Samsung unveils new smartphones; Apple shares drop
Apple shares are getting bit by a rival.
The iPhone maker's stock fell more than 3 percent Wednesday after Samsung unveiled two new smartphones at a trade show in Berlin.
Samsung announced the Galaxy Note Edge phone, which has a side display for quicker access to Twitter, the flashlight, news and other apps. It also showed off a new Galaxy Note 4 phone and a virtual-reality headset for the phone called Gear VR to watch concerts or play games.
The Samsung unveiling comes less than a week before Apple is expected to reveal its new products, next Tuesday in Cuppertino, California. A larger iPhone, and possibly a computerized watch, are expected.
They are due for release in October — in time for holiday shopping — and aim to compete with Apple's new iPhones..
The Edge uses Samsung's flexible-display technology, which came out with much fanfare last year but has seen little use beyond a phone and a fitness device with displays that were slightly curved.
With the Edge, Samsung is offering a practical use for the curvature. While the main screen remains flat like previous phones, the right edge extends and curves until it reaches the back. That creates a side display so information such as weather and time can be seen from the side when the phone is laid on a table or nightstand.
With the side display, the phone's camera functions more like a stand-alone, point-and-shoot camera, as the shutter button and other functions appear on top when the phone is held horizontally.
The side display also provides one-tap access to various apps normally found on the home screen. It will also have a panel of tools, like the flashlight and stopwatch, akin to what Apple offers in the iPhone's Control Center with a swipe up from the bottom. Samsung will look to app developers to find new ways to use the feature.
Samsung didn't announce prices. In the U.S., last year's Galaxy Note 3 went for about $700 without a contract, or $300 with one. Prices are likely to be similar when the Note 4 comes out in October through all four national carriers in the U.S. The Edge will likely cost more.
Analysts said the new display feature could cut both ways.
"An edge-based display will give Samsung's smartphone clear differentiation in a crowded market," said Ian Fogg, an analyst covering the mobile industry at IHS in London. "But for Samsung to maximize the potential of an edge display it needs third party apps to support the display with additional Samsung-specific functions," he said.
If the South Korean giant wants to avoid paying developers to kick start the development of such apps, it might have to make the feature standard across its broad smartphone portfolio, said Fogg.
Samsung made the announcements at the IFA trade show, one of the world's longest-running showcases for consumer electronics and home appliances.
Apple's stock drop comes a day after its shares hit an all-time high of $103.74. That same day, Apple said that the theft of private photos from celebrities was not because of a security breach of its iCloud system. Instead, hackers took user names and passwords for the accounts, Apple said Tuesday.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
Shares of Apple Inc. fell $3.55 to $99.75 in afternoon trading, erasing more than $20 billion of its market value. The stock is still up more than 24 percent so far this year.
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