Saturday, March 8, 2014

Samsung Milk Music launches as free streaming radio service that's exclusive to Galaxy phones

Samsung Milk Music screenshots
There are already a number of streaming music options available to smartphone users, including PandoraSpotifyRdio and the recently-launched Beats Music. Apparently Samsung thinks that we can use one more, though, because today the company took the wraps off of its Milk Music service.
Milk Music is a Slacker-powered radio service that offers more than 200 stations that pull from a catalog of 13 million songs. Users don't need to log in to the app to begin listening to music, with an option available to just select one of nine genre-based music stations. Milk Music also offers a "Spotlight" section that will include curated playlists, and for those times when you feel like you're in the mood for something specific, a "My Stations" feature allows you to create your own radio station based on a song or album. Users are given six song skips per hour per station.
Samsung Milk Music more screenshots official
Once you're listening to some tunes, you have the option to fine-tune the station to fit your mood. A genre dial is able to be customized to only display types of music that you're into, while a "Fine-Tune Station" tool lets you tweak a station based on popularity, novelty and song favorites.
Milk Music is free to use and, for a limited time, ad-free as well. The app is now available for download from Google Play, but it's worth noting that the service is only compatible with select Galaxy devices. Those include the Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Mega, Galaxy S 4 mini and the soon-to-be-released Galaxy S5.
Two of the big features that Samsung seems to be touting with Milk Music is the speed at which users can begin listening to music and its lack of distracting elements. The lack of a required login and the app's genre dial, which allows users to scan through stations and begin listening to music instantly, both cut down on the time between launching the app and outputting jams. Samsung also touts that its app is ad-free for a limited time and that it offers "significantly fewer" repeats than its competition.
Samsung's Milk Music service and app seem decent enough, and both the genre dial and instant playback sounds like nice ways to jump between stations when you're not quite sure what you'd like to listen to. That said, I'm not sure if the world needs another music streaming option, especially since its Galaxy exclusivity means that not everyone can give it a go. Because Milk Music is both free to use and free of ads (for now), though, it could be worth a look if you call one of the compatible phones your daily driver. If you do decide to give it a go, be sure to drop your first impressions in the comments section below!

Motorola launches Moto X College Collection with new colors, also offering student discount

Moto X College Collection
Motorola may be busy transitioning from being a Google company to a Lenovo one, but that hasn't stopped it from announcing new colors and another promotion for its flagship Moto X.
Motorola today introduced the College Collection for the Moto X, which includes a series of customization options that give consumers the opportunity to show their school spirit with their smartphone. As part of its College Collection launch, Motorola has added nine new back colors and three new accent colors to MotoMaker to help buyers find their university's perfect color combo. A design gallery includes pre-configured Moto X models for 43 schools as well as Uncommon clear cases with the college's logo printed on it.
That's not all that Motorola is doing for college students today. The company also launched a student discount that allows anyone with a valid .edu email address to snag an off-contract Moto X for $339. The regular price for a Moto X starts at $399 with no contract or $49 with a two-year commitment.
Motorola hasn't been shy about doling out the Moto X discounts in the past, but it's nice to see the company rolling out another one for folks that still haven't pulled the trigger on an X. The addition of nine new back colors and three new accents are also welcome sights, especially since they broaden the customization options for any consumer that's interested in a Moto X, not just college students. For a peek at Motorola's pre-configured college designs and the new MotoMaker color options, hit up the College Collection link below.

Nokia Lumia 930 coming on April 19

Nokia announced its Android-powered phones at the Mobile World Congress, but the rumored Lumia 930 and Lumia 630/635 were nowhere to be seen. Nokia might be saving those for a separate event on April 19.
News of the event comes from popular rumor source @evleaks. The date might not be a coincidence – two weeks earlier, Microsoft will be holding the BUILD conference. It is expected to bring Windows Phone 8.1 with the Cortana virtual assistant and Start screen backgrounds.
According to rumors, the Lumia 930 will be similar to the Lumia Icon / 929 but for GSM networks and possibly with a 4.5" screen instead of a 5" one. The Lumia 630/635 will succeed the Lumia 620 and offer slightly higher-end specs than the 525, including dual-SIM (WP8.1 is supposed to add support for it).

HTC Desire 310 launching April 10 at €160

HTC unveiled the Desire 310 earlier this year – an affordable dual-SIM phone. Exact price and launch date weren’t known until now but HTC filled in the blanks – the Desire 310 will cost €160 and launch on April 10.

