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Samsung, Google delay product debut citing Jobs’ death

Google Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. delayed a new product introduction scheduled for an Oct. 11 trade show after the death of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs.

Samsung sent out invitations last month announcing an event in San Diego that would include a look at what’s new for Google’s Android, software used on mobile phones. The decision was not related to technical problems, said Kim Titus, a spokesman for Samsung Electronics, based in Suwon, South Korea. Jobs, who oversaw development of the Apple Inc. iPhone, died earlier this week.

“We decided it was not the right time to announce a new product while the world was expressing tribute to Steve Jobs’s passing,” Titus said in a telephone interview. “The industry has never lost such an iconic figure. Obviously we were well down the path but decided this was the right thing to do.” Samsung hasn’t disclosed the name of the product, Titus said.

Google’s Android is the world’s most popular smartphone software and is used by device makers such as Samsung, HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. Research firm IDC estimates that the number of smartphones sold will double to 1 billion by 2015. While Apple is the single biggest device maker, the Android coalition leads the market, accounting for 41.7 percent.

Google, based in Mountain View, California, closed up less than one percent to $515.12 in New York trading. Samsung’s shares rose 0.6 percent yesterday to 860,000 won at the close of Seoul trading.

At a developers’ conference in May, Google discussed the next version of Android, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich. The version was set to be available to partners sometime this year.

In the meantime, Samsung sued Apple Inc. in a London court, in the latest legal dispute between the two biggest makers of smartphones and tablets.

Samsung filed the lawsuit against Apple’s U.K. retail unit on Friday, the same day it asked courts to ban sales of Apple’s new iPhone 4S in France and Italy. Court documents laying out claims in the British lawsuit aren’t yet available. The Korean company in June filed another suit against the same Apple unit.

Samsung said in the French and Italian court filings that Cupertino, California-based Apple infringed two patents on wireless telecommunications equipment. The two companies have been at loggerheads since Apple claimed in April that Suwon, South Korea-based Samsung copied its designs for the iPad and iPhone.

Both companies are competing for a share of the fast- growing market for smartphones, which is projected to double by 2015 when 1 billion handsets will be sold, according to research firm IDC.

Apple spokesman Adam Howorth had no immediate comment on the suit. Calls to Samsung representatives in the U.K. weren’t immediately returned. 

(Bloomberg)
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