Contrary to the latest rumors, Samsung will not tap the upcoming Mobile World Congress that takes place from Feb. 27 to March 1 in Barcelona, Spain to unveil a successor to the popular Galaxy S II smartphone. Instead, in an Apple-like fashion, the Galaxy S III will be introduced to the world at a dedicated event scheduled for the “first half of the year,” the company told Techradar.

According to the official statement attributed to a Samsung spokesperson:

Samsung is looking forward to introducing and demonstrating exciting new mobile products at Mobile World Congress 2012. The successor to the GALAXY S II smartphone will be unveiled at a separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product. Samsung stays committed to providing the best possible mobile experiences for customers around the world.

All told, Samsung is confident that a dedicated event rather than a trade show announcement would better convey the Galaxy S III message. According to PocketNow, the handset should feature Samsung-built Exynos 4412 chip sporting four Cortex-A9 processing cores by fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings, each clocked at 1.5GHz. Boasting a 50 percent faster graphics performance compared to its predecessor, the Exynos 4210 is a new piece of silicon that will be manufactured on Samsung’s 32-nanometer fabbing technology. The closest competitor to the Exynos 4412 is a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core chip that should debut in the HTC Zeta smartphone.

The decision to postpone the Galaxy S III launch to avoid drowning in the inevitable crescendo of MWC announcements reminds us of Apple, which pulled out from the MacWorld expo in 2009. In hindsight, the move can be traced back to Steve Jobs’ illness. It also makes sense from the marketing standpoint, as Apple no longer has to time its product launches to someone else’s schedule. Instead, the company summons the press to its Cupertino campus or books venues, such as San Francisco’s Moscone West, whenever it has something big to announce.

According to the increasingly unreliable Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes, Apple’s rivals in the smartphone space have opted to hold off major launches until the second quarter of this year to avoid competing directly with the iPhone 4S, whose sales “will remain at peak in the first quarter of 2012.” Apple sold an astounding 37.04 million iPhones during the holiday quarter, likely beating Android in the United States and passing Samsung to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor (Note: Samsung no longer reports phone and tablet unit sales for competitive reason). Recent developments partially corroborate the story, as both HTC and Motorola recently went on the record and said they will ‘rationalize’ their 2012 portfolios with fewer handsets and focus on so-called ‘hero devices’. The move should simplify development, trim manufacturing expenses, raise the awareness of flagship devices and help increase their shelf life.

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