In the Smartphone horse race between Apple and Samsung, the latter is pulling away with its latest Galaxy S3 flagship device. It comes with a whopping 4.8-inch 720p AMOLED display packaged in a slim and light case, with a nice kicker, the latest version of Android v.4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) that seems made to order just in time for summer. The display is a 1280 x 720 pixel with 306 ppi using PenTile AMOLED pixel configuration. By comparison, Apple’s aging iPhone4S hardware is built on the same platform as iPhone4, that launched almost two years ago (June 2010) and sports what now seems a puny 3.5-inch (albeit Retinal high resolution) display with 640 x 960 pixel resolution and 326 ppi.
Surprisingly, the market for Apple is still growing at a healthy clip as the company looks to green fields for its storied products, including China. Samsung is beating Apple in market share, and the Korean company has products in all cell phone categories, multiple operating systems and sells in all global regions.
Apple’s offering in the space is a one-trick pony, with Smartphones only, that all operate on its own iOS. But the products have demonstrated remarkable staying power over the course of 23 months. For example, last quarter, (Q1′12) Apple boosted sales to 35M units, up 88% over the same period in 2011, as it shifted to markets with pent-up demand in both Asia and Europe. The company growth came at the expense of both Nokia, HTC and RIM as the Smartphone category grew globally, while lower performance cell phones stagnated in the period.
But Apple may begin to feel the effects of its aging product line that’s due for an upgrade sometime this year. And for its part, Samsung’s massive investment into the Smartphone category is paying off in spades. The company just "aced" Nokia out of the top cell phone spot after the Espoo, Finland based cell maker (the first to achieve 1M cell phone sales per day) was finally overtaken by Samsung after a 14 year reign as top maker. IHS iSupply reported Samsung shipped 92M cellphones (all types including Smartphones) worldwide in Q1′12 beating out the Nokia brand by 9M units (Nokia shipped 83M units total for the quarter.) And that’s before the new Galaxy S3 launches in Europe later this month.
So the gauntlet is definitely down in the Smartphone category as Samsung delivers on its next generation Galaxy with a wish list of features that Apple will find hard to beat. One look at the image from androidauthority.com tells the story, with the caption: Who’s the fatty? Showing the sleek design of Samsung’s S3 even with the much larger 4.8-inch diagonal AMOLED display (see image.) We can only wait and see if the post-Steve Jobs culture is up to the challenge of exceeding (or even keeping up with) the Koreans this time around. So stay tuned. - Steve Sechrist
Note: look for full coverage including specs and Smartphone market review in the upcoming issue of Mobile Display Report.