Samsung v Apple – The New Market Paradigm

When the Android Operating System was launched by Google in 2008, the world stood back to see what would happen with a competitor finally positioned to challenge Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market.   With dozens of manufacturers soon launching devices on the Android operating system it stood to reason that they be grouped together as a single formidable opponent to Apple.  Thus the Apple v Android war began.

These days however, another brand, Samsung, is eclipsing the Android brand, with Samsung devices claiming more than 42% of the Android market.  The next nearest manufacturer is not even close, with only 6% market share, while Samsung continues on the up & up.   As early as 2011, Samsung was being touted as the top smartphone manufacturer in Australia, but until very recently, most industry commentators have continued to talk about the battle between Apple and Android.

In recent months however, the news has been full of Samsung.   Gartner’s Q4 report on Global Smartphone Market Share, released last month, had Samsung in the number one position. Currently at number 2 in the US, the impending Samsung S IV launch is likely to see Samsung recapture the title which tends to alternate between Apple and Samsung as each launch their latest device.

Just this week we heard that Yahoo7 in Australia have penned a deal with Samsung to make their catch up TV service Plus7 avaialble on Samsung Galaxy Smartphones and Galaxy Note Tablets.   Last week at Mobile World Congress, Samsung announced an alliance with Visa that will result in Samsung preload the Visa PayWave applet onto its NFC enabled mobile devices.  This will give Samsung users immediate access to NFC payments straight out of the box, though plenty of commentators think the market still has a way to go before NFC payments go mainstream.

Given the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 is due to be launched next week (UPDATE S4 Launch), it seems certain this Visa app will be part of the Galaxy S IV release. Australian customers will be expecting Samsung Australia to make the S4 available in parallel with the global launch (perhaps in May 2013) as it did with the launch of the Galaxy S III this time last year.

There’s plenty of gossip and rumour on the web about the Galaxy S IV. Everyone is talking about the suggestion that it will track your eye movements for scrolling.   If you’re curious, Techradar has a pretty comprehensive article covering all the Galaxy S IV rumours. And you can watch the launch live on March 14th on the Samsung Mobile YouTube Channel.(UPDATE: Read all about the Galaxy S4 which was launched early this morning March 15th, Australian time)

I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more about Samsung in 2013.  Australian users have embraced the brand, and we are now seeing the same kind of hype about Samsung releases that used to be reserved exclusively for Apple’s stylish launch events.  It seems the rules of the game have changed, and we are in for a new kind of smartphone war over the next few years.  Bring it on!



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