SEOUL – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd launched the Galaxy Note 9 “phablet” in New York on Thursday, promising better battery life and quick cooling to attract gamers and revive flagging sales.

The focus on gamer-friendly features appears to be a shift away from Samsung’s previous positioning of the Note as a productivity-boosting device, and is an attempt to lure younger customers as the company’s smartphone sales falter.

US carrier Verizon Communications Inc said the new device will be available for pre-order from August 10, with the 128 gigabyte model priced at $999.99 (S$1,370) and 512GB model at $1,249.99.

Sprint Corp will introduce the smartphone on August 24 and offer a 50 per cent discount as part of a promotional scheme.

Samsung also launched the Galaxy Home speaker, a device that will use its Bixby voice assistant and compete with similar products from Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

The company last month posted its slowest quarterly profit growth in more than a year as rivals such as China’s Huawei Technologies nipped at its heels, challenging the market leader with cheaper, feature-packed models.

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An industry source said the new Note would be priced similarly to its predecessor Note 8, which sold at around $950. The Note 8 sported dual rear cameras and the biggest screen to date on a Samsung smartphone.

The new Note will support up to 1 terabyte of memory – it will have a 512 GB version that will support an additional 512 GB memory card – the source said, making Samsung the first major smartphone maker to sell a 1TB phone.

Samsung launched the Note 9 at 11 a.m. in New York on Thursday, or Friday midnight in Seoul. The new Note is set to hit stores on Aug. 24, Samsung said.

The launch comes about three weeks earlier than its predecessor’s release date, a move prompted by increased competition in the second half of the year as rivals release new smartphone models.

During the…

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