Samsung challenges Apple with snazzy new smartphones

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Samsung s6

Several big Asian phone companies launched new high-end smartphones and other wireless gizmos on Sunday, hoping to challenge US giant Apple in a big year for wireless gadgets.

Samsung, fellow South Korean firm LG and hip Chinese maker HTC timed their smartphone launches to grab the attention on the eve of the Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest telecoms trade fair, in Barcelona, Spain.

In a head-on challenge to Apple’s popular iPhone 6 which was released last year, Samsung came out fighting on Sunday with the Galaxy S6, a smartphone with a touchscreen that curves around the edges and has a wireless charger.

It also presented the larger S6 Edge, a “phablet” somewhere between a tablet and a phone in size.

LG unveiled a new top-line phone with a curved back to sit snugly in the palm, the LG Flex 2, as well as a range of four new mid-range smartphones and two new luxury internet-connected watches.

At a noisy stage presentation before a crowd of hundreds, HTC chief executive Peter Chou meanwhile presented the HTC One M9, with a grey metallic handset moulded from a single piece of aluminium.

HTC also revealed a new connected “fitness band” body-monitoring bracelet and a virtual reality headset that it said it hoped to sell commercially by the end of the year.

Apple as usual was staying away from the Barcelona show but was reported to be preparing a coup with the launch next month of its new Apple Watch, reflecting a major trend in wearable gadgets this year.

The chief executive of Samsung’s mobile division, J.K. Shin, said the company aimed to set “a new standard to drive the global mobile agenda”, claiming his phones had the fastest processers and most high-performance cameras on the market.

Samsung is the world’s biggest seller of smartphones but saw its world market share fall last year from 34 percent to 20 percent, according to a report by tech consultancy IDC.

“There’s a risk Samsung’s 2015 flagship devices are insufficient for the company to regain brand leadership among consumers and businesses looking for high-end smartphone experiences,” said Thomas Husson, an analyst at another consultancy, Forrester, in a note after Sunday’s launch.

“Samsung?s lack of software DNA will still prevent it from delivering truly differentiated service experiences like Apple does.”

Also present at the congress were two of the world’s other biggest-selling smartphone makers, Chinese companies Huawei and Xiaomi.

Joining in the rush for big launches on the eve of the trade fair, Huawei unveiled its first “smartwatch”, a round luxury design that, like LG’s, can display incoming call and message alerts.

The companies refused to cite consumer prices for the new products. Top-end smartphones typically cost several hundred dollars (euros).

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  • FrankDLaw

    Where did it all go wrong? Its a no brainer! United has just violated a very fundamental principle of human resource management. Take a look at my post on this issue last week and tell me that my predictions are not coming to pass; viz:

    “In truth RVP is just fed up, like the rest of the team! Now he sees the club pandering up to Rooney, whose contribution in the last season was patchy at best, giving him a new £300,000 per week contract. It appears that loyalty doesn’t pay for the players. Disloyalty instead, gets rewarded.

    This will all end in tears for United! The upheaval, disharmony and dissension in the dressing room will tear the team apart!

    Woodward and Moyes, be prepared for every player in the team, starting with RVP to knock on your doors asking for wage adjustments! If not, there’ll be plenty of sulking on the field with some players missing clear open goals! Some will even score own goals! I’ve seen it all before. Transfer targets will also be asking for £300,000 per week. Can United afford it? The club’s wage bill will go through the roof! This is the beginning of the end…”

    I’ve been defending Moyes for the past few months but his handling of Rooney is the straw that has broken the camel’s back, I have to concede! Sad, but this fundamental error in management will tear the team apart!

    Now instead of getting rid of one disruptive player, Rooney, United have to rebuild the team by replacing 6-8 players and we’ve seen what happens when teams do that. You only have to look at Spurs, QPR, Cardiff, et al to get a clue.

    Moyes now have no choice but to revert to the team and game plan that despatched of Bayer Leverkuson 5-0 in the Champions League, for that was United playing at their peak this season. If it means resting either RVP or Rooney, so be it!

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