Is Samsung’s S3 Pulling An Apple?

Samsung’s latest smartphone has created quite a buzz on its launch in Europe, with retailers and buyers dubbing the excitement to be similar to that of an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) product launch. The Galaxy S3 started selling in 28 European and Middle East countries on Tuesday, trying to do even better than its predecessor that had helped Samsung overtake Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker last quarter.

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The Galaxy S3 has several advanced features, including a function that tracks the user’s eye movements to keep the screen from dimming or turning off while in use. The phone, running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android software, also has a 4.8-inch screen and its own music service. Apple is being predicted to launch its next iPhone with a larger screen than its current 3.5-inch iteration in fall of this year.

Samsung has also been trying to create excitement through Apple-like strategies. “Samsung has closely guarded the details of the phone to create a sense of secrets and confidentiality that then makes the launch into an event,” Laurent Lame, the marketing director of devices for French operator SFR, told Reuters. “They do ‘teasing’ like Apple does now.”

There were long lines of people waiting outside stores in Germany on Monday night, and Britain’s Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) said the phone had been the most pre-ordered Android device in its line-up ever. Singapore’s SingTel has also been promoting the S3 aggressively.

The excitement has led to some delivery delays. A few customers are having to wait a couple of weeks for the newly invented Pebble Blue color of the phone after reports of delayed manufacturing. “Consumers have been waiting for the Galaxy S3. It’s one of the few emblematic smartphone launches this year,” Lame added.

Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones in the first three months of the year to Apple’s 35.1 million, handing it a 30.6 percent worldwide market share. Apple’s share was 24.1 percent. The two companies have also been involved in patent battles across courts in several countries. The main subject of those accusations has been Samsung’s Galaxy line, which launched in 2010 and, along with Apple’s iPhone, has rushed the drop in sales for Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM).

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