The phone is an alternative to the Moto G – its 4.5" screen has only FWVGA resolution (that's 480 x 854), but there are advantages like 1080p video from the 5MP camera and expandable storage. Note that the Moto G has a dual-SIM version too.
The phone will be available in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland (that we know of so far). The price for Germany is €160, while in the Netherlands it's €170. The Swiss price is CHF 180 (€150).

Game over: Samsung to pay Apple $930M, sales ban denied

Apple vs Samsung largest-scale patent lawsuit, taking place in the US, is now over. Apple was awardedjust under $930 million in damages, but its request for judge Koh to ban the infringing products was denied. This means that Samsung is free to continue selling the infringing devices in the US.
The first huge patent trial between Apple and Samsung started in 2012 and its first verdict was for Apple to receive $1.05 billion for the damages caused by its infringed patents. Samsung argued there were some discrepancies between the numbers the jury awarded Apple and after a new trial Samsung's fine was reduced to $929.8 million.

Now this case is officially closed and while Apple has won $930 million its request for permanent sales ban against Samsung was denied.
Apple has already started a new lawsuit against Samsung adding more relevant devices such as the Galaxy S III. Both sides failed to reach an agreement outside the courtroom, so the new trial will be starting in the end of this month.
We are yet to see if Samsung has taken the necessary measures to side-step the infringing technologies or if it will be facing another huge fine.

Samsung Galaxy S5 priced at €500 in India

The Samsung Galaxy S5 has reached India and in anticipation of that the price of its predecessor dropped sharply. The Galaxy S5 was shortly available for sale on Saholic but has since been removed.

Anyway, the important thing – the price – is known. Samsung's new flagship will set users back INR 45,500 ($745 / €540), which is a little more than what the Galaxy S4 cost when it launched (INR 41,500).
The former flagship has since been dropped to around INR 30,000 ($490/€355). Note that this is the I9500 (Exynos chipset), the I9505 (Snapdragon) is hard to find.
Anyway, since the product page has been pulled down it's not clear when the S5 flagship will actually go on sale. When it goes back up, it should appear here.
In Europe the target launch date is in April and the device costs €600 or more, although this latest posting suggests that these pre-order prices might be over-inflated. If interested you can book the smartphone in multiple European countries.

Counterclockwise: Nokia 808 and Retina iPad appear, Android rises

With the Mobile World Congress over, it's time to go back to Counterclockwise – our weekly article that looks back in time at what happened in the last few years. Few as in five or less, but as we'll see this small period of time is a millennium in tech terms.

Say "cheese"!

HTC had just announced the One X and One S at the MWC 2012 and was showing off the new ImageSense technology. Back then HTC used regular 8MP sensor, the time of the UltraPixel came only the following year.

Meanwhile, Nokia had launched its 41MP beast but that ran Symbian rather than the company's new OS of choice, Windows Phone. Of course, rumors had already begun of a PureView Lumia device. It wasn’t until the middle of last year when the Lumia 1020 made that happen though.

Still, both companies went in very different directions – HTC chose to step down from 8MP to 4MP but bump up pixel size, while Nokia committed to large, high-resolution sensors. Granted, the sensor in the Lumia 1020 is smaller than the one in the 808 PureView (1/1.5" vs. 1/1.2") and the new standard is even smaller, 1/2.5" at 20MP.
It's worth noting that Sony has joined Nokia in the pursuit of imaging excellence through large sensors – the Xperia Z2, Xperia Z1 and Z1 Compact all have 1/2.3" 20.7MP sensors, though no optical stabilization like Nokia or HTC.
That's in the past now, still resolution is no longer the battleground of mobile cameras – it's video resolution. Two years before MWC 2012 Sony Ericsson had released an update for its Satio cameraphone to enable WVGA (854 x 480) video capture.

For reference, that's only 20% of the pixels of 1080p video. Compared to the new 2160p standard for flagships, it's twenty times fewer pixels. See just how much difference four years made?

Android picks up speed

We still feel like 2013 was yesterday, but a look back at Android OS version charts quickly dispels that illusion. Jelly Bean was still the latest version of Android in March 2013 and we're talking 4.2, 4.3 wasn’t unveiled yet.

