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Samsung: It doesn’t take a genius

I think Apple is going to clean up this quarter. What happens after that is another story. But the reality is the iPhone 5 isn’t a killer on the specs. It will drive upgrades, yes. But many other phones now have better specs.

Samsung is onto this. Take a look at their cheeky ad comparing their top of the line mobile to the iPhone 5. There’s no comparison, really.

But, it’s not about specs, now is it?

Source: Phandroid

About 

Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.

27 Comments

  1. Dave Holden says:

    As a proud new owner of a S III the spec stuff is all very nice but the thing that really makes me feel smug – is when the battery goes flat and I just whip out another one :)

    • Agree 100%. I have a Nexus S that I just upgraded to Jelly Bean and I have been sucking the life out of that thing. I actually have 3 extra batteries, so I know I could use it for days without a re-charge. Very handy.

      By the way, I am thinking about getting an unlocked Galaxy Nexus. The price is right if you don’t want to get into another contract.

      • Dave Holden says:

        Sounds good. One thing that baffled me about HTC’s strategy with their X was they threw away the two key features that Apple don’t provide – replaceable battery and external SD card. Shame really because I liked their Sense interface.

        Re contracts that’s what I did with the S III bought it unlocked from Amazon, got myself a rolling 30 day SIM from T-Mobile. Overall it works out about the same as a contract but I’m not committed to either the phone or the network for 2 years. That’s a big win for me.

    • @jporter says:

      Apple’s built-in battery approach has always baffled me. It was one of the key reasons I moved from a 3GS to an Android phone. Being able to switch out batteries during the day allows me to actually use all the phone’s features, something I could never do with my iPhone without running out of juice by mid day. Some of my colleagues now use battery cases with their iPhones to get through the day. Considering one of the iPhone’s key selling points is it’s sleek, elegant design, having to stick it into a clunky battery case seems kind of silly.

      • Hi Jeff,

        I hate the battery thing too. But, you know, Apple is the same company DNA-wise that created the Mac. The approach is the same. There’s a certain “be different” approach that is combined with Steve Jobs’ arrogance of ‘it’s my way or the highway’.

        Look at the iPhone 5 plug adapter thing everyone has been talking about – this lightning connector that Apple now uses instead of a standard MicroUSB cable. There’s no real reason to do it this way. They just decide that they want to do it this way for a bunch of proprietary reasons and you have to go along with it.

        They did the same thing with the iPod when it was released. At first, it was only a Mac-enabled product. Then, they only used firewire. But eventually they went for Windows and USB. And look what happened.

        I recently switched back to a Mac and am enjoying the experience but there are those proprietary things that tweak me like the proprietary drive format and this new Thunderbolt cable that Apple uses – totally useless outside of Apple’s world just like Firewire was.

        Bottom line: Apple likes to be different and do it their way, building a tightly integrated ecosystem. That’s great for a niche premium priced product or a monopolist. But it doesn’t work in a competitive marketplace for mainstream, high volume products.

        Apple executes incredibly well. This will stave off the day of reckoning. But if they keep doing things in their same proprietary way, customers will leave.

  2. David_Lazarus says:

    Apple are targeting consumers willing to pay to have a great overall experience. The majority of the entire industries profits are made by Apple. So the only thing that the Android clones can do to differentiate themselves is to go as high tech as possible. That eats into margins. So Apple while not being number one in terms of sales still make up more than 60-70% of all the profits of the industry. So even if the specs might say Samsung the customers will still say iPhone.

    • loveMyS3 says:

      — Android (Google Inc.) — 104.8 million units, 68.1 percent share (46.9 percent a year earlier)— iOS (Apple Inc.’s iPhone) — 26.0 million units, 16.9 percent share (18.8 percent a year earlier)

      • David_Lazarus says:

        Yes but market share is worthless without profits. While they may sell tens of millions more phones the majority of the industry is losing money. Smart phones unless you are Apple are a low margin business.

        • That’s not true. Samsung makes a lot of money. But the point here is forward looking. if the platform loses network effects as iOS is doing then profitability will decline. Apple has already missed twice.

          • David_Lazarus says:

            Samsung and HTC are the ONLY Android manufacturers to actually make money. Also Samsung is a conglomerate with interests in many sectors so yes it makes lots of money but not necessarily from phones. The demise of Apple or Android will not be quick, the retention rate of the iPhone is very high. So it will need a few more screw ups to sink. Plus it is expected that the iPhone 5 will sell in excess of 10 million units during the launch window. Hardly a failure, even with the Maps issue.

          • This is one area where you don’t know what you’re talking about. Samsung makes a lot of money from phones. HTC is now losing money.

          • David_Lazarus says:

            I was right about Samsung and HTC, I simply did not break it down on a month by month basis. Which as you say HTC cycles between profit and loss.

            Apple might only get 6% of smartphone sales but gets 77% of worldwide smartphone profits. Samsung can also benefit as they sell components to Apple so does that contribute to their 2.6 trillion Won telecoms profits? If it makes a significant amount then that could be at risk as Apple diversifies that production away from Samsung. Samsung make profits but their margins are considerably lower than Apple. Samsung’s profits do seem to come mainly from phones, 2.6 trillion Won out of a total of 5.2 trillion Won total group profits. Its flat screen TV business does not add a lot of profit even from the trillions of Won in revenue it brings in. The rest of the conglomerate bring in the remaining profits.

          • Here’s an example of where Samsung makes money mostly from mobiles:

            http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/26/us-samsung-earnings-q-idUSBRE86P1VJ20120726

            And this was the situation for the last two years:
            http://mobilesyrup.com/2012/05/04/samsung-and-apple-earned-99-of-all-smartphone-profits-last-quarter/

            “The market in 2010 was dominated by Apple, Samsung, Nokia, RIM and HTC. Today, the last three companies are either losing money, or in the case of HTC, have managed to lose a fair amount of market advantage. While HTC earns the remaining 1% of the profits, Nokia and RIM are losing money at an advanced rate.”

            And HTC has become uneven, even losing money in some quarters:HTC Loss Caused by The iPhone 4S Launch

            http://www.myprgenie.com/view-publication/htc-loss-caused-by-the-iphone-4s-launch

  3. K11 says:

    Actually, Samsung’s snarky and jealous ad further proves that they’re obsessed with Apple, and can’t keep Apple’s name out of their mouths. It’s yet another in a long line of advertisements by Sam(e)sung that prove that they themselves don’t see themselves as truly competitive to the consumer to Apple…. i.e they resort to using Apple or its fans constantly, in a classless berating fashion.

    Apple comes off as even more of a classy “halo” brand when Samsung does this. Samsung looks desperate and childish. The ads that people have made AGAINST Samsung in light of these, are going more viral than Samsung’s ads themselves.

    Finally, the fact that they leave out a TON of iPhone specs, and put something as insanely immature of “totally different plug” when that plug DOES serve a purpose, is just lower than low. Many of the features under the GSIII aren’t even worthy of being there, and iPhone 5 has more