If it wasn’t already close enough between the world’s top two smartphone makers, Samsung has just fired the next round with its release of the brand-new model of its Galaxy S series.
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The new phone, Galaxy S III, is based on the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system, features an eye sensor system that stops the screen from dimming, and a quad-core microprocessor that enables quicker multitasking. It also has a large 4.8-inch touch screen and an 8-megapixel camera. If anyone had a doubt it was competing against top rival Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) latest, it even has improved voice-command options to match the iPhone 4S specialty, Siri.
Samsung become the world’s biggest mobile phone seller last quarter, taking over from Nokia (NYSE:NOK) on the back of the success of its Galaxy series. The new phone is an upgrade for the Galaxy S II, which sold 20 million units in just 10 months of its launch. Apple, which is the only other top company whose smartphone unit sales grew year-over-year in the last quarter, is expected to launch the successor to its latest iPhone in the fall.
Samsung’s new flagship device is expected to be more expensive than the S II, and will first be available in the U.K., probably by the end of this month. The launch took place in London. It is expected to arrive in the U.S., China, and South Korea by the end of the summer.
Samsung sold 93.8 million handsets in the first quarter, 35.4 percent more than a year earlier, while Nokia’s 82.7 million shipments were down 24 percent. Apple sold 35.1 million units, increasing 88.4 percent from last year. Among smartphones sellers, Samsung was at top with 42.2 million unit sales, while Apple came close with its 35.1 million sales.
While Samsung, which is also a part supplier to Apple, is likely to sell its faster quad-core processor to Apple for use in the next iPhone, it will hope to make the most of the head-start it has on its rival by launching its new device early. “Samsung must make the most of a 4-5 month window of opportunity with the Galaxy SIII before Apple changes the game once more with its next generation iPhone,” CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said.
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