Back then, 2.3 Gingerbread powered nearly half of all Android devices and the OS was really showing its age (it was announced in early 2011).
Android was a force to be reckoned with even before Gingerbread – in March 2011 ComScore ran the numbers and found that Google's operating system had just surpassed the dominant BlackBerry OS. BB OS still enjoyed huge popularity back then and kept iOS in third place.
Another major milestone came in March 2012. Google announced that the Android Market is no more – Google Play Store would take its place and add music, videos and books on its virtual shelves. Amazon had already launched the Kindle Fire tablets, which served to push Amazon content to consumers quicker and this was Google's response.

iOS leaps ahead too

While Android was still trying to shrug off Gingerbread and companies were trying to figure out phone cameras, Apple unveiled a new iPad tablet. The 2012 iPad, or as it became known "iPad with Retina display" had the biggest screen resolution we had ever seen.

Following the jaw-dropping sharpness of the iPhone 4 display (which came in 2010), Apple's tablet had the quote-unquote "mind-blowing resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels." To this day iPads have some of the most beautiful displays around, but Android's thirst for big numbers helped it catch up and surpass the resolution quickly.
Just before the MWC we were hearing that this or that 5.x inch smartphone will have a QHD display, but that didn’t pan out. Still, the first QHD devices are a reality with several 5.5" phablets. Again, putting pixel counts in perspective QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) is 17% more pixels than the iPad Retina screen covering a much smaller surface.
Meanwhile, iOS 5.1 started rolling out. It was a relatively minor update, bringing Japanese support to Siri and refining Photo Stream in iCloud. Much like the Gingerbread days, iOS was still running the now outdated skewmorphic UI rather than the hot, new flat design.

Galactic rumor mill

If you were following the pre-MWC rumors this year you witnessed the barrage "Galaxy S5 this, Galaxy S5 that" rumors first-hand. Last year it wasn’t much different, except it was the Galaxy S4 that was in the spotlight.
The chatter from early 2013 suggested odd things like Samsung using two different chipsets and some sort of futuristic (or gimmicky?) way to scroll with your eyesight.
Both things are now a reality and in fact standard – Samsung uses Qualcomm Snapdragons for LTE devices and its own Exynos chips for Wi-Fi only or 3G/Wi-Fi devices. Smart Scroll and its other Smart Screen companions are found on a wide range of Galaxy devices too.

Going on sale

We've talked about them before here on Counterclockwise – the Toshiba TG01 and HTC Magic. Both devices will have a great impact on the smartphone industry and launch details for the two became available in early 2009.
The Toshiba TG01 was the first slim, powerful, large-screened smartphone, it's the phone that started the trend. Anyway, O2 had scored exclusivity on the "uber-smartphone" but unfortunately sales never quite pushed Toshiba to where Samsung and HTC are now.

Speaking of, HTC was just starting its Android adventure – the T-Mobile G1 was already out, butVodafone was just announcing the launch date of the HTC Magic (another exclusive deal). It was only the second HTC Android device to carry the company's name and dropped the hardware QWERTY of the G1.

Hardware keyboards sprouted a few more times in Android's history, but growing screen sizes and touch sensor accuracy meant better and better on-screen keyboards. Eventually, it became unavoidable – hardware keyboards became extinct, but it's surprising to see the trend start so early in Android's history.

HTC All New One official flip cover leaks out on Twitter

The latest leaked press image of HTC’s upcoming All New One shows the device wearing a nicely-looking flip cover case. The photo appeared on Twitter, courtesy of @evleaks.
As you can see above, the flip cover will allow users to neatly view relevant information such as time and current weather while closed. We have seen similar setup from LG and Alcatel recently.
The leaked flip cover is not the only official case for the device to leak out. A couple of weeks back,@evleaks posted an press photo of the smartphone wearing a rugged case.
Alongside the image, the famous tipster claims that the upcoming HTC M8 will arrive in a Google Play Edition guise as well. This is hardly a surprise as the original HTC One was among the first devices to get such treatment.
The All New HTC One will be officially revealed this month, on March 25. The handset has made a number of unscheduled appearances which include press images in different colors and carrier branding,hands-on video, and benchmarks.

