Samsung has unveiled two new Android smartphones with jumbo screens as it seeks to recapture some of the sales lost to Apple after larger iPhones came out last year.
Samsung said Thursday that the new Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus will start shipping Aug. 21 in the U.S. and Canada. Usually, Note phones don't come out until well after Apple's new iPhone models in September.
The timing reflects a shift in fortunes for a company that pioneered jumbo phones with the original Note in 2011. Now, Samsung needs to beat Apple to the punch, or risk seeing its products drowned out by all the attention on the iPhone, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said.
The new phones from Samsung have screens measuring 5.7 inches diagonally, the same as last year's Note 4, yet both are lighter and thinner. They are comparable to Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, the larger of the two new iPhones. Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones, which are closer in size to the regular iPhone 6, came out in April.
The Note 5 will cost $696 to $740 without a contract, depending on the carrier. The Edge Plus will cost about $75 more. The iPhone 6 Plus sells for about $750. T-Mobile is throwing in a year of Netflix with both phones, while Sprint is giving away a low-end Samsung tablet with a two-year contract.
Samsung Electronics Co. also said its Samsung Pay mobile payment service will launch in the U.S. on Sept. 28.
Although there's competition from Apple Pay and Google's upcoming Android Pay, Samsung is hoping its payments system will catch on with the inclusion of a technology that mimics the old-school, magnetic signals from credit card swipes. That allows it to work with a wider range of merchants, though it still won't work everywhere cards are accepted.