Samsung are on course to become the largest cell phone company by sales volume turnover. In a jubilant announcement Sunday, Samsung President and Head of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business JK Shin said that the company was looking forward to extending these gains in 2012. The record Samsung device sales numbers come after Samsung sold 280 million devices in 2010. Samsung’s flagship smartphone offering, the Galaxy series of smartphones have played no small part in this victory.
Second only to Nokia, who sold 450 million devices in 2010, Samsung have gone all out in their assault on the cell phone market in the US and in deed across the world. But what’s interesting is the near-manic obsession that Samsung have to beat Apple and their iconic iPhone and iPad devices. Samsung first came out with the Galaxy S series as a cheaper and more mass-market alternative to those who wanted the smartphone experience but perhaps could not afford the pricey iPhone or just preferred an alternative.
But after the success that the Galaxy S had, Samsung decided to go all out and take on the iPhone with their new Galaxy SII super smartphone with ads that snip at Apple’s ankles to add to the assault. But Samsung have one advantage that Apple may not have, and that is the flexibility of working with almost any carrier that will have them and creating niche devices tailor-made for these carriers. On the other hand, Apple are caught up trying to maintain the exclusivity and iconic image of the iPhone and by so doing, limit who it is they can actually work with.
To add to this, Apple’s partnership terms have received quite a bit of flack for being too monopolistic and favouring Apple over the carriers and their customers. Another player who will be taking this news with extreme interest will be Nokia who have had to cut their projections owing to business slowing down as well as the inherent issues of switching over to Windows phone. Whereas Nokia now have the backing one of the largest software makers in the world, Microsoft are not necessarily known for their innovation and viral product releases.
With Microsoft gearing to launch Windows Mobile 7.5, Nokia may very well be holding their breath as they wait and see what kind of numbers Samsung will pull during the month of December, a traditionally sweet spot for device manufacturers. But it also must be appreciated that the pains affecting mobile device sales is more widespread than localized.
With many large companies jostling for a shrinking market, the volatility in the market and destabilisation of market macro economics is to be expected but with markets evening out and players beginning to retreat to more niche areas (HP leaving the mobile device business), it is expected that there will be a more stable and evened out market for mobile devices.