Well written, insightful, and informative! I've been very curious as to the success level of the Galaxy S line (especially compared to competitors like Apple.)
The most dramatic aspect of the smartphone market in the second half of 2010 has been the reinvention of Samsung. Samsung's Galaxy S has shipped 7 million units and has set targets of 20 million for this year – plus one million tablets. Always a powerhouse in mass market handsets and feature-packed media phones, the Korean giant …
Well written, insightful, and informative! I've been very curious as to the success level of the Galaxy S line (especially compared to competitors like Apple.)
I am wondering what has happened to the Galaxy S Pro, the one with keyboard, which was first "discovered" back in May or even earlier?
I am qt interested in the HTC Desire Z but the GSPro might be better?
...for one of my directors; the Z hinge has attracted a lot of criticism due to it not being heavily spring-loaded, so if you hold one half the other can swing out and down slightly. In practice, however, how often do you pick a phone up by one half? My own plans to snaffle the device in question have been somewhat scuppered by the fact that my non-techie director has grown nto like the beastie. A lot. If that sounds like a real concern, though, the Moto Milestone 2 is due into suppliers this month, and looks VERY nice. Good reviews, too. Samsung have been talking about the Galaxy Pro rather coyly for ages, but then they've been doing the same about the Galaxy Beam (the one with the projector built in) and we haven't seen that yet, either.
If a great number of competitors is coming out with a specific model, different from your own, then it makes perfect sense to slag off that model. Imagine a world where diesel would reign supreme, how do you think the company selling diesel woudl react to a late petrol entry?
I just bought an iPad. We do not allow cheap Korean plastic in my house.
I guess it's lucky for you that butplugs are made in Taiwan then, eh?
Never mind that the iPad is probably cheaper to produce than the GTab...
Cheap Chinese plastic is ever so much better.
Bummer about the iPad.
I presume you didn't bother reading this in the article:
The Tab has a bill of materials far closer to that of a phone than an advanced consumer media product. According to teardowns by iSuppli, its BOM is $205.22, far less than the $264.27 figure for the 3G, 16Gb iPad.
So the Tab is cheaper to produce than the iPad, yet retails for the same price..
Comparing the retail costs is a bit misleading since Apple will be expecting to make money from apps/media and should be able to afford a tighter profit margin on the device.
Also the BOM that iSuppli provides doesn't, of course, take into account other manufacturing costs. It's easily conceivable that a smaller (yet similarly capable), or better built device would have a higher manufacturing cost.
we are admitting now that the Ipad is a big assed ipod touch are we ?
In terms of the hardware, yes, and iPad contains practically the same ingredients as a touch or iPhone, but scaled up (bigger battery, bigger screen). I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
In actual use, the iPad feels a world apart from the Touch or iPhone. If you haven't tried, pop into an Apple Store and try both devices.
From a software perspective - which matters a great deal more than the hardware components - the iPad has required a great deal of extra development from both Apple and 3rd parties. Yes, you can run iPhone/Touch apps directly, but it's not a great experience. Again, try it and you'll see what I mean. It's more than the fact that the applications simply expand into a bigger space, it's the fact that expanding alone seems silly and/or wasteful. You need to use the space in a different way, and this is why many apps are redesigned for the iPad, and some apps - like the iWork series - make no sense on the Touch or iPhone.
This is partly why I believe there is no market between an iPad form-factor and a phone/iPod. 7" is bigger than a phone, but not enough to feel significantly different. And it isn't nearly so easy to carry, i.e. I felt the iPhone was borderline on being too large. I can see practical applications for an iPad (or clipboard) sized device, and for a phone-sized device... but something in between? There's likely to be some who want that, but I don't like the odds of carving out a whole new market in that space.
I entirely agree with Ralph 5, but just wanted to add some comments of my own:
Let's face it - competition is GOOD, and the more competition there is for Apple in this space the better for all of us. Having said that, even the journalists amongst us (who love to imagine that anything successful is bound to be overtaken soon) should be prepared to admit that Apple's i devices are pretty decent in all respects.
