SEOUL- South Korea’s Samsung launched the latest version of its over sized Galaxy Note smartphone earlier than expected Wednesday after US rival Apple reported record sales of its latest iPhone 6.
Samsung said the Galaxy Note 4 — initially scheduled for launch in October — would hit stores in South Korea and China this week before being sold in 140 nations by the end of next month.
It would be the first time a flagship Samsung product has gone on sale in China ahead of other markets, reflecting the firm’s desire to battle growing competition from cheaper Chinese-made rivals.
The decision to bring forward the launch date also came after rival Apple reported a record opening weekend for its latest range of iPhones, including the iPhone 6 Plus — the US firm’s first foray into the big-screen market.
Sales topped 10 million in just three days following Friday’s launch in the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico and Singapore.
The new iPhone is not yet available in China.
Samsung initially pioneered the market for the “phablet” devices — sized between a smartphone and a tablet computer — when it introduced its Galaxy Note series in 2011.
Along with the Galaxy S smartphones, they helped the South Korean electronics giant dethrone Apple as the world’s top maker of smartphones.
But Samsung has faced a growing challenge in an increasingly saturated market, where competition from cheaper Chinese handset makers has intensified in recent years.