The tech media has pitted the GS3 against the iPhone 5 all year. But considering its modest sales compared to the iPhone, why are we still having these GS3 vs. iPhone conversations?
I was recently talking to one of my contacts in the consumer electronics accessories market, and it was interesting to hear why so few custom cases and accessories exist for even the better-selling Android and Windows smartphones: “they just don’t sell well 0— why would we build cases for them? We know the iPhone sells.” That makes a lot of sense.
Recently, however, the tech media has really pushed the notion of Samsung’s Galaxy S 3 taking on the eventual iPhone 5 in a head-to-head match-up that could begin to change the smartphone paradigm. For as much as this theory might seem little more than an easy storyline to maintain, case designers have actually bought into it — you’re seeing more and more accessories for the GS3, particularly cases.
But for all the fanfare and buzz about the GS3, what kind of sales has it seen so far this year? 10 million.
This according to a recent Reuters article which, thanks to its mainstream appeal, has helped to carry the torch that the GS3 could indeed be an iPhone killer: “Samsung Electronics Co expects sales of its new Galaxy S III, launched at the end of last month as a main rival to Apple’s iPhone, to top 10 million during July, making it the South Korean group’s fastest selling smartphone.” Now, 10 million units sold to date is nothing to shake a stick at when it comes to abstract sales. But when you consider that the iPhone 4S sold more than four times that number in its first weekend of sales**, and that its total sales after a year will dwarf the GS3′s sales, it begs the question: why are we still having this conversation?
“Perhaps part of the reason why there is a persistent desire to match the iPhone 5 up against other single Android devices is the fact that analysts still see single Android challenges as market changers for the iPhone. Both Apple and Samsung, for example, posted similarly disappointing sales expectations in late June, caused ostensibly by the continued economic woes. However, analyst spin continues to favor this GS3/iPhone 5 match-up. According to eWeek:
The iPhone 4S “is a little bit long in the tooth, when compared to other phones with better specs. To put it plainly, consumers are getting a little bit tired of the look of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S,” Beijing-based IDC analyst TZ Wong told Reuters.
Wong and other also pointed to devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S III, saying consumers want devices with (very) large displays and cutting-edge features.”
Has the GS3′s 10 million in sales put a dent in potential iPhone 5 sales down the line? Perhaps to an extent. But you’ll also recall that last year, the same was said about the preemptive GS2, and yet the iPhone 4S went on to be the biggest iPhone success to date in terms of sales.
But it isn’t just the Samsung Galaxy series of mobile gear that gets erroneously stacked up against Apple products.
An article today from Pop Herald takes a similar tack with Google’s upcoming, new Nexus: “Who wants a Nexus 7-like smartphone? I Do, and it looks like it has a chance against the iPhone 5 based on the tablet’s early success.” The crux of this article is that a cheaper Nexus smartphone will blast the iPhone 5 through a lower price point. What, like how the Kindle Fire has done to the iPad?
But this is the model: Android x will crush iPhone y because it is z. And z can equal any number of things: bigger screen, better camera, or lower price. But all of these equations, the fact remains that none of the competing Android devices, no matter how much tech enthusiasts seem to think that they outpace the iPhone in price or spec, Google’s model is still to compete with the iPhone by empowering lots of Android smartphones; not to compete one-on-one with Apple.
By Michael Nace
**Retraction: Sorry, folks. I meant to indicate the fourfold number for the quarter. I was originally working out that sentence to compare the first weekend of the iPhone 4S’s sales to that of the GS3, but changed to the other figure. I apologize for the flub.