I bought a current model Android phone a couple of weeks ago to make sure that I knew what Android was all about, and I have to say that the whole experience is pretty weak in comparison with an iPhone. It is clunky and inelegant in comparison, and just not very nice to use. It also seems much less stable than my iPhone.
Now I'm not saying that the iPhone is perfect - of course it isn't - but any truly objective observer must admit that it's way closer to a professionally executed product than Android is at present.
If we move on to the iPad, again you have to admit that it is a great achievement for a first version of a product. It works very reliably and elegantly, and furthermore it is clear that no competitor has been able to get close to it on price and quality. This may change in time, but even more importantly Apple has a big lead in terms of being prime mover, and of course they won't stand still. So for any products hitting the market right now to just equal where the iPad is now is obviously not going to be enough to steal any significant market share.
This is the reality of the marketplace, not the addled dreams of journalists wanting Apple to fail. As I said at the beginning of this comment, competition is GOOD, and it is great that some proper competition for Apple in this space may be starting to emerge. But entering the market is not the same as dominating it, and my bet is that Apple will still be dominating this market for some time to come.
im already licking the tip of my peashooter.
If Samsung don't start to update there other handsets Samsung ain't gonna reach targets.
I bought a Samsung i 5700 because it was the best of the handset makers to update.
But no comunication and info at all about update to Froyo makes me pissed of.
My next handset will be a Huawei that runs plain vanilla or a Nexus
Samsung makes pretty nice gear. Not always o Cupertino's aesthetic and structural standards, but close enough to stand above many others. That said, Samsung has a VERY BAD habit of dropping support for an "older" device after as little as 90 DAYS! Give me GUARANTEED updates to the latest release of Android (including any "compatible components, possibly having to leave some hot new features out if the hardware can't handle it) for AT LEAST 2 YEARS, and I might consider the switch to android.
I see the potential that Android is a more flexible, and possibly more powerful, platform that will eventually pass Apple (maybe to be passed again later, but that's the cycle of life), but I simply cannot commit to a platform that might be obsolete and left adrift with no updates (including some security patches that might be critical, like one needed badly right now).
The issue really is that there are too many players between the OS and me on anything other than iOS. Google makes the OS, Mfr customizes it making it mostly proprietary, carrier adds crap I don;t want and disables features i do in favor of better billing models and lock-in, and finally, 6 months after Google has an update I'm left to WONDER if I'll ever see it? No thanks.
I'm not a fan of Apple's ways, and not a fan of jobs himself, but i have to say, they make good shit and the competition seems unable to match it, even on release day. The support package that comes with it is well worth using a device in a walled garden (not that I didn't jailbreak it anyway).
I am appalled to see the success Samsung have had with the Galaxy S. I own one and could not recommend it to anyone. Their android implementation is full of crippling bugs that Samsung fail to acknowledge or apologize for. The phones are also mostly still waiting for froyo.
Steer well clear.
What bugs have you found on the Galaxy S? Mine has behaved impeccably since I bought it in the summer, and is just perfect in all possible respects.
It got the Froyo update about a week ago, too, the first time I'd plugged it into my PC for some time.
GPS doesn't work (this is very very widespread).
The RFS filesystem frequently brings the phone to its knees (requires a lag fix from XDA)
Wifi implementation is shot (random disconnects and likes to turn itself on for no reason).
Bluetooth and radio stacks are flakey at best
Samsung have done something to the exchange support that causes some pretty nasty issues.
Everything above isn't just my handset, I've read many threads about all of the above problems.
I suppose it depends on what you expect from the phone. Two of my non-geek friends have bought these after seeing mine (I actually recommended alternative phones), and have reported being very pleased with everything except for the battery (which is no worse than other large screen phones.)
