Samsung launches four new Galaxy devices

On Monday, Samsung announced the addition of four new smart phones to its line of Galaxy devices. Samsung is currently the world's leading smart phone maker, but competitor Apple has been making moves to gain on the South Korean tech giant, particularly in emerging markets. 

Han Sang-kyun/Yonhap/AP/File
A man walks past banners advertising smartphones by Samsung and Apple at a mobile phone shop in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 22, 2013.

The world's leading smart phone maker now has a few more options to choose from. 

On Thursday, Samsung Electronics announced four new additions to its line of Galaxy devices: Galaxy Core II, Galaxy Ace 4, Galaxy Young 2, and Galaxy Star 2. Here are some notable features: 

  • In addition to a "leather-like back cover design," the Core II contains a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, a 4.5-inch screen, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, and a longer-lasting battery for extended usage.
  • The Ace 4 has a 1.0 GHz dual-core processor, a 4-inch screen, and improved camera features.
  • More compact, the Young 2 comes with a somewhat lower-end 3-megapixel camera and a 3.5-inch screen.
  • The Star 2 features a low-resolution camera but is "small enough to use with one hand and easily fit in a pocket or small bag." 

These phones are marketed as being "refined designs for an exceptional smart phone experience at an affordable price," according to a Samsung release, which did not state official prices. They will all have the latest Samsung touchscreen user interface – "TouchWiz Essence" –  and will run on Android version 4.4 or "KitKat." A newer version of Android, "Android L," was introduced at last week's Google I/O developer's conference. But that version is currently in beta and available only for developers. 

Samsung currently dominates the smart phone market with more than 30 percent of the market share in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, according to research firm IDC. While rival company Apple, the next top smart phone maker, had just more than 15 percent of the market share. 

Coming on the heels of Google's annual I/O conference, this news follows Google's recent announcement of Android additions for mobile and tablet devices, cars, TVs, and even watches. 

This past year also saw Apple trying to make a dent in Samsung's preeminence in smart phone sales in emerging markets. Apple is the most desirable mobile brand in emerging markets despite the fact that sales of Samsung devices greatly outnumber those of Apple's iOS phones, according to a report from the marketing firm Upstream undertaken with analysts from Ovum. To that end, Apple released the iPhone 5C in September that was targeted toward customers seeking a cheaper iPhone but who still wanted the cachet of an Apple product.

Still, Samsung devices remain the smart phone of choice for many customers in emerging markets, even though 32 percent of those surveyed in developing-market countries said they prefer Apple, while only 29 percent said they preferred Samsung. And yet, because most countries don't let customers buy phones with carrier contracts at a discount, the iPhone 5C was still too expensive for most people in the developing world, as noted by Bloomberg in March.

Therefore, Samsung's latest announcements could be an example of the South Korean tech giant's play to keep its role as smart phone of choice in markets that have traditionally opted for cheaper hardware. 

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