May 4 - Samsung takes another bite at Apple with its latest Galaxy smartphone, the SIII. Arnold Gay reports.
At 4.8 inches, Samsung's new Galaxy smartphone has a much larger screen than Apple's iPhone. It's also thinner, lighter and faster than the 4S. Unveiling the latest version of its high-end smartphone in London late Thursday, Samsung says the phone will go on sale in Europe in just over three weeks, with a global launch from June onwards. Taking a page from Apple's Siri, the SIII boasts expanded voice commands, including the ability to wake up the phone with a verbal command. Samsung calls it the vaguely familiar S Voice. With smartphones accounting for much of Samsung's record $5.2 billion March quarter profit, the South Korean firm has a lot riding on the new phone. CCS Insight's Ben Wood calls it Samsung's biggest bet so far. SOUNDBITE (English) BEN WOOD, RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT CCS INSIGHT, SAYING: "They're building on the heritage they've got with the Galaxy brand and they're combining this with their massive sponsorship of the Olympic Games. This is a big play, Samsung chasing after Apple's iPhone." Over 20 million of the previous version of the Galaxy S were sold, and Samsung expects the latest version to do as well. Wood says how well it actually does, may well depend on the company it's trying to catch up with. SOUNDBITE (English) BEN WOOD, RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT CCS INSIGHT, SAYING: "Well the area where Apple are very, very strong is in the software and the content and the apps and that's the challenge that Samsung face. With this phone they've put some bells and whistles on there, some really nice things like video within a window, looking into the front-facing camera and the phone knows you're looking and it stays on, taking photographs and tagging them with your friends names. But I think the big problem is, we just don't know what the competition is yet because Apple surely has another iPhone around the corner and that's when we'll find out how competitive this product is." Samsung and Apple have a complicated relationship. They're rivals in the smartphone and tablet-computer markets and fight each other in court over patents. But Samsung is one of Apple's largest suppliers of chips and displays, and Apple is one of Samsung's largest clients. Arnold Gay, Reuters.