I, however, know that when considering the hardware the phone underperforms. I also know that the version of Android that it ships with is outdated. But those aren't really issues to me since I know how to fix them (except for the GPS, but it's not as bad for me as others have reported.)
The phones may be waiting for Froyo, but the users aren't. Those who know why Froyo is important, and want it badly enough should know how to install it on their phone.
That said, I do still wish that I'd been able to buy a Nexus instead.
Apple moved away from Samsung and into the lap of Sony another company firmly in google android's camp
...are you on about, man?
...and Samsung want you to replace the rather expensive toyslate you just bought in order to patch a vulnerability in the old Android? You know, rather than just.. letting people use the more modern version?
Until they can get that right, they're no better than any other two-bit Chinese manufacturer. A damned sight more pricey, too.
But if they don't clean up their firmware upgrade fiasco they may as well give up now. Or to be more precise, release the new firmware in line with or before the competition.
This is not an important aspect for most phones. Blackberry, ordinary handsets (non-smartphones), and deven Symbian the version of firmware is not important really. But with Android it's crucial since the main point of the platform is apps (which are often version dependent), and major bugs - like the autosync bug in 2.1 - are fixed in further releases. HTC came out with a fix for some of the more irritating bugs, but Samsung couldn't be bothered.. and still has not upgraded to 2.2 which does fix or mute a lot of the showstopper bugs.
Further, when calling the support line not only do they act dumb when you talk about the platform; but they insist that known bugs don't exist or are unreported - even when you give them case numbers from others who have the same issues.
In short? Samsung's HARDWARE is superb. Really top-notch; and very resilient to damage (even dropping on the corners). But their firmware support sucks harder than electrolux has ever sucked in it's lifetime.
They make nice screens I suppose.
BUT their build quality lags so far behind other manufacturers as to not be very amusing. HTC, Apple, Nokia all provide a substantially better made handset (even if in certain cases that's only because no access to any of the inner workings is provided - I think we all know who I'm talking about!)
Seriously, I thought about a Galaxy S - but having picked one up I put it straight back down again. And that's before you start asking why they didn't even make a token effort with a flash for the camera (yes yes, mobile photography on phones - poor lenses, crap sensors etc. - sometimes it's handy to take a quick snap is all)
And the firmware point is spot on. Woe betide ANYONE that bought the original Galaxy i7500. I had one. I got rid after about 5 months. Poorly made, barely functioned. Even the hardware wasn't too tough due to the massive amount of additional RAM the thing was crying out for, and the battery life was shocking!
Samsung's response? Pull the thing from sale, stop supporting any of the ones still available, don't make a recall available to anyone still stuck with one, and pretend it never happened *fingers in ears* la la la la lalalala LA LA LALALA...
Based on these two experiences, I wouldn't buy another Samsung product. And yes, I am talking about more than just their phones.
A single product company can adapt quicklier than a company which operates a product matrix. Apple showed that once and for all (not that other companies before it did not do it either - think Fairchild Aviation and Lockheed and A10 vs A9).
If you operate a product matrix you can initially churn incremental "variations on a theme" with lightning speed and claim big differences through marketing. However, changing to adapt to major market changes will takes much more time and effort because an matrix-ed component cannot be changed without affecting multiple product lines. The same is valid for fixing major screwups.
As an end-result a single product per niche company can actually adapt to market changes and fix major problems way faster than a matrix portfolio managed multiple products per niche company. Apple vs Nokia is a prime example here.
So Samsung is actually disadvantaged vs Apple as it operates a huge product matrix (same as Nokia). As a result adapting the components that go into a single "compete with Apple" device as Apple evolves will take it much more effort (and cost much more) than it will cost to Apple.
Another key point when entering a market is being able to maintain marketing momentum. Apple are the masters at this - they have a limited range of products which enables them to get maximum awareness for minimum bucks.
Additionally, and this is something that the techy types totally fail to get, by limiting the available choice of products they make the buying decision much easier for the vast vast majority of customers. On the Apple side the decision is simple - you buy an iPhone, and it's a perfectly good (and highly competitive) product.
On the Android side, however, it's so much more complicated, and most customers are just not equipped to decide between different products. Should I get a Galaxy S or a Desire. Or a Hero or an Xperia? Or any one of 100 different models (according to the Phandroid site). That's too much choice for most people - buying an iPhone is easy and what's more, most people who have them think they're great and tell everyone else that's what they think.
Added to this is the fact that when Apple upgrade the OS they bring the last generation or two along with them. But with Android you're often stuck with whatever version of the OS the phone shipped with, or at best a grudging upgrade comes out six or more months later than it first hits the market. This is because the phone manufacturers are really just interested in selling more phones, and a new version of Android helps them in this. They have no real interest in Android itself and keeping customers loyal. That's down to Google, but they are not the suppliers of the phone.
Android is good competition for Apple and may hit some good sales numbers overall because of the vast number of products flooding the market. But the chances of any one handset being a financial success for its manufacturer is realistically very slim and getting slimmer all the time. It is a pretty broken model when all's said and done...
"But both OEMs have powerful control over their processor evolution and its optimisation for their software platforms.
Both are also heavily focused on a differentiated touchscreen display."
But one moreso than the other, since Samsung actually designs and makes them and Apple buys them on the open market. Although, given the number of ARM processors and touchsreens on the market I don't know if it makes a huge difference.
Anyway, good article. I was afraid it'd be some fanboi fluffpiece (although I wasn't sure if it'd be one for Apple or Android -- I was guessing Apple) but it wasn't, it was well written and informative about both.
Sure Apple designed the A4 processor, but Samsung DID create the 1 GHz ARM CORTEX A8 - which powers the A4 processor...
So technically Samsung powers the iPhone too...
Apple is SO big of a buyer, of almost exclusively top shelf components, that they can essentially CHANGE the design of any product they want such that it suits them, whether they make it themselves or not. Intel custom designs chips for Apple's needs and always gives them first runs on new chips. IBM didn't do this, and Apple dropped them as soon as it was able (and planned that 4 years earlier as a contingency, right from day 1 designing OS X on Power, x86, and AMD concurrently). They got the retina display not only designed for them, no one else knew about it until they had millions of them and an exclusive distribution contract covering 3-6 months? They get not only top bin pricing from suppliers, they get first dibs. Suppliers make quantities Apple asks for of parts Apple want, and then make everyone else's stuff. They know Apple's marketing machine will actually deliver on sales metrics (if not strain capacity) and they'll not be left holding top shelf chips no one else wants...
Apple may not make the parts, but they might as well. This way, they're flexible, and are not stuck will million in manufacturing line equipment that can't be used on their next gen product. Sony will make retina displays for years after Apple stops using them, and apple will have a better technology in use, maybe from Sony if they play nice, or from their competition if they can't deliver, and either way Sony got a cutting edge system made excessively popular with no marketing muscle of their own needed. Win Win.
Who can resist it? And you're ignorant, the CORTEX A8 architecture was developed by ARM Holdings Ltd of Cambridge, UK
It's almost an infomercial for Samsung.
Samsung may have good parts control, but they seem to have missed the point with tab pricing.
"According to teardowns by iSuppli, its BOM is $205.22, far less than the $264.27 figure for the 3G, 16Gb iPad"
And the tab is at £500, with the iPad at £429.
Flash? Apparently it slows the browser right down on the tab.
Good to see a competitor here, but it's early to say samsung have got the right ideas. Good article!
Don't have experience of the browser on the Samsung devices, but on my HTC Desire Z, Flash can easily be set to run on demand - i.e. any Flash content in the page just displays a blank white space with a little green arrow button until you tap it, then it'll load the content. Doesn't slow things down at all.
But yeah, the Galaxy Tab is ridiculously overpriced. £300 would be more like it.