More alleged 50MP Oppo Find 7 camera samples emerge

A number of 50MP camera samples allegedly captured by the upcoming Oppo Find 7 made the rounds online. The photos arrive hot on the heels of a leaked sample from earlier this week, which got us thinking about the upcoming device’s camera tech.
Oppo Find 7 alleged camera samples (click to enlarge)
Like in the case of the previous leak, the new images’ EXIF data suggests that they have been captured with an Oppo Find 7. Additionally, the data shows that the device’s camera has a wide f/2.0 aperture.
We will reserve any judgments about the quality of the photos for after the phone’s debut. In the meantime, we can’t help but be excited about what’s coming our way in terms of imaging performance with the Oppo Find 7.
Oppo Find 7 has already appeared in press images. We also know that the handset will come in two versions with different screen resolution.
Oppo Find 7 will debut later this month, on March 19 in Beijing. Be sure to tune in for the full scoop on the smartphone.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Nokia Lumia 930 coming on April 19

Nokia announced its Android-powered phones at the Mobile World Congress, but the rumored Lumia 930 and Lumia 630/635 were nowhere to be seen. Nokia might be saving those for a separate event on April 19.
News of the event comes from popular rumor source @evleaks. The date might not be a coincidence – two weeks earlier, Microsoft will be holding the BUILD conference. It is expected to bring Windows Phone 8.1 with the Cortana virtual assistant and Start screen backgrounds.
According to rumors, the Lumia 930 will be similar to the Lumia Icon / 929 but for GSM networks and possibly with a 4.5" screen instead of a 5" one. The Lumia 630/635 will succeed the Lumia 620 and offer slightly higher-end specs than the 525, including dual-SIM (WP8.1 is supposed to add support for it).

Monday, March 3, 2014

T-Mobile LG G2 Android 4.4.2 update now available for over the air download

T-Mobile LG G2

At the tail end of last week, the T-Mobile LG G2's update to Android 4.4.2 was discovered on LG's servers and subsequently made available for installation through LG's official Mobile Support Tool. There's some good news today for those of you that didn't pull the update trigger using that method, though: T-Mobile's is making the update available for download over the air.

T-Mobile has announced in its official support forums that the KitKat update for its version of the LG G2 is available starting today, March 3. This update is the same one that was available for manual install last week, meaning that the OTA brings the device up to Android 4.4.2, software version D80120a. Along with a bump up to the newest version of KitKat, the update includes auto brightness and some user experience improvements.
Any of you T-Mobile G2 owners that are hungry for a KitKat treat can manually check for this new update by heading into Settings > General > About phone > Update center > System updates > Check now. T-Mo says that the Android 4.4.2 bump will roll out to users from March 6 through March 25, but really, who would willingly wait that long to jump up to the newest version of Android? 
Once your T-Mobile G2 is running Android 4.4.2, be sure to swing by the comments section below and share your first impressions of the update!

Android is now the number one tablet OS

Yep, that includes iOS.
A new survey from Gartner, who previously predicted that Apple would reign supreme until 2015, has revealed the Android has taken 62% of the tablet OS market share.
What helped Google’s OS is their wide range of tablet options: more affordable, smaller screen Android tablets means more sales. Google’s own Nexus line of tablets probably help account for many of these sales.
Samsung’s tablet market share exploded with a 336% growth in market share, accounting for 19.1% of all tablet sales and making them the number one Android tablet manufacturer.
Apple has 36% of all the tablet market share, leaving Windows tablets to only account for 2.1%.

HTC M8 makes an appearance in a lengthy hands-on video

HTC M8 appeared in an extensive hands-on video. The original source of the video has taken the minute down, though thanks to another crafty YouTube user, we still have a chance to catch a glimpse of the device.
The twelve-minute long clip shows the handset alongside its predecessor and reveals that the newcomer has a similar footprint and a microSD card slot. We also get to take a closer look at the device’s brushed metal finish from the leaked press photos.
The video also showcases some of the device’s software features including refreshed Blinkfeed and music player, new multitasking interface, as well as new camera UI. Sadly, the video doesn’t reveal what the second camera on the device’s back does.

Apple CarPlay integrates your iPhone with your car

Apple has announced CarPlay, a feature that will integrate your iPhone with your car, allowing you to access your phone more easily using just your voice or the controls on your car.

CarPlay works by connecting your iPhone to your car. After that, you can make and receive voice calls, messages and a lot more using Siri and your voice. Want to use maps for direction? Apple Maps will provide turn-by-turn navigation (where available) and show the map on the car's built-in display. Or you could listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. through your car's speakers. Once connected, your car will essentially turn into a massive docking station and let you access essential functions more easily without having to fiddle with the phone.

