‘The Great War’: iPhone 5 V Samsung Galaxy S3 Showdown

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Mobiles are a dying breed as smartphones invade phoneland.

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Who will be smartphone kings in 2012?

That’s according to analysts who say the real showdown in phoneland is now between the two smartphone kings, Apple V Samsung, in 2012.

Nokia is still the “undisputed leader” of mobile (shipments) with 27% marketshare as they got rid of a whopping 417.1 million phones last year, thanks to its thriving ‘feature phones’ business; however this marks a fall of almost 8% compared to same time 2010, according to IDC’s latest Mobile Phone Tracker.

This compares to Samsung’s 329.4m and Apple’s 93.2m shipments last year. But don’t be fooled by these figures.

Although Samsung and Apple lagged behind with 21.3% and 6.1% share respectively, both surpass Nokia on phone revenues and smartphone share, meaning the Koreans and Californians make far more money from its mobile business than the ‘leader’ (funny, eh), since smartphones have higher price points than lower end mobiles.

Samsung also had a record smashing 4th quarter and broke the 90m mark for the first time in one quarter- shifting 97.4m devices- beating Apple by just over 1 million.  

And 2011 was also the year of the Galaxy, with the Korean giant breaking the 300m mark for the year, thanks to Galaxies like like S II, Note, Nexus, Ace and Y; and Windows smartphones Focus Flash and the Focus S.

These, along with its own steadily growing feature phone volumes, pushed Samsung closer to market leader Nokia, notes IDC.

Apple jumped into the No.3 spot in phone charts, passing out LG and ZTE with another record-breaking boom – all thanks to the iPhone 4S.

These, along with its own steadily growing feature phone volumes, pushed Samsung closer to market leader Nokia, notes IDC Mobile Phone Tracker.

Apple jumped into the No.3 spot in phone charts, passing out LG and ZTE with another record-breaking boom – all thanks to the iPhone 4S.

 
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iPhone 4S…the best selling iPhone, to date.

The global availability of the 4S (sold in over 90 countries) was the primary reason  for massive leap forward, say analysts.

And with both smartphone stalwarts unleashing new devices this year means the real battle will be iPhone 5 V Samsung Galaxy S III.

Apple beat off bitter rival Samsung last quarter to gain title of smartphone leader in Q4 (Oct-Dec) last- shipping 37m iPhones – compared to Samsung’s 36.5m, coming a close second.

Cupertino is tipped to bring out the successor to the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5, at its developers conference, WWDC, usually held in June. It’s expected to come with a high potency A6 (quad core) chip, Near Field Communication and next-gen 4G web speed capabilities.

Rival Samsung said last week it would launch its S III Android Ice Cream Sandwich flagship before the first half of the year — that’s pre July — meaning the i5 and S III launch could come head to head. Samsung will also step up its push on Nexus, launched late last year.

This iPhone Vs Galaxy prediction reflects comments made by Neil Mawson from Strategy Analytics last week, who predicted “a two-horse race” between the already sparring duo (cue patent  battles in Australia, Germany and US), in one of the most valuable electronics markets, smartphones

In the Asia/Pacific region, which includes Australia, the basic mobile market declined while smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 4S was well received here in Australia, Korea (Samsung’s home state) and Taiwan.

The Android scene was dominated by Samsung, HTC and LG. Windows Phone gained some momentum thanks to HTC’s Titan and Radar models and Nokia Lumia, due here in March.

Competition in the Android market intensified as brands like Lenovo, Coolpad, and Huawei, made headway in China.

Nokia’s Smart Revival?

But Nokia may still pose a threat to iOS and Android reign, and are in a “storied transition” to smartphones having launched its first Windows Phone (Lumia 800 out here next month) and its Asha smartphone-like feature phone which both have received positive responses, say IDC analysts.

The Finnish giant has also been quick to adjust its retail, customer strategies, and hardware bugs although fewer of Nokia’s Symbian devices will be sold in 2012.

“Nokia’s broad distribution around the world and manufacturing capabilities make it a serious contender to maintain its leadership position.”

Overall, the mobile phone market, which includes basic phones started out in the ninties, and the new breed of smartphones around since 2007, grew 6.1% in Q4 compared to same time 2010, according to IDC.

A total of 427.4 m phones were shipped in the final quarter last year. But the feature phone market declined faster than anticipated due to lack of demand for feature phones and dragged down growth to its lowest level two years.

Read iOS Rule: Nokia, Droid Drool – Apple King AGAIN Here

“The mobile phone market exhibited unusually low growth last quarter, which shows it is not immune to weaker macroeconomic conditions worldwide,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst IDC.

“The introduction of high-growth products such as the iPhone 4S, which shipped in the fourth quarter, bolstered smartphone growth. Yet overall market growth fell to its lowest point since 3Q09 when the global economic recession was in full bloom.”

But all is not lost for the basic mobile, says IDC’s mobile trend guru, Ramon Llamas, and while smartphones continue to grow in popularity, feature phones still comprise the majority of all mobile phone shipments.

“However, even though their proportion is eroding, feature phones maintain their appeal on the basis of price and ease of use,” he notes. “At the same time, feature phones are fighting to maintain their market share,” added Llamas.

 

To meet the challenge posed from iOS and  Android, feature phones are becoming more like smartphones, incorporating mobile Internet and third-party applications, which should slow down the rate at which smartphones are taking over.

Former No.3 phone brand LG has a poor Q4, with total volumes declined for the third consecutive quarter, sinking to levels not seen since the second quarter of 2007, due to waning interest in its aging feature phones and stalled smartphone volumes, say analysts.

Chinese vendor ZTE is also one to watch, coming neck-and-neck with LG for fourth place, with Blade and mid-range Skate Android smartphones, and its first Windows powered smartphone, the Tania.

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