Samsung Electronics Co on Thursday premiered its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, which sports a bigger display and unconventional features such as gesture controls and will spearhead its effort to challenge Apple Inc on its home turf.
The phone is the first in Samsung's highly successful Galaxy S-series to make its global debut on U.S. soil, and represents another bet that consumers prefer larger screens.
The S4 which Samsung preceded with a marketing blitz that drummed up industry speculation reminiscent of some of Apple's past launches - will be available globally in the second quarter. Samsung said all major U.S. service providers will sell the phone but it kept mum on exact dates and prices.
The company was more than willing to share some of the latest Galaxy phone's capabilities: it can stop and start videos depending on whether someone is looking at the screen, flip between songs and photos at the wave of a hand, and other features not typically found on rivals' screens.
The success or failure of Samsung's latest flagship phone - the fourth in a brand launched in 2010, will be pivotal in the world's biggest smartphone maker's battle against Apple and smaller rivals to attract consumers who have a dizzying array of choices in advanced phones.
Samsung held the global launch event in the United States in the hope of regaining the lead in the crucial market. Apple's U.S. sales outstripped Samsung's for the first time in the quarter ending in December, even after Samsung spent a record $400 million on phone advertisements here last year.
While the global smartphone market's growth rate is tapering off, Samsung still derives the majority of its annual profits from Galaxy phones.