Samsung has just unveiled its latest effort to make buyers more at home with its cellphones. The first of its independent retail locations opens today in Vancouver, Canada, expanding on the store-within-a-store idea it explored in London. The Vancouver Sun got a preview of the new store, which showcases smartphones, tablets, notebooks, and cameras in an environment that lets users see how they integrate with each other. Samsung Electronics Canada president James Politeski says Vancouver was chosen because of Samsung's status as an official Winter Olympics partner back in 2010, which left it with partnerships across the city.

Although Samsung is the top smartphone maker worldwide, it has a touchy relationship with competitor Apple, and this effort is almost certainly going to be seen as derivative of Apple's own store. Politeski, however, insists that "these stores are based purely on our own time and place and space." Unlike Apple, Samsung is also launching its stores with a partner: an unnamed Canadian wireless carrier. More locations in Canada are tentatively planned, and the rest of us may be seeing pop-up stores sometime this year.

Thanks sicsicpuppy!