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Samsung seeks to bury fiery past with Galaxy Note 8 launch
[SEOUL] Samsung Electronics Co Ltd set out to wipe the slate clean in New York on Wednesday with a new Galaxy Note 8 phablet, hoping features such as dual rear cameras and its biggest-ever screen will extinguish memories of its fire-prone predecessor.
The world's largest smartphone maker by market share has put safety at the centre of a phone-cum-tablet that is likely to compete for pre-holiday season sales with a widely expected 10th anniversary iPhone from US rival Apple Inc.
The unveiling comes five months after the release of the Galaxy S8 smartphone. Analysts said brisk sales of that device indicate recovery in Samsung's standing, after battery fires prompted the October withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 just two months into sales at an opportunity cost of US$5.48 billion.
The fires briefly lost Samsung its number one rank, showed data from researcher Counterpoint. It has since regained ground, with Strategy Analytics putting its April-June share at 22 per cent - more than Apple and China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd combined.
Cumulative sales of the S8 and S8+, released in the period, were 15 per cent over those of the S7, Samsung said in July.
Samsung's Note series usually sport bigger screens than the S series and come equipped with a removable stylus. The trademark curved screen of the latest incarnation measures 6.3 inches corner to corner, a mere 0.1 inch bigger than the S8+.
The South Korean firm has been a principle driver of growth in handsets with 6 inch-plus screens, a category which Strategy Analytics expects to grow 10 times faster than the overall market next year.
Samsung has also installed dual rear cameras on a handset for the first time, adding the Note 8 to a trend which promises improved photographic control and picture quality.
Other features include security technology, such as facial recognition and fingerprint and iris scanning, and artificial intelligence in the form of Samsung's Bixby voice-command assistant.
The Note 8 will be sold from mid-September, Samsung said, without elaborating on place or price.