A customer tries the Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone at a store in Seoul

Samsung unveils 'phablet' revamp after Apple defeat

Samsung will unveil the second generation of its Galaxy Note phone-cum-tablet at Europe's biggest electronics show this week.

South Korean firm Samsung is under pressure to innovate after losing a US patent battle with Apple.

A US federal jury last week found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and awarded Apple $1.05bn in damages.

Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain.

The Galaxy Note phablet, Samsung's second most popular smartphone after its flagship Galaxy S, is not included in the list of the potential US sales ban, and Samsung hopes the phablet upgrade will lift any post-Apple gloom at the South Korean group.

"There won't be huge innovative changes in design, but the Note 2 will feature quite a few improvements and enable Samsung to carry on its strong sales momentum in the category," said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

"With the launch, Samsung will also be trying to turn around downbeat sentiment after the US legal defeat."

The new version of the Note is expected to feature a thinner and slightly bigger 5.5in screen, powerful quad-core processor, the latest version of Google's Android operating system, 'Jellybean', and improved stylus function.

It is the latest product to illustrate Samsung's attempts to make bold design changes as it comes increasingly under pressure to differentiate its line-up from the iPhone, whose simple and large touchscreen-based design revolutionised the mobile industry and is still considered the gold standard of design.

Samsung is also working to introduce smartphones with bendable screens later this year as it seeks to cement its lead in the $200bn plus global smartphone market and challenge Apple, which is expected to launch its new iPhone on 12 September.

The new Note comes just three months after Samsung released the third generation of its Galaxy S smartphone, which has already sold more than 10 million, and succeeds the original 5.3in Note, which was introduced in late October and was a surprise hit, selling more than 10 million within nine months.

Other firms that offer so-called phablets include LG Electronics and HTC.

ABI Research has predicted phablet shipments could reach 208 million by 2015.

Unlike Apple, Samsung depends on various line-ups, offering a range of models in different sizes and with different software, and keeps its product cycle shorter.

Later this year, it is expected to launch a new model running Microsoft's upgraded Windows operating system.

Samsung shares rose 2.9 per cent to 1.23 million Won in Seoul this week - in a broader Korean market that closed up 0.6 per cent - and are now down just 3.5 per cent from their levels before last Friday's US ruling.

The shares slumped 7.5 per cent earlier this week, wiping $12bn off the company's market value.

A US judge has set a 6 December court date to hear Apple's request for a permanent injunction against Samsung smartphones, which could delay the potential impact of Apple's legal victory.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has said Apple's bruising legal win had not affected the agency's ratings on Samsung.

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