Samsung's Galaxy S3 smartphone was released in 28 countries on Tuesday, including France, Germany, and the UK, as the company aims to to outsell the phone's previous model that helped them overtake Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker, Reuters reported.
The phone, which is now available in Europe and the Middle East, does not yet have an official US launch date, but will be available in 145 countries and with 296 carriers as of July, Mashable reported.
Top global carriers, including Britain's Vodaphone, have been heavily promoting the S3, fueling speculation the smartphone could top the Galaxy S2's 20 million sales worldwide.
Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones from January 2012 through March, taking 30.6 percent of the market share, compared with Apple's 35.1 million iPhone sales (24.1 percent market share), Reuters reported.
Samsung is hoping to boost its lead over Apple by releasing the Galaxy S3 months ahead of the new iPhone, which is expected to launch in the third quarter, according to Reuters.
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"Consumers have been waiting for the Galaxy S3. It's one of the few emblematic smartphone launches this year," Laurent Lame, marketing director of devices for French operator SFR, told Reuters. "Samsung has closely guarded the details of the phone to create a sense of secrets and confidentiality that then makes the launch into an event. They do 'teasing' like Apple does now."
Samsung is also launching a music service called Music Hub, which allows users to stream their choice of over 19 million songs as well as scan and match their entire music library to the Music Hub catalogue, the Telegraph reported. The service will initially only be available to Samsung Galaxy S3 owners, either for free or for a premium price plan of about $15 a month, according to the Telegraph.
It will rival pre-existing music players like Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes.
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BBC News reported that customers who pre-ordered the Galaxy S3 could face weeks of delays in receiving their handsets, after the smartphone manufacturer indicated it was facing manufacturing issues with the new phone's blue models.
"Samsung's Galaxy S3 Pebble Blue version comes with a newly invented blue color and special hyperglaze material," said a statement from the electronics company. "In order to meet the highest internal quality standards and to provide the best quality Galaxy S3 to customers, a short supply of [the] Pebble Blue version is expected in some regions in the next two to three weeks."
The Galaxy runs on the Android operating system and features a 4.8-inch (12.2 cm) screen, besting the iPhone 4S' 3.5-inch display and making it one of the largest smartphone screens ever, Reuters reported.
"The Galaxy S3 is a real challenger to the upcoming iPhone," said Francisco Jeronimo, an IDC analyst based in London. "This is likely be one of the most sold smartphones this year, though the real test will come when the next iPhone is launched."
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