Taipei, Sept. 24 (CNA) Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest maker of handsets, launched the third generation of its Galaxy Note series phone in Taiwan Tuesday to keep ahead of new entrants to the phone-tablet hybrid device sector.
The South Korean electronics giant created the phablet sector single-handedly in 2011 when it unveiled the first Note phone, which has since become a hit among consumers who prefer carrying one device rather than a separate phone and tablet.
Worldwide sales of the Note series of phones has reached nearly 40 million units over the past two years, including 10 million of the first Note and 30 million of its second-generation model, according to Samsung.
The company has sold about 800,000 Note series phones in Taiwan so far, and the figure is expected to cross the 1-million mark by the end of this year, said Andy Tu, general manager of Samsung Taiwan's mobile communication team.
"We are confident of reaching this target on the back of positive customer feedback for our Note 2 device," Tu said at the launch, adding that the Note 2 remained the third-best-selling phone in Taiwan last month based on market research data.
The Taiwan version of the Galaxy Note 3 sports a bigger 5.7-inch full-HD display, improved stylus function, a 1.9GHz octa-core 3G processor and a 13-megapixel rear camera.
The upgraded phone, with a 32-gigabyte internal memory, will hit the domestic market in October at a cost of NT$23,900 (US$808), and a 16GB model will go on sale in November at NT$22,500.
Also Tuesday, Samsung launched its smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, featuring a 1.63-inch screen and a basic camera, which can be connected to the Galaxy Note 3 phone via Bluetooth wireless technology to make calls, check messages and take photos. The wearable device will be available from Oct. 10 at a cost of NT$9,900.
According to market research company International Data Corporation (IDC), one out of every three smartphones shipped in Taiwan during the second quarter was a phablet -- a smartphone with a screen size of five to seven inches -- reflecting the local popularity of the large form.
Phablets made up 37 percent of Taiwan's smartphone shipments during the second quarter, up from 24 percent in the first quarter, IDC said.
Taiwan's phablet market share was higher than the 21 percent average in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) and the global average of 18 percent, trailing behind only South Korea and Singapore in the Asia-Pacific region, IDC statistics show.
(By Jeffrey Wu)