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New Samsung Galaxy Notes take fight to Apple iPhone 6.

Samsung has fired the first shots in the next phase of its war with Apple for dominance of the $300 billion-a-year smartphone industry: two new versions of its oversized Galaxy Note smartphones.

The announcement at the IFA, consumer electronics trade show in Berlin, was by far the most significant upgrade yet to the influential, but hitherto niche, Samsung product.

The timing of the launch event, held at the IFA conference in Berlin and New York, was hard to ignore with Apple's iPhone 6 debuts.

With the upgrade, which includes a shift away from Samsung's oft-derided plastic body to a metal one, and which includes the highest resolution screen Samsung has yet released on a phone, the new Galaxy Note 4 has arguably leap-frogged Samsung's No.1 phone, the smaller Galaxy S5.

Samsung also has a new, limited-edition Galaxy Note Edge, which unquestionably leapfrogs the Galaxy S5 as Samsung's top-of-the-range model.

It has the Note 4's already very large, 5.7-inch, 2560x1440 pixel screen on its front, but extends the screen by 160 pixels by bending it around one edge of the device.

The area of the screen that bends around the edge of the phone can be used to control the phone's camera or to control movies without interfering with what's displayed on the main part of the screen, Samsung said.

For its part, Samsung is sticking to its position that it has two "hero" sub-brands in the smartphone market: the Galaxy S and the Note. Certainly the Galaxy S will continue to sell in far bigger numbers than the Note.

Samsung announced a new smart watch, the Gear S, that will have its own SIM so it can make calls and surf the internet without being connected to a mobile phone as most smartwatches are.

Samsung is adding other features to its Galaxy Note line, too, that underline the company's new emphasis on the large phone business.

Taking advantage of the Note Edge's very high resolution screen, Samsung launched the Gear VR, a pair of goggles that attach to the Note Edge and turn the phone into a head-mounted virtual reality display similar to the Oculus Rift device that Facebook spent $US2 billion ($2.16 billion) to acquire this year.

Indeed, Samsung said it had partnered with Oculus for the Gear VR, which will be able to take advantage of immersive games designed for the Rift.

DJ Lee, executive vice president and head of sales and marketing of Samsung's IT and mobile communications unit, said "we will never slow down." Lee positioned Samsung as the innovation leader on everything from the S-Pen stylus to user interface to screen resolution and battery improvements.

Lee also talked up Samsung's wearable moves and noted "our industry is at a very important moment."

Samsung Electronics announced the expansion of its flagship Galaxy Note series with the new Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge. Blending an evolved S Pen with a superior viewing experience, the Galaxy Note 4 provides users with the most unique and powerful mobile experience on the market.

"The Galaxy Note series signaled extraordinary innovation within the technology industry. Its larger screen size and iconic S Pen technology launched a new standard in smartphone culture," said JK Shin,

CEO and Head of IT and Mobile Communication at Samsung Electronics. "With the introduction of the Galaxy Note series, we brought the age-old culture of the pen and notepad into the digital world. The new Galaxy Note 4 introduces the most refined Note experience to-date by combining all the latest technology that users expect from the Galaxy series."
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Date:Oct 31, 2014
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