Samsung Electronics said Thursday it was planning to launch in the second half of this year a new flagship phone, leading to speculation that the company is planning an alternative to the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 that had to be recalled last year.

The launch of a new flagship smartphone this year and continuing sales of the Galaxy S8 and S8+ will help Samsung counter Apple’s launch of a new version of its iPhone. Apple usually unveils new phones in September.

"Samsung does announce a S series phone in the first half of the year and a Note series in the second half," said Kiranjeet Kaur, research manager for client devices at IDC Asia/Pacific. "So I am not sure if Samsung is alluding to the next Note or if they want to introduce a new series to avoid any questions or doubts that may arise because of the Note 7 debacle."

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