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Samsung Electronics takes preorders for its Galaxy Note 8

Gadget maker may benefit from delayed iPhone 8 launch, say analysts

People try out Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone at the company's store in Seoul. (Photo courtesy Samsung Electronics)

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics on Thursday began taking preorders for the latest version of its flagship smartphone, Galaxy Note 8, promising users a better experience, thanks to an improved screen and S Pen stylus. The device will go on sale Sept. 15.

The South Korean gadget maker said the new model is an upgrade on earlier editions, with its 6.3-inch active-matrix organic light-emitting diode display. Its improved S Pen, which has a finer tip and is more pressure-sensitive, will also help users communicate more easily, the company said.

"The Galaxy Note 8 will offer a new lifestyle that is beyond anything you have ever experienced," Samsung said in a statement. "We want our customers to meet the Galaxy Note 8, equipping them quickly through preorders, which will give them more benefits."

Analysts predict the company may enjoy robust sales of the new device, helped by the delayed launch of Apple's iPhone 8. "I think Note 8 will sell well, as Apple's iPhone 8 is expected to be launched later in the fourth quarter. It is delaying due to OLED display problems and other parts issues," said SK Kim, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets. "Samsung may be in a better place during the year-end hot season."

Apple said it will unveil its new handset at the Steve Jobs Theater at its campus in Cupertino, California on Sept. 12, with sales to follow.

To avoid the debacle Samsung had with the previous model, the Galaxy Note 7, the company said it has enhanced safety checks of the batteries. The Note 7 was killed off in October last year after hundreds of customers in South Korea and abroad reported that their handsets caught fire, a problem the company blamed on structural defects in the batteries.

Samsung will set retail prices for the 64 gigabyte model at 1.09 million won ($965) and 1.25 million won for the 256 gigabyte model. The Note 8 comes in four colors: midnight black, orchid gray, maple gold and deep-sea blue.

Shares of Samsung Electronics jumped 2.38% to 2,406,000 won on Thursday, rising 4.52% over the past three days. That compares to a 1.14% rise in the benchmark Kospi index on Thursday to 2,346.19. The index halved its 2.21% loss over the previous five sessions, which was brought on by rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula. 

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