Race for smartphone leader heats up as Samsung unveils new Galaxy | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 15.06.2012
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Race for smartphone leader heats up as Samsung unveils new Galaxy

Samsung has unveiled a new generation of its Galaxy smartphone to take on Apple's iPhone in the fiercely contested market. The Sounth Korean giant hopes Galaxy S3 will boost sales to new dimensions.

Samsung Electronics introduced its Galaxy S3 to the public in London Thursday, saying the gadget boasted improved voice-activated controls and face-recognition technology. It also has a better processor than previous models, allowing users to watch videos and write e-mails simultaneously.

In addition, the top-of-the-range smartphone has a 4.8-inch (12.2-cm) screen, which was 22 percent larger than in the previous Galaxy model, although the phone wasn't much wider due to a smaller frame.

The Galaxy S3 will run Google's Android software like its predecessors, and will go on sale in 145 countries on May 29.

Describing the S3 as an "evolution but not a revolution," Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics said that Samsungs new smartphone was "neither a game changer nor an iPhone killer."

"Samsung's strategy is to offer good hardware at a cheaper price so it'll give Apple some pause for thought, though raising the pressure on Apple to develop a vastly improved iPhone 5," he told AFP news agency.

Samsung's head of product strategy Won-Pyo Hong told Reuters news agency that the firm "definitely expects" the S3 to outsell its predecessors, adding, however, that "we need to spend more on marketing to address consumer interest and to meet requirements of our partners."

Smartphone race

In the first quarter of 2012, Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones, leaving behind its US rival Apple, which sold 35.1 million iPhones in the same period, according to figures released by market research group Strategy Analytics.

Strong smartphone sales boosted the firm's net profit in the first quarter to a record 4.44 billion euros ($5.8 billion), as the president of Samsung's mobile phone business, J.K. Shin announced that the company would aim to sell 200 million smartphones this year.

However, Samsung, faces strong competition from Chinese makers Huawei and ZTE which offer cheaper products. The South Korean company overtook Finnish firm Nokia in the first quarter of 2012 to become the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer.

The rivalry with Apple is not just in the smartphone sector but also in patent disputes pending in courts around the world. Samsung also hopes the Galaxy S3 will help it overcome the quarrels with Apple.

"Features that were identified in previous lawsuits aren't in this new model. We've created and invented many technologies," Samsung mobile phone president J.K. Shin said.

uhe/ncy (AFP, Reuters, AP)