SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics unveiled on Wednesday four new smartphone models under its flagship Galaxy line to expand it to the mid to low-end segment and grow in emerging markets, as bigger rival Apple prepares a cheaper version of the iPhone 4.
The move signals intensifying competition with Apple Samsung's biggest competitor and customer, as the U.S. firm is set to launch a lower-cost version of the iPhone 4 and its much-anticipated iPhone 5 soon.
Apple and Samsung emerged as the world's No.1 and No.2 smartphone makers respectively in the second quarter, ending the 10-year reign of Nokia.
Apple has long stuck to the higher end of a booming mobile device arena, but is now seeking out new markets to sustain the rip-roaring pace of growth that has enthralled Wall Street.
"Samsung seeks to expand market share in the emerging market with models costing around $200, as those markets have lower smartphone penetration rates compared with advanced markets," a Samsung group spokeswoman quoted an executive from Samsung Electronics' mobile division as telling a meeting of the group's executives on Wednesday.
Samsung sees cheap models costing below $200 accounting for more than half the overall smartphone market by 2015 in volume terms, up sharply from last year's 16 percent.
Its new mid-to-high end Galaxy W will have a 3.7-inch screen, while the mid-tier Galaxy M Pro and lower-end Galaxy Y Pro will be Samsung's first Galaxy models with qwerty keyboards.
The fourth Galaxy Y model is an entry-level product aimed at emerging market consumers.
Samsung launched its top-end Galaxy S smartphone in June 2010 and its followup Galaxy S II, launched in April this year, has sold more than 5 million units.
The new Galaxy lineup will be unveiled to the public at an annual electronics fair in Germany in early September .
The global smartphone market is expected to account for around 64 percent of the total handset market this year in dollar terms, up from 54 percent a year ago, according to industry data.
Shares in Samsung fell 2.8 percent by 0219 GMT, lagging a 1.6 percent drop in the wider market.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)
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