Samsung said its third-generation Galaxy S smartphone went on sale Tuesday in 28 European and Middle Eastern countries, hoping for better sales compared to Apple's iPhone. The company also announced its new Music Hub music service.
The Galaxy S III
smartphones hit the shelves in countries including France and Britain. By the end of July, nearly 300 mobile operators around the world will be selling the device.
While Apple has kept the screen size of the iPhone the same in every upgrade since 2007, Samsung increased the screen size of its highest-end smartphone in its two major updates. The latest Galaxy phone screen is nearly twice as big as the iPhone screen.
The Galaxy S III is running on Google's Android operating, it has a 4.8-inch display (HD Super AMOLED screen 720p, 306 ppi density, 0.01 ms response), features more computing power and supports voice commands (dubbed S Voice) and an eye-movement tracking feature to keep the screen from dimming. The smartphone is powered by Samsung's new 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor (3G version - 4G version is expected to feature a dual-core processor), weighs a mere 133g (4.7 ounces) and measures 8.6mm thick (0.34 inches).
Samsung's Music Hub service will also debut on the Galaxy S III smartphone. The service has a cloud-based catalog of 19 million songs for purchase - with prices comparable to iTunes - and allows users to listen to 30-second previews of all songs for free. Users will be also able to upload songs to servers (uo to 100GB) for streaming on the maker's devices, Samsung said.
A Premium version of the service will allow users to upload and access their entire music collection anywhere, enjoy unlimited streaming and discover new songs with radio stations based on the artists they like. It will be available for €/£9.99 per month.
In addition to the mobile app, users will be able to access their music library and the Music Hub catalog/store online at www.musichub.com. The Web Player will allow users to play their music on any PC.
Samsung's move to offer a music service follows rivals including Sony and Apple's iTunes online store. While Sony's Music Unlimited service requires an Internet connection for streaming songs, the Music Hub allows users to store songs on individual devices for listening offline as the iTunes service does.
The Music Hub uses mSpot's cloud- computing technology. Earlier this month Samsung
bought mSpot Inc.
Samsung overtook Apple in smartphone sales for the first time in the first three months of this year, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Apple's response is expected to be announced at the company's annual conference for developers next month, with an upgrade to the iPhone. The new iPhne will possibly have a larger screen.
Prices of the new smartphone vary depending on the contract. A model with 16 gigabytes of memory costs up to $300 under a 12-month contract with Vodafone UK.