Samsung has launched its top-of-the-range Galaxy S3 smartphone in Europe – aiming to steal a march on Apple before it releases its new iPhone later in the year.
The previous Galaxy model – the S2 – recently helped the South Korean company topple Apple as the world’s largest smartphone maker.
Samsung has also just launched its own music service on the new phone going head-to-head with Apple in that area.
The Galaxy S3, which tracks the user’s eye movements to keep the screen from dimming or turning off while in use, hit stores in 28 European and Middle East countries, including Germany and Britain.
It runs on Google’s Android operating system, with a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) screen, one of the largest ever on a smartphone. That is much bigger than the 3.5-inch display on the current iPhone 4S.
Samsung introduced its first Galaxy in 2010, three years after the iPhone’s debut, to counter Apple’s roaring success in smartphones at a time when the demise of bigger rivals Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion had started.
Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones in January-March – equal to nearly 21,000 every hour – giving it 30.6 percent market share. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones, taking 24.1 percent market share
Top global carriers – from Britain’s Vodafone to Singapore’s SingTel – have started to aggressively promote the S3, fuelling speculation the smartphone could top its predecessor, the Galaxy S2’s 20 million sales worldwide.