CarPlay will make its debut with vehicles being announced at this year's Geneva International Motor Show and cars from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will be the first to have the feature built-in. Apple also has a whole bunch of other car manufacturers onboard, including BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citro├źn, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp, who will launch vehicles with CarPlay built-in sometime in the near future.
CarPlay is available for iPhones running iOS 7 and with a Lightning connector, including the iPhone 5s,iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5 on select cars from the aforementioned manufacturers rolling out later this year.

Leaked image suggests Oppo Find 7 will have 50 megapixel camera

It seems Oppo is turning the dial all the way to eleven with the upcoming Oppo Find 7. After mentioning a 5.5-inch, 2560x1440 resolution display in one of the teaser images in the past (along with a 5.0-inch, 1920x1080 version) and running the new Snapdragon 801 SoC, the latest bit of spec to leak is a 50 megapixels camera. Yes, 50 megapixels.

An image uploaded on Weibo has a resolution of 8160x6120 and the EXIF data clearly mentions the Oppo Find 7 as the camera name. It's hard to judge overall camera quality from just one image but it's a decent looking image nonetheless with a fair amount of detail and not much noise but there is a good amount of purple fringing. The image looks a lot better when resized to around 8 megapixels so hopefully Oppo will have a Lumia PureView like oversampling option.
The phone will be announced in Beijing on March 19 and we'll find out more about it then.

LG G Flex wins iF Design Award 2014

The LG G Flex smartphone was one of the winners of the iF Design Awards, getting a Gold Award along with 74 other products this year. According to LG, "The G Flex was commended by iF judges for implementing a new approach to the smartphone interface by putting controls on the back and adopting a curved display, thereby adding immensely to the smartphone experience in terms of both ergonomics and quality."

The G Flex is one of the first smartphone of its kind to feature a vertically curved display that follows the contour of your face. It also puts the controls on the back, same as the G2, that allows having thinner bezels. LG also used a special POLED or Plastic OLED display for this phone, which is flexible in nature. The back also features a unique self healing material that automatically hides minor scratches over a period of time.

Karbonn Mobiles tipped to launch dual-OS smartphone

According to a report in The Times of India, the local manufacturer Karbonn Mobiles will release a dual-OS smartphone. Set to launch in June, the handset will bring Android and Windows Phone under the same roof.
Karbonn Mobile has signed a license agreement with Microsoft which allows it to manufacture Windows Phone devices. Recently, the Redmond giant eased its licensing regulations and opened up the Windows Phone platform to more players.
Bringing Android and Windows Phone together surely makes for a slightly odd couple due to the rivalry between the two ecosystems, as well as the similar functionality they offer. We surely are curious to see the market’s reaction to such OS mashup in a device.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BlackBerry reveals upcoming BBM features, including photo sharing in multi-person chats

BBM photo sharing multi-person chat screenshot
Late last year, BlackBerry teased several new features that it had planned for its BBM apps in 2014, including adding support for BBM Voice and BBM Channels to the Android and iOS apps. An updated version of BBM with those features in tow rolled out earlier this month. Now BlackBerry has returned to its teasing ways, revealing some more new features that it's got planned for its popular messaging service.
BlackBerry today revealed that it's been listening to customer feedback regarding BBM and, as a result, it's prepping several improvements for its apps. The company says that the next version of BBM will support photo-sharing in multi-person chats, allowing users to send their images to several other people at once. BlackBerry is also planning to up the size limit on files shared through BBM from 6MB to 16MB. Finally, the size of BBM emoticons will grow slightly in the next version of BBM.
While these new features may not be quite as big a deal as BBM Voice or BBM Channels, they sound like nice additions that'll improve the BBM content-sharing experience. BlackBerry doesn't say exactly when the next version of BBM will be rolled out, but hey, at least now we know some of the goodies that'll be packed into the update. Keep it locked to PhoneDog and I'll give you a shout when more details on the next BBM update are available.

