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Samsung Electronics unveils high-end phones in search of sales boost

[SEOUL] Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled on Thursday a new Galaxy Note phablet and a larger version of its curved-screen S6 edge smartphone, marking a fresh bid by the South Korean tech giant to revive momentum in its handset business.

Samsung is the world's top smartphone maker but its market share fell in the second quarter when its critically acclaimed S6 models launched, squeezed by Apple Inc's iPhones and price-competitive offerings from Chinese rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

The manufacturer responded with S6 price cuts and bringing forward the Note unveiling from its usual early September spot, ahead of the latest iPhone launch widely expected in September.

Samsung has made several hardware changes for the new phones, including a faster processor for the Galaxy Note 5 and increasing the screen size of the S6 edge+ to 5.7 inches from 5.1 inches on the S6 edge.

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Both are powered by Samsung's Exynos chips, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. Samsung dropped Qualcomm Inc chips that powered most of its previous handsets, opting to use its own processors for the S6 models.

The phones will go on sale this month, Samsung said without specifying dates or markets. They will support mobile payment service Samsung Pay that will launch on Aug 20 in South Korea and Sept 28 in the United States.

Samsung Pay lets users make payments by having phones send signals to existing magnetic stripe card readers, offering greater store coverage than Apple's Apple Pay service which requires retailers to install compatible equipment.

Samsung will offer software updates in August to make Samsung Pay available on the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The payments service will expand to the United Kingdom, Spain and China, the company said, without giving dates.