'iPhone killer' launches
Launching today is the latest, greatest cellphone yet, well, until the next one.
The difference is it's not the usual mania about a new iPhone - it's about a phone people are optimistically calling the ''iPhone killer".
The Samsung Galaxy S3 has generated as much anticipation as is usually reserved for Apple's lone smartphone model.
Taking a leaf from Apple's hype machine and rumoured to be coming for at least a year, the S3 went on sale in 28 European and Middle East countries last week and officially in South Africa today.
The new must-have metric of smartphones is a larger screen - which Samsung has built on the success of other larger-screen devices like the 12.7cm Galaxy Note tablet. With a larger 12.2cm touchscreen, compared to the 8.8cm of the iPhone 4S display, the S3 is the biggest smartphone on the market.
That's not the only differentiating factor, but it is the one that is going to garner the most attention - as will the 8-megapixel camera and faster processor.
Samsung makes Google's own Android phone, the Galaxy Nexus, which features the purest form of the operating system, now in version 4. Called Ice Cream Factory, it gets an interface, or skin, from Samsung for the S3, as well as other features. The next-most talked about feature is the facial recognition software.
If you're looking at the phone, which uses the front camera to track your eyes, it keeps the screen illuminated and doesn't shut down when there is no finger contact on the screen. Then there is the voice-recognition called S-Voice, expected to compete with Apple's Siri.
Apple and Samsung are at the top of the smartphone segment, effectively owning the lucrative market.
Samsung sold an estimated 44.5 million smartphones for the three months to March, giving it 30.6% market share. Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones. Samsung's mobile division's profit nearly tripled in the three months to $3.6-billion, raking in 73% of Samsung's operating profit. Samsung overtook Nokia in cellphone sales: 92 million to 83 million, according to IHS iSuppli.
Strangely, Apple and Samsung are locked in a patent feud over design and other features. Equally bizarre is the symbiosis between the two firms. The Economist estimates 26% of the iPhone is made using Samsung components. Samsung lost $10-billion on its share price earlier this year after rumours that Apple would source some components elsewhere.
Back room intrigue won't matter though, as consumers will be too busy ogling the S3's screen, muttering ''iPhone killer".