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Friday, March 15, 2013

Daily Report: Samsung Invades Apple’s Turf

Increasing the stakes in the smartphone battle, the South Korean manufacturer showed off the Galaxy S IV, the latest version of its flagship device, on Thursday in New York, Brian X. Chen and Nick Wingfield report on Friday in The New York Times.

The device has quirky software features, including Smart Scroll, in which the front camera detects when someone is looking at the phone, and scrolls the screen according to the angle the phone is tilted. The phone can also be controlled with hand gestures. Waving a hand down in front of the phone will scroll up on a Web page, for example.

With the prominent introduction of the phone, Samsung is trying to end its role as understudy to Apple, its more celebrated competitor, especially in the crucial American market, where Apple still rules Even as Samsung has surpassed Apple in global market share, it is often criticized in the United States as essentially a copycat, taking most of its product cues from Apple. But Samsung has begun flexing its marketing muscle more aggressively here to try to change that perception.

Apple itself is showing signs of concern. In an unusual move on the eve of the Samsung event, Philip W. Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president for worldwide marketing, gave several interviews in which he discussed flaws in mobile devices based on Android, the Google operating system used by most of Samsung’s smartphones.

But Apple still has many big advantages that allow it to defend its position in the mobile business. Its iPhone 5 was the best-selling smartphone in t! he world in the holiday quarter, even though Samsung’s vast portfolio of phones is bigger than Apple’s. By charging a premium for its products, Apple raked in 69 percent of the profits in the smartphone business last year, compared with 34 percent for Samsung, according to a report by T. Michael Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity.