A Reuters’ poll of 41 analysts suggests that Samsung will be the world largest cellphone and smartphone vendor for the second quarter of 2012. The growth of Samsung underscores the stakes of the international legal battles, in which Apple and Samsung are engaged.
Second quarters sales of Samsung smartphones are expected to be around 50 million units, nearly 60% more units than Apples forecasted sales of 30.5 million iPhones.
“Samsung is expected to be the smartphone hero in the second quarter,” said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo in an interview with Reuters.
“We are also expecting to see the biggest smartphone volumes ever shipped from one single vendor in one quarter, driven by strong demand of the Galaxy portfolio, particularly the Galaxy S II and S III,” he said.
Samsung has an advantage over Apple in that it offers a wider range of phones and with more frequent releases. Samsung’s newest phone, the Galaxy S III, was released in May to a slew of good reviews.
Apple’s only sells the iPhone, with each generation of the smartphone being an almost identical-looking version of the previous iPhone, though with new features and technology enhancements. The regular production schedule of the iPhone results in lagging sales around this part of the cycle as loyal iPhone buyers wait to buy the new iPhone they know will be released soon.
Apple’s next iPhone, the iPhone 5 is expected to be released later this year, though no official release date has been given. Even so, the iPhone 5 is still expected to be game changer when it is released. Rumors have already spread about a new slimmer body, a taller display, and new technology on the inside. Even without a release date, preorders of the iPhone 5 are extremely strong in China, where consumers are paying the full price of the phone to reserve it.
However, since Apple can only challenge its South Korean rival with a new phone once a year, Apple has used legal techniques to try to take some wind out of Samsung’s sail. Apple and Samsung have been suing each other across the globe with each winning and losing key battles in different places.
Apple recently won a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone that banned these items from being sold in the U.S. pending the outcome of a copyright infringement lawsuit. In order to win the injunction, Apple had to pay a large bond to cover the potential losses to Samsung if the suit fails. Apple also tried to have the Galaxy S III banned as well, but the judge in the case has resisted that ban for now.
In Europe, a German judge has sided with Apple and has imposed bans on some Samsung products. Meanwhile, a UK judge dismissed a similar suit by Apple on the grounds that Samsung’s tablet was too ‘uncool’ to be mistaken for an iPad Samsung has also sued Apple. In June, the company won a case in the EU claiming Apple infringed on some of its wireless data patents.
Each of these lawsuits means millions of dollars for the winners and the chance to give their own products a competitive edge. And with the future of the smartphone industry in the balance, you can be sure that Apple and Samsung will do whatever it takes to come out ahead. Google, who makes the Android software that Samsung uses, intends to join the legal fray soon. A report in the Korea Times quoted an insider who suggested that Samsung and Google would team up to get more royalties from Apple.
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