Not a total apple fanboi but I just have to point out that it may not be "arrogance" for Apple to have done research on user size preferences and picked the one that seemed to work best.
Similarly it may not be profitable to just shotgun the market with every possible screen size and hope that the extra sales makes up for the added support and developer load, and the market fragmentation. Sometimes you do better by offering fewer models, especially when each one requires separate development and support, and often a different market target.
Variety on a theme is hard to plan capacity for. Which one will be more popular than another? how to manage supply? The color of a case is not a big deal. The size of the chips on-board, that can be managed with minute supply line changes. One screen size vs another and a slight misjudge in consumer demand could lead to sellouts of one and tens thousands of another unsold. When products are dramatically different, and have a large price difference, user choice is easily binned and planned for.
Apple has only a few major products, and it works VERY well for them. Profit margins are massive. Dell outsells Apple 4 to 1, but Apple has more total annual revenue and significantly more profit on the same revenue. When they release a new model, its easy for them to spin down one line and bring up another one, managing the supply chain with expert precision. This factors heavily into how they can price the device.
Keep in mind, the iPad's $599 price tag is "an experiment" and Apple admitted to having great flexibility in that price. Sooner or later the competition will come out with something better (though at this rate, not before iPad Gen 2). When they do, Apple can drop $200 or more and still be profitable, but the competition simply can not go that low, having spent too much in R&D, licensing, manufacturing, and logistics. Apple's simplicity may not please everyone, far from it, but in consumer devices it means they can offer more for less most of the time, and enjoy premium profits when the competition can barely break even.
I rated my Samsung Omnia pretty highly, had the choice of the first iPhone and the Omnia and went with the Omnia and was not disapointed. Not sure why that model has not been regonised in this article.
Where are Nokia sourcing their AMOLED screens for the N8, C6, C7, E7 devices? It's not unreasonable to assumed they'll be shipping more combined than Samsung. Who else is producing AMOLED displays, I thought Sony had jacked it in.
One does wonder if Nokia (along with Apple, and RIM) may eventually be at a disadvantage to the likes of SonyEricsson and Samsung for not manufacturing (or having subsidiaries that manufacture) the critical components required for modern cutting edge mobile devices. Eventually the device manufacturers (Nokia, RIM, Apple) will be in competition with their component suppliers (Sony, Samsung).
Even outfits such as Qualcomm may be able to exert leverage on a device manufacturer if the device manufacturer wants to use their Qualcomm Mirasol display - the manufacturer may be forced to take the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU and/or baseband products as well, squeezing out the likes of TI, Freescale etc.
I had two different Captivates. The first one had GPS issues even after the patch came down that was supposed to fix GPS issues. The second one the GPS worked but not near as well as my wife's Iphone but it crashed every few minutes. I like the Android's operating system but with no good Android offerings other than the Captivate on ATT's network I ended up with an Iphone.
I would much rather have had an Android phone since Iphones are heavy and fragile. I am going to try and get away from ATT as soon as I can but I will be an Iphone user until I switch.
Selling around 50000 TVs each day Samsung are unlikely to be crushed by Apple or anyone else. In fact it's them that have squarely put Sony on the hung-out-to-dry line & made them into a high-priced luxury supplier. Samsung is a giant killer & now as a giant that crosses many alternatives within the electronics market playing field it may be that Apple will meet its match.
That this is not an American giant makes it immediately a positive for many non-Americans & with a few billion Asian users with cheaper shipping costs & it being an Asian marketeer, may make Apple's journey especially into the Asean market, fairly short. Lack of trust of American products for one with an Asian competitive product - well, what would you do if you were Asian & proud?
I can't see Apple undercutting Samsung any time soon but the value-added options provided by Samsung in cheaper alternatives, that aren't confined to the next non-upgradeable package that is Apple iPhone or iPad, would decree that Apple has some serious worries ahead.
