Samsung Galaxy S3 sets up 'two horse race' with Apple
THE Samsung Galaxy S3, unveiled last night, has confirmed Samsung's position as the main challenger to Apple in the booming smartphone industry, according to analysts.
The new device is the follow-up to the Galaxy S2, the best-selling Android handset and the only smartphone to rival the iPhone in sales. It brings new software such as voice recognition, a bigger and sharper screen and 50GB of online storage through a partnership with Dropbox.
The Galaxy S3 is also the official Olympics phone and will be intensively marketed over the summer, giving it a head start on the next iPhone, which is expected to be introduced in autumn.
"While the Galaxy S3 will be highly desirable for enthusiastic and advanced users, Samsung will have to build on the already popular Galaxy brand and push it hard to various distribution channels before the iPhone 5 is launched," said Malik Saadi, an industry analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
The Galaxy S3 is the highest-profilen of a handful of devices that qualify as what industry jargon has labelled "superphones" that have quad-core processors based on advanced ARM architecture, enabling advanced graphics and more sophisticated apps. The others so far on the market include the HTC One X and LG Optimus 2X.
The excitement Samsung was able to generate around its new flagship, which was unveiled at an event at Earl's Court last night, underscored how other Android manufacturers such as HTC have failed to to effectively respond to Apple's marketing and hardware lead.
Jason Jenkins, editor of Cnet UK, said it made the iPhone "look a little like yesterday's model".
"It cements Samsung's place as one of the leading phone manufacturers and really puts the pressure on Apple to come up with something different for its next iPhone later in the year," he said.
"It's also starting to look like this will be a two-horse race - Samsung and Apple fighting it out for the number one spot with everyone else left to pick up the crumbs."
RIM, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, and Nokia, which has committed itself to Windows Phone 7 have also been unable to keep pace with Samsung and Apple so far. Between them the two firms account for almost all of the smartphone industry's profits.
"The importance of the Galaxy S3I to Samsung can not be underestimated; the company has built its reputation on producing the ‘must-have’ Android smartphone and in the process has become the poster child for the Android platform," said Adam Leach of the analysts Ovum
"Samsung’s Galaxy S3 not only needs to stand out amongst a plethora of other Android-based smartphones it will also go head-to-head with the next iteration of Apple’s iPhone,."
The early signs have been positive for the Galaxy S3, which has received a warm reception from reviewers. The main gripe highlighted in "first look" reviews has been its "cheap" finish relative to the iPhone or Nokia devices.
"The casing of the Galaxy S3 is a weakness," said Malik Saadi.
"It's based on the usual plastic casing found in most of Samsung’s phones and doesn’t do justice to the device’s impressive features. Samsung needs to learn from the likes of Nokia and Apple which use high-quality materials and the best designs for casing their premium devices."