Tough call: Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is bringing out a rugged version of its Galaxy S8. Picture: REUTERS
Tough call: Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is bringing out a rugged version of its Galaxy S8. Picture: REUTERS

Samsung is introducing a new model for its Galaxy S8 smartphone line featuring a larger battery, metal frame and shatter-resistant screen.

The Galaxy S8 Active, which the South Korean company says has passed military specification testing, is geared towards users in environments such as extreme outdoor sporting events and construction sites, where a standard device may succumb to wear and tear.

The S8 Active comes just weeks ahead of Samsung’s planned debut of its next flagship device. The Suwon-based company has scheduled a media event in New York on August 23 to unveil a new smartphone that is expected to be called the Galaxy Note 8. It would be the first redesign to the Note line since the Note 7 battery debacle in 2016.

The S8 Active will initially be exclusive to the US market and AT&T as the carrier, Samsung said. Samsung has previously sold "Active" versions of previous Galaxy smartphones.

The S8 phone receiving the rugged makeover is the smaller, 5.8-inch model. Samsung also sells a Galaxy S8+ phone with a 6.2-inch screen. The S8 Active costs $850, $100 more than the standard S8.

The new S8 model loses the edge-to-edge screen design of the standard models, which is a key selling point of the device, in favour of a frame for improved durability. The phone includes a larger 4,000mAh battery, giving better battery life than with the standard 3,000mAh battery.

Meanwhile, South Korean prosecutors demanded on Monday that the heir to the Samsung empire be imprisoned for 12 years over his role in the graft scandal that brought down the country’s last president.

At the final hearing in the trial of Samsung vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong, prosecutors called him the "ultimate beneficiary" of crimes committed in the scandal, which culminated in the impeachment and dismissal of president Park Geun-Hye.

If the judges convict him and agree with the sentence recommendation, it will be among the harshest penalties passed on a top executive of a chaebol, the business groups that dominate Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Lee and four other executives of Samsung — the world’s biggest smartphone maker — are accused of bribing Park’s powerful confidante with millions of dollars to win presidential favours and ease a controversial 2015 merger deal.

The prosecutors sought a 12-year sentence for Lee, who is also charged with embezzlement and hiding assets overseas among other offences, 10-year terms for three co-accused, and seven years for the last of the defendants in the trial. Lee denied any wrongdoing.

"I once again deeply regret and apologise for causing a huge disappointment," he told the court in his final statement.

Lee has been in custody for six months and said that during his time in detention, he realised he had "many shortcomings" and there were some things he "failed to oversee" as a business leader.

Bloomberg, AFP

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