Samsung has begun sales of its third-generation Galaxy S smartphone in 28 countries in Europe and the Middle East, hoping for a head start on Apple’s next version of the iPhone.
Samsung said the Galaxy S III hit the shelves as nearly 300 mobile operators around the world will ship the device before July.
Samsung quoted Vodafone as saying that pre-orders for the Galaxy S III have outstripped those of all previous Android-based smartphones.
The latest Galaxy has a larger screen than its predecessor while having a thinner body. It has more computing power, which supports voice commands and an eye-movement tracking feature to keep the screen from dimming.
Samsung is hoping the Galaxy S III will outsell the previous model, which helped the South Korean company to topple Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker. Samsung hopes it will further widen the gap with Apple months ahead of its rival’s new iPhone, expected in the next few months.
The smartphone, running on Google’s Android operating system, boasts a 12.2cm screen, one of the largest on smartphones ever, and far bigger than the 8.9cm display on the iPhone 4S.
Top global carriers — from Vodafone in the UK and Ireland to Singapore’s SingTel — have started to aggressively promote the S III, fuelling speculation the smartphone could top its predecessor’s 20m sales worldwide.
“In the two years that we’ve been offering pre-orders, it’s the most pre-ordered Android device we’ve had in our line-up,” said a spokesman for Vodafone UK, declining to disclose exact numbers.
“It’s on track to meet, if not exceed, the level of pre-orders we expected by the time it actually launches.”
Samsung sold 44.5m smartphones in January tp March — equal to nearly 21,000 every hour — giving it 30.6% market share. Apple sold 35.1m iPhones, taking 24.1% market share.
The race for global smartphone supremacy comes as Apple has accused Samsung of copying some of its products.
The South Korean company counter-claims that Apple has infringed its patents. Both have denied the allegations and a long-running court saga continues.
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