valuable information. I’m looking forward to the next time that I get to come to your blog………

  14. Brooks Bridges

    03/13/2014 at 6:46 am

    iPhone 5 already waterproof? Last summer, I was using a navigation app in a small sailboat when skipper almost dumped us. Water poured over side and submerged iPhone5 under several inches of Atlantic ocean water for 5 to 10 seconds. Screen never shut off. I didn’t even wash off in fresh water. Still no problems almost a year later. Read of a number of others with similar experiences.

  15. Jeff C

    03/14/2014 at 3:29 pm

    @Brooks Bridges both my galaxies the s3 and captivate have both hit water neither are waterproof. I believe its more how you handle the phone after the drop.

    I am also a firm believer of the phone Gods favoring some people over others. What left your phone running fine would have crippled the phone of another. As with your case. Or mine where my phone was dropped in a sink full of soapy water and came out fine.

  16. Bob

    03/14/2014 at 9:00 pm

    Until recently, everyone I worked with had an iphone. with a broken screen, front and back. Now they’re nearly all gone, the broken screen syndrome went with them. Androids greatest strength is also is weakness, variety, easy to be stable if you only make one phone. And battery life, do they make Android phone as small as an I phone? And I’m looking forward to water proof phones, Apple will take in the billions on water damage repairs, laughing, wondering why Sony doesn’t sure Samsung

  17. Vinay Shivakumar

    05/03/2014 at 11:11 pm

    When you write a paid “pep” piece , mention it..

  18. Rig wife Oilfield Family

    06/19/2014 at 11:21 pm

    Listen…All u battery. Finger printing, water spilling I-(dont)-phones…back off….Samsung is and has been kicking azz over Apple for at least 2 yrs..I’ve had them all..Thanks to Att/Next…I’ll be pre ordering a pre ordering ticket for my note4..My Note3-2-1 and S2 will and forever have my vote…Note 3 battery is amazing….so I believe S5 is as well…uses same STRONG CHARGER As Note3. ..Sit Down…and watch Samsung do what Apple is Always AFRAID😭😭To do…And succeed😄…now they (Apple🍎🍏 can stick a 🍴 in it) #SamsungNote forever!!!

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