UPDATE II: Samsung Canada has delayed the launch date for its much-anticipated Galaxy S III phone "due to unprecedented global demand."

The phone will now be available June 27, 2012.

Samsung said in a statement Friday that it expects any shortages of the phone to be short-lived.

UPDATE: Samsung’s long-awaited Galaxy S 3 smartphone will arrive in Canada on June 20, and will be available through all major wireless carriers, the company has announced.

It’s a far cry from the days when a buzzworthy new phone would arrive with a delay to the Canadian market and get picked up by one or two major carriers, Ken Price, Samsung Canada’s director of marketing, mobile, said during a call Monday.

“The national carriers used to be about product differentiation because of network differentiation,” Price said, but things have changed because the wireless carriers have greatly improved their infrastructure.

For instance, when the iPhone came out in 2007, it was available only through Rogers, because only Rogers had the GSM network needed to support iPhones. Other Canadian carriers used the CDMA network. Today, all major carriers have a GSM network.

As a result, “exclusivity is melting away” among Canada’s wireless companies, and it’s becoming more about offering customers choice, Price said.

Price played up the Samsung Galaxy S 3’s new features, including a “best photo: feature that automatically recognizes which of a set of photos is “best’; the S-Beam feature that allows two Samsung phones to share files just by bringing them close to each other; and a number of optional “shake” features that will allow you to give commands to the phone just by tilting or shaking it in a particular way.

One version or another of the phone will be available through Bell Mobility, Mobilicity, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus, Videotron, Virgin Mobile, and Wind.

-- Daniel Tencer

PHOTOS: THE NEW SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

NEW YORK -- Samsung Electronics Co.'s latest Galaxy phone will have a high-definition touch screen that's nearly twice the size of the iPhone, while being thinner and lighter than Apple's phone.

The Galaxy line has emerged as the biggest competitor to the iPhone. Samsung said the Galaxy S III will go on sale in Europe on May 29 and in the U.S. this summer. The Korean company showed off the phone Thursday at an event in London.

Like previous Galaxy phones, the S III will run Google Inc.'s Android software. The processor, or ``brains'' of the device, will be upgraded to include four computing cores. The iPhone and most other high-end phones are ``dual-core,'' but there are some quad-core devices on sale already.

The added computing power will be put to use in the S III's expanded voice-command features. When the phone screen is off, owners will be able to ``wake'' it up by saying "Hi, Galaxy.'' They can then give further spoken commands. When Apple launched the iPhone 4S last year, it also made advances in voice recognition a central selling point.

Samsung will sell a pad that charges a phone placed on it, with no need to connect a cable. Palm Inc.'s last smartphone had a similar feature when released three years ago, but it never became popular.

Samsung said the phone will go on sale in 145 countries with 296 phone companies, making it the company's biggest launch so far.

In the U.S., Japan and Korea, the phone will use fourth-generation, or 4G, networks for faster data downloads. Samsung didn't say which carriers would sell it, but the previous Galaxy model was sold by all four national U.S. wireless carriers: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Samsung doesn't release phone shipment figures, but most analysts believe its smartphones outsold Apple and its 35.1 million iPhones in the January-to-March period. Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley believes Apple and Samsung together accounted for virtually all the profits in the phone industry in the first three months of 2012, with three-quarters going to Apple by virtue of its singular focus on the high-priced iPhone.

Samsung and Apple have a complicated relationship. They're rivals in the smartphone and tablet-computer markets and fight each other in court over patents. But Samsung is one of Apple's largest suppliers of chips and displays, and Apple is one of Samsung's largest clients.

The Galaxy series debuted in 2010. The screen size has increased with each version: The Galaxy S had a screen that measured 4 inches diagonally. It was followed by the S II, at 4.3 inches.

The S III screen has a 4.8-inch screen. Meanwhile, the iPhone screen has stayed the same size, at 3.5 inches, but the recent models pack more pixels into the screen, for a sharper display.

PHOTOS: THE NEW SAMSUNG GALAXY S III

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  • 4.8-Inch Super AMOLED Display

    The screen is huge, up from 4.3 inches on the Galaxy S II. A 4.8 inch screen makes it one of the largest displays on a flagship phone there is. Compare with HTC's One X (4.7 inches), the Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx (4.3 inches), and Apple's iPhone 4S (3.5 inches). The resolution is 1280x720.

  • S Voice

    Samsung introduces 'S Voice' on the Galaxy S III. To wake the phone up and activate the voice sensor, you simply say "Hi Galaxy!" and the phone wakes up; no need to push a button. Other voice commands, in addition to the stock ones in the Google Voice Actions catalogue: Using your voice, you can launch the camera and take a photo, turn the volume up and down, snooze the alarm (say "Snooze" as your alarm is going off -- dangerous!), and send texts and emails.

  • Motion Detection

    If you're writing a text to someone, and then you raise the phone to your ear, the GS3 launches the telephone app and automatically calls the person you were texting.

  • S Beam

    The Galaxy S III comes with an NFC chip that allows you to "bump" information like photos or video to other Galaxy S III owners by touching phones together, using a combination of the NFC technology and Wi-Fi Direct. With All-Share Cast, you can beam your screen to any DLNA-compatible television; All-Share Cast also allows you to share your screen onto anyone else's smartphone for document collaboration.

  • Pop Up Play

    "Pop up play" will allow you to play a video anywhere on the screen while also performing other tasks, like checking your email or responding to texts. You can make the video window as large or small as you want. Here, you can see a YouTube video playing toward the bottom of the screen while a demonstrator prepares to search Google.

  • Burst Shot

    The Galaxy S III's 8 megapixel camera comes with burst photography: Holding down the shutter will take twenty photos in a row; you can then choose the best photo and the phone will automatically erase the other 19. A similar function exists on the HTC One line of phones. An alternate function: The Burst camera can take 8 photos in a row and then automatically choose the best one, if you're too indecisive to choose on your own.

  • Buddy Photo Share

    The photography software comes with smart facial recognition: When you take a picture of a friend, it can recognize their face and will prompt you to send that photo to that person's phone or email address.

  • Smart Stay

    Essentially an eye recognition technology, the GS3 can sense when you are and are not looking it: When you are looking at your screen, the display will stay illuminated; when you stop looking at your phone, the display goes dark to save power. The feature can be toggled on and off, if you prefer to just let your screen time out.

  • This Commercial

    Here's the first commercial for the Galaxy S III. At least, we think it's advertising the Galaxy S III. It might also be advertising a soap opera or Zach Braff film of some kind.