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(LEAD) Samsung launches Galaxy Note 3 in 58 countries

2013/09/25 14:58

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS paras 2-8)

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top smartphone maker, introduced its new Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear smartwatch in 58 countries Wednesday, in a bid to improve its global market share.

The move came weeks after the tech giant showcased the new Galaxy line-up in Berlin earlier this month. Samsung plans to introduce the new products to 140 countries by the end of next month.

The Galaxy Note 3, which is referred to as a "phablet," a cross between a smartphone and a tablet computer, features a larger display than a smartphone but is more portable than a tablet.

The latest Galaxy series features a 5.7-inch screen, an upgraded version of the 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2, with a 13-megapixel rear camera. It will run on the 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network as well as the LTE-Advanced network.

Another noteworthy upgrade in the Note 3 is the Air Command, which opens up a fan-type menu on any screen that streamlines access to several of the device's core S Pen functions.

The Galaxy Gear smartwatch, also one of the highly anticipated gadgets of the year, features a 1.63-inch screen and a basic camera with 1.9 megapixels on the strap, and connects to Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 smartphone and other gadgets via Bluetooth technology.

The smartwatch reportedly has up to 70 applications, with more expected down the road.

The devices are launched through the top three mobile carriers -- SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. -- in the South Korean market.

"Samsung also plans to launch smartphones with curved screens in October this year," said Lee Don-joo, the president of Samsung's mobile business, refusing to elaborate further on details.

Park Sang-jin, CEO of Samsung SDI, told reporters that the new curved-style portable device will adopt plastic organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.

"As plastic liquid crystal displays are strong enough to neither shatter even when dropped on the ground nor need frames, it is possible to produce devices with unique designs," Park said. "The curved panels are not flexible."

   Samsung SDI Co. provides battery products to be used in the tech giant's smartphones and other portable devices.

LG Electronics Inc., Samsung's smaller local rival, earlier announced that it also plans to release plastic OLED-based smartphones in the fourth quarter, but they reportedly have flat screens, market sources said.

colin@yna.co.kr

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