According to a London-based analyst with research firm Strategy Analytics, which itself is based in Boston, MA, Samsung may have sold more smartphones than both Nokia and Apple globally in Q2. The analyst, Neil Mawston, claimed in an e-mail response that Samsung sold an estimated 18 to 21 million smartphones this past quarter due to Samsung’s strong worldwide market presence and demand for Android-based devices.
Sales data in a Bloomberg story outlining Mawston’s response suggests Nokia sold roughly 16.7 million units in the same time frame, to Apple’s 20.3 million. Using those numbers, if Mawston’s low-end estimate is correct, Samsung easily surpassed Nokia, which has been struggling in the high-end smartphone space as of late. Apple, however, may still hold a lead should Samsung’s actual smartphone sales figures miss the upper estimate by a few percentage points. We should point out, however, that none of these estimates account for tablet sales, which remain very strong for Apple—not so much so for Android-based devices.
The last year has seen Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS clearly distance themselves from all other smartphone operating systems, at least in mindshare, if not market share. Microsoft is still trying to claw its way out of the trenches with its Windows Phone OS, which is due for a major update in the next few months. But with Google’s and Apple’s momentum, it is clearly going to be an uphill battle for Microsoft. What comes of the recent synergy between Nokia and Microsoft remains to be seen.
Samsung's Galaxy S II
RIM, makers of once dominant Blackberry devices, has also been struggling, with the company recently laying off thousands of employees. It’s important to remember, however, that the smartphone market has been advancing very rapidly in recent years. Today’s killer products are tomorrow’s outdated relics and it’s not only a company that can deliver today that will come out on top, but one that is agile enough to quickly adapt to changing market conditions. Something RIM knows all too much about.
Taking a step back and looking at the situation from a tech-enthusiasts perspective, we can see why Samsung has done so well. The company has consistently delivered innovative devices, with sleek, appealing form factors, and the necessary performance to deliver a solid user experience. Couple Samsung’s design prowess with the massive resources Google is putting behind Android and it’s easy to see how Samsung has done so well.
There continues to be much activity in the space and Apple does have an iPhone 5 looming. Much of the information regarding the iPhone is rumor and speculation at this point, but even if it is only a marginal upgrade from the current iPhone, Apple will no doubt sell millions of them. Whether or not Samsung's recent success will be shortlived won't be known for some time, but it is obviously a company with the ability to take on Apple and others if recent performance is any indicator.