Thu, Sep 27, 2012 - Page 15 News List

Samsung launches new Galaxy Note smartphone

AFP and AP, SEOUL and NEW YORK

Models pose with Samsung’s Galaxy Note II in Seoul, South Korea, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Samsung yesterday launched the newest version of its oversized smartphone Galaxy Note, just a week after Apple’s iPhone 5 hit shelves, in an apparent bid to outpace its rival with a wider range of gadgets.

The South Korean electronics giant said the Galaxy Note II — first unveiled at a trade fair in Berlin last month — will eventually hit stores in 128 nations including the US, where the firm’s recently lost a US$1.05 billion patent case to Apple.

The gadget is slightly bigger than the firm’s flagship smartphone Galaxy S series and comes with a stylus “S pen” to write notes or draw on the screen.

“We believe global sales of Galaxy Note II for the first three months will be more than three times those of the previous version,” J.K. Shin, the head of Samsung Electronics’ mobile unit, told reporters.

The world’s top smartphone maker has sold more than 10 million units of the first Galaxy Note since its debut in November last year and more than 20 million of the latest Galaxy S III, which was launched in late May.

The launch comes after a flurry of new devices from major smartphone makers including Apple, whose iPhone 5 just days ago enjoyed a record launch weekend, with sales topping 5 million.

Samsung’s smaller rival, LG Electronics, last week put on sale the new version of its headline Optimus G, which it hopes will help the world’s No. 5 phonemaker meet its goal to sell 80 million mobile phones this year. In related news, Apple’s iPhones and other products are so popular in New York City they are flying off shelves — and into the hands of thieves.

New York Police Department (NYPD) statistics show more than 11,400 Apple products have been ripped off this year, up 40 percent from last year.

The thefts make up most of the overall increase in burglaries, thefts and grand larcenies in the nation’s biggest city.

NYPD officials portray the thefts as an aberration in an otherwise low-crime year: Murders are on track to reach record lows.

The NYPD set up booths outside Apple stores last weekend to help iPhone buyers activate tracking technology to recover lost or stolen iPhones. Subway warnings tell passengers to remain alert and keep devices out of sight.

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