Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S3.

Seoul - Samsung Electronics has begun sales of its third-generation Galaxy S smartphone in 28 countries in Europe and the Middle East, hoping for a headstart on Apple's next iteration of the iPhone.

Samsung said on Tuesday that the Galaxy S III smartphones hit the shelves in countries including France and Britain. It said nearly 300 mobile operators around the world will ship the device before July.

Samsung quoted Vodafone Group as saying pre-orders for the Galaxy S III have outstripped those of any previous Android-based smartphone.

The latest Galaxy phone features a larger screen than its predecessor while having a thinner body. It has more computing power that supports voice commands and an eye-movement tracking feature to keep the screen from dimming. - Sapa-AP