Windows Phone 8.1 screenshot leak shows support for Start screen background images

Windows Phone 8.1 Start screen background images leak
Windows Phone 8.1 may still be a month away from its official debut, but the rumor mill is making the wait easier today by leaking some new details of the update.
The latest Windows Phone 8.1 leak comes to us from WindowsBlogItalia, which has posted what it claims to be screenshots that show the update's Start screen with custom images. It's said that WP8.1 will have a setting that, when toggled, will allow the user to make the Live Tiles transparent and use a custom image as the background for the tiles. A report from The Verge adds that not every app will have a skinnable tile; apps such as Games and Office will reportedly stick to their custom colors.
In addition to these screenshots, Tom Warren of The Verge has shared an image of the setting that will enable users to skin their Live Tiles. The option is labeled "Start background" and has a button for selecting an image. Users will also have the option of choosing an accent color.
Microsoft is expected to officially introduce Windows Phone 8.1 at its Build developer conference in early April. The Redmond firm hasn't said much about the update, but it did recently confirm that dual-SIM functionality and support for soft keys are coming soon to its platform.
Rumors have suggested that Windows Phone 8.1 will also include a personal assistant named Cortanaa notification panelInternet Explorer 11 improvements and, as we saw today, Start screen backgrounds. While Windows Phone users can already customize their devices by selecting an accent color for their Live Tiles, these Start screen background images will bring a whole new level of personalization to the platform that ought to please all of the Live Tile lovers out there. 
Are all of these Windows Phone 8.1 leaks getting you excited for official reveal of the update next month?
Windows Phone 8.1 Start screen background image setting

Specs vs. features: Where is your focus at these days?

If you were to ask me two years ago what my main concern for new phones were, I wouldn't hesitate to tell you that the specs were inevitably what my eyes scanned for when looking up new phones. In fact, you probably don't even have to go back as far as two years ago; even this time last year it seemed that specs were still my main focus. But as the year continued on, I found myself more interested in what features each phone offered compared to one another to help determine what phones interested me the most. I think I realize at this point that when it comes to smartphones, specs and software have learned to play pretty well together, even on the lower end of the spectrum.
I think this really dawned on me when I was watching the announcement for the Samsung Galaxy S5. The specs were a little different, but other than the processor the specs between the Galaxy S4 and the Galaxy S5 remained largely the same. They both have 2GB of RAM, both have 16-megapixel cameras, both have 16 and 32GB variants with microSD card support (although the Galaxy S4 also carried a 64GB model, which I'm going to assume didn't sell well if the same won't be offered in the Galaxy S5. Even the batteries don't have much of a difference with the Galaxy S4 featuring a 2600 mAh battery and the Galaxy S5 sporting a 2800 mAh battery. At this point, the differences between the models rely on physique and features. 
I'll admit, when I first heard about the specs I kind of had my doubts. I've depended on specs for so long to tell me whether a phone would be any good or not that I really didn't care about how many features it had. The bottom line to me was that if a phone didn't have good specs, the features wouldn't work well anyway so it wasn't worth my time. But over time, specs and software optimization have stabilized the worries I had in the past, specifically regarding Android phones, and honestly aren't as concerning to me anymore. Of course specs still matter, to a degree, just not as much anymore. What I'm trying to say is, the Galaxy S5 didn't need to have an octacore processor to end up winning my approval. I mentioned that I liked the Galaxy S5, and for many of the reasons why it was all due to features and optimization rather than specs.
For starters, you have the fact that the phone is waterproof and dustproof. This was a feature that I think should have been debuted in the Galaxy S4 - I think I would have liked it better then. You also have to realize that even though the battery is only 200 mAh higher than the Galaxy S4, the Galaxy S5 has that new Ultra Power Saving Mode that lets your phone last for up to 24 extra hours with just 10% of battery life left. I don't know about you guys, but when I hit 10% of battery life my mind goes in to panic mode and I find that I am subconsciously on the prowl for a charger. Even if the user will be fairly limited in what they can do in Ultra Power Saving Mode, you at least know you can call or text somebody if the need arises. Also, without Ultra Power Saving Mode Samsung claims you have up to 11 hours of video playback time using LTE, so it's safe to say the phone can at least last through a normal day's worth of usage as well. Then you have the fingerprint sensor, the improved camera, etc. The features in the Galaxy S5 speak to me more than the specs do this time around. 
I'm expecting to feel the same way regarding the HTC One as well. Judging from leaks, it would seem that the HTC M8 (or The All New HTC One - blech) looks strikingly similar to the current HTC One. I wouldn't be too surprised if it ended up having similar specs as well. I also wouldn't be too upset if it turns out having the right improvements and features added to it. Optimizing battery life, improving the overall strength of the device and camera improvements are really all that needs to be done at this point it seems. I know I'm not upset with the way my HTC One is running.
I feel like the spec race is coming to a serious low point right now as we wait for new materials (i.e. graphene) and technology to come out and really push the potential of smartphones forward. Until then, it's time to get gung ho on the features.