NEW YORK — Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone has done very well, briefly unseating the iPhone as the best-selling smartphone in the world. On Thursday, the Korean company was launching a phone it hopes can top that — and entrench the company as the main competitor to Apple.
Samsung rented New York’s Radio City Music Hall for an event Thursday evening, and has been hinting that will reveal a fourth-generation Galaxy phone.
Every successive generation of the Galaxy line has been bigger than the one before, and the S III sports a screen that measures 4.8 inches on the diagonal, substantially larger than the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen.
In the last two years, Samsung has emerged as Apple’s main competitor in the high-end smartphone market. At the same time, it has sold enough inexpensive low-end phones to edge out Nokia Corp. as the world’s largest maker of phones.
The Galaxy line has Samsung’s chief weapon in the fight, and it has succeeded in making it a recognizable brand while competitors such as Taiwan’s HTC Corp. and Korean rival LG have stumbled. Samsung has sold 100 million Galaxy S phones since they first came out in 2010. That’s still well below the 268 million iPhones Apple has sold in the same period, but Samsung’s sales rate is catching up.
Research firm Strategy Analytics said the Galaxy S III overtook Apple’s iPhone 4S as the world’s best-selling smartphone for the first time in the third quarter of last year, as Apple fans were holding off for the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 took back the crown in the fourth quarter.
Apple marketing chief attacked Android phones in an interview Wednesday, saying they’re not as easy to use as the iPhone.
“The difference in use is because iPhone invented the idea for the modern smartphone,” Schiller said.
He also said there are too many versions of Android running on phones, causing problems for developers who want to make sure their applications work on a wide array of phones.