Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Samsung and Apple Lock Horns
We handed in our old and trusty HTC Hero Android last week which now some two years on is showing its age. We looked hard at what was on offer from operating systems, hardware and networks and choose not to wait for Ice cream sandwich and choose the Samsung Galaxy S 2 running gingerbread. It isn’t until you actually get your hands on the latest Samsung technology that you appreciate the real threat they pose to Apple today.
In just a handful of days, iPhone users who have seen my smartphone have been taken aback and old iPhone users are clearly jealous. The thing that won it over the other Android for us was the quality and size of the AMOLED screen and its lightness and thin profile. The thing that won it over the iPhone was the growing position and offer of Android. We didn’t consider the others as serious contenders. Samsung also offers the tight integration of many apps and superb communications. It even came preloaded with the majority of apps and social services we use including BBC iPlayer which is as good as watching TV and of course for us free Sykpe, GTM app and much more.
Samsung is now locked in patent wars in some 10 countries with Apple and its isn’t the one way traffic some would have you believe. Samsung is trying to even ban sales of Apple's latest iPhone on alleged patent infringements in Australia, Japan, France and Italy. Apple has preliminary injunctions against some Samsung products in Australia, Germany and the Netherlands, and is trying block US sales of some Samsung models. Samsung has also appealed against an Australian court's decision to block the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and a full court hearing is scheduled for later this month.
The battle is not just about phone patents but also tablet ones too as these two giants tussle for what is a huge global market. To top it all and little know to many, is the fact that even Apple buys chips and displays from the South Korean giant!
We now have the smartphone market growing by some 42% year-on-year in the third quarter and shipping some 115.2m units. Smartphones continue to not only outsell PCs, but the gap is growing. In just three years since its launch Android now powers 52.5% of handsets shipped, which is staggering, given this was just 25.3% only a year ago. Samsung claims to have shipped more smartphones in the third quarter of 2011 than any other company. The Android genie is definitely not going away and Samsung still has others such as Motorola, LG, HTC all pushing the Android envelope.
Is Apple concerned – well yes, according to the recent Steve Jobs biography. Apple’s market share has dropped from 16.6% in the third quarter of 2010 to 15% in 2011 and even though its sales rose from 13.4m to 17.3m, this fell short of Samsung’s 24m.
It’s no wonder Apple wanted to put the Australian case hearing put back till next August, but the judge has set a date on March and feels August is simply too far away.
So we come back to our decision and what we have in our hands today. When I demoed it to someone yesterday they summed it up perfectly by saying I had a true mobile that offered everything and can make calls as well! Why bother with a tablet you can’t slip into your pocket and are tablets really the answer or just a fad?