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Samsung Galaxy S seeks to steal 4G iPhone thunder

Samsung Electronics seeks to steal the thunder of Apple’s upcoming new iPhone, planning to hold a launching event for its flagship smartphone Galaxy S in Seoul on June 8, the same day as Apple’s 4G iPhone announcement.

Samsung, the world’s No. 2 handset maker, seeks to be a flag bearer in the Android camp, making Galaxy S the most widely available smartphone powered by Google’s operating system. 

Samsung Electronics launches its Galaxy S smartphone in Switzerland on Wednesday. Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics launches its Galaxy S smartphone in Switzerland on Wednesday. Samsung Electronics
A Samsung spokesperson said Thursday that the company planned to sell the Galaxy S via 100 carriers around the world and has received a combined 1 million units of pre-orders from the operators. Android phones are available from 59 carriers in 48 countries, while Apple’s iPhones are sold in 96 nations.

Android phones have long been tapped as the challenger to the hugely popular iPhone, and sales of Android phones surpassed those of iPhones in the first quarter of this year in the United States for the first time. But no single Android phone has been as successful as the iPhone, which is beloved by many consumers because of its sleek design, easy user interface and wealth of content.

Samsung said on Thursday that it planned to announce the launch of the Galaxy S for the Korean market at a June 8 event, at which its mobile division president Shin Jong-kyun will attend. Apple CEO Steve Jobs also plans to unveil the 4G iPhone model at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7.

Samsung first launched the Galaxy S in Singapore on May 26 and then in Switzerland on Wednesday.

Samsung did not announce which carriers would sell the Galaxy S, but local reports said the phone will be available via all of the four major U.S. carriers – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T Mobile, as well as other major operators including the U.K.’s Vodafone, France’s Orange and Germany’s Deutsche Telecom.

Samsung’s big sales push for the Galaxy S came as the Korean company is determined to reverse its fortunes in the fast-growing smartphone segment, in which it is struggling against the likes of Nokia, Apple, Research In Motion and HTC. Samsung held less than 5 percent of the global smartphone market in the first quarter, whereas Apple’s share reached 16.1 percent, IDC data showed.

The Galaxy S, which was unveiled at CTIA Wireless in March, runs the 2.1 version of the Android system, and features a 4-inch “super” AM-OLED screen, and a 1 gigahertz processor as well as 8 gigabytes or 16 gigabytes of internal memory.

Samsung Electronics also seeks to boost sales of smartphones based on its proprietary platform Bada.

The company has started sales of the Wave, the first Bada-powered smartphone, in select European countries including Germany, France and the U.K.

However, Samsung’s push for Bada phones suffered a setback as a virus was found on microSD cards sold with the Wave phones in Germany.

“We have confirmed that the cards were infected with a virus, and we are in the process of exchanging the products (for new ones),” the Samsung spokesperson said.

Samsung said the virus was found only in those shipped to Germany.

Samsung aims at more than tripling its smartphone sales to 18 million units this year. A third of Samsung smartphone models will be powered by Bada, while Android phones would account for half of its total smartphone models, Samsung said.

By Jin Hyun-joo (