When they say the tab is a larger version of the galaxy s. I'm experiencing the same kind of lag issues. Great hardware totally crippled by their software implementation. And after six months still not fixed unless you are into the hacking community with custom roms or like to put your apps data space in a tiny 130mb partition.
The tab is just too small to be taken as serious competition, you can even read a full page of a4 on it without zooming constantly. Same for webpages. And if you like novels, well the kindle is perfect for that.
Not likely until they
-fix the file system to remove the lag
-get rid of the appalling KIES software
The Galaxy S hardware is great, but until you root and apply one of the lagfixes it is practically unusable.
As long as the Open Handset Aliance and Google keep up their efforts with Android, the iPhone fad will come to pass. I'd like to see HTC get in the game with a tablet of their own.
A coalition that depends on a single source for code, but localized modification and fragmentation of that code, carrier influences and further modification, a scattered and fragmented product line the competes with itself, and an abysmal security and patching regiment (not to mention no guarantee what so ever support for you handset won;t be dropped after as little as 6 months cutting you off from anything new). The PLATFORM is great, but the user disatisfaction and disenfrachisement is extreme. Cople this with people practically being forced into buying handsets they have no reason to have, can't figure out how to use, and don't begin to understand how to secure by pushy sales people, all of that and with Apple having $200 in headroom on their platform to drop the price and still profit?
Android is a great platform for admins, tweakers, geeks, and the technically inclined, but until Google gets control of the carriers and manufacturers and gets this party train on the tracks, its a failure headed foer the record books ()and that's if the courts don't rip it's Java heart out first and end this show even faster).
iOS is an extremely flexible platform. The UI may not have changed much over 3 years, but it;s core is still very much OS X, and very powerful. A9 chips forthcoming in lower TDP packages, and retina 10" displays, and throw in the camera 90% of people want but only 20% of people will use, and keep the price the same, and the iPad 2 will be unbeatable for another year. Android apps are simply not designed for larger screens. There are no programming hooks to take advantage of. They can play the hardware game all they like, but unless Android 3 is a major overhaul (breaking backward compatibility and pissing off even more users, but it HAS to be done), then android won't ever succeed on tablets.
Android is a users nightmare (slow to patch, complex, more powerful than required for daily use), a devs nightmare (fragmentation, slow code releases, no long and extreme term forthought on design), a manufacturer's nightmare (pissed off users and lots of competition), and a carrier's nightmare (lock-in issues, no hard controls, heavier network use than iPhones). WP7 will be their golden child and Android is gonna get a back seat. Verizon iPhones will take 30-50% of Androinds market within a year as well. Manufacturer profits will drop and handset options will have to become fewer to compete on price, not to mention fragmentation of their own internal dev teams and testing teams supporting 2 or 3 OS platforms??? it can not win, it has no end game.
Google on it;s won, making devices and software, sold direct as well as through carriers, that had a chance. What we have today, does not.
"...and for now exclusive to Galaxy and Wave..."
Not true. Also features in Samsung Focus and Samsung Omnia 7.
Yup, pretty sure my Omnia 2 has AMOLED too.
Also the GP2X Wiz.
Think they're probably talking about the S-AMOLED screen on the Wave and the Galaxy S.
Although, that's still not right, as the S-AMOLED screens have made it onto the WinPhone7 handsets too.
Apple has a control over the direction of its software platform and user experience, which cannot quite be matched by a vendor relying on an open OS.....
WHAT A LOAD OF TRIPE! Complete Muppet!
If it's so good, then why is iphone being outsold by droid handsets?
I stopped reading beyond that. If the correspondent is so bias towards apple, I'm not going to get the truth.
There is no one Android phone, unlike the iPhone. How many different manufacturers of Android handsets are there? How many models of Android handsets are there? Are Apple outselling HTC's Android products? Yes. Are they outselling Samsung's Android products? Yes. Is the iOS more profitable than Android? Yes. Think with your brain before making silly rants next time.
Fanboi can't handle the truth.
Sorry the article is balanced and doesn't support your delusions.