Samsung Galaxy S3 gets head start on rival iPhone

Tue May 29, 2012 3:12pm EDT
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By Miyoung Kim and Paul Sandle

SEOUL/LONDON (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics launched its top-of-the-range Galaxy S3 smartphone in Europe on Tuesday, aiming to outsell its previous model that helped the South Korean company topple Apple as the world's largest smartphone maker.

The Galaxy S3, which tracks the user's eye movements to keep the screen from dimming or turning off while in use, hits stores in 28 European and Middle East countries, including Germany, as Samsung aims to increase its lead over Apple months ahead of its new iPhone, expected in the third quarter.

Samsung has tried to create the kind of frenzy around the launch that has become the norm for Apple's new gadgets. But some customers will have to wait a couple of weeks to get their phone because of delays in making it in a newly-invented "Pebble Blue" color.

In Berlin, about 50 customers queued outside the BASE mobile phone shop on Monday night eager to be the first to lay their hands on the S3.

Also in Frankfurt some 100 people were in the queue this morning when the Deutsche Telekom shop on the city's busiest shopping street The Zeil opened.

"That's about the same as when the latest iPhone went on sale," said 21-year old Steven Barth, who was taking orders at the shop. "I think our publicity campaign also helps. We are giving away about a hundred Galaxys today, in this shop."

Robert, a student from Frankfurt, who declined to give his last name as he should have been studying, said he had already ordered his Galaxy S3.

"I didn't really like it when Apple was selling the iPhone only via Deutsche Telekom. That's when I decided to buy a Samsung and never left," the 28-year old said.   Continued...

Customers pose for the media after they were first in line to buy Samsung Electronics' new Samsung Galaxy SIII smartphones during a late night sale event in Berlin May 28, 2012. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch