SOUTH KOREA - Consumers flocked to 1,400 "experience stores" run by Samsung Electronics and its partners, including mobile carriers and electronics retail chains, to get hands-on experience with the tech giant's upcoming marquee smartphones Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in South Korea on Monday.
Since it is a while before the gadgets' official release, scheduled for April 10 in South Korea, the store was not built with the aim of creating an eye-catching long line of people waiting to order the handsets at mobile carrier KT's Olleh Square, a showroom in Gwanghwamun.
Some of the visitors at the store, however, raved about the new handsets after trying them out for a few minutes.
"I am currently using the iPhone 5 and thinking of changing it. The S6 is one that fits my tastes," said Kim Mi-so, a 24-year-old university student, giving kudos to the design she called intuitive and sleek, and the crisp display of the smartphone.
Other visitors who handled the smartphones also praised the new handsets.
Samsung set up the experience stores across the nation including ones with its partners such as mobile carriers KT, SK Telecom, LG Uplus and electronics retail chain Hi-Mart on Monday.
Running experience stores before the official release of a flagship handset is a first for the Korean tech giant. Some market watchers said the move shows Samsung's confidence in its latest products.
"In order to keep riding the momentum, Samsung will also step up its marketing efforts for the S6 and Edge," a market analyst said.
The S6 and its variant, featuring a curved display on both sides, has garnered praise from mobile carriers and the news media around the world for its powerful specifications and slim design.
Some industry officials forecast that the new Samsung smartphones would outperform Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Stock traders have also painted a rosy picture for the smartphones.
"The S6 will break the record of shipments in the first year ― 45 million units ― set by the S4," said Kim Sang-pyo, an analyst from KB Investment and Securities, predicting that Samsung's market share in the global smartphone market, which had dropped to around 20 per cent, would soar back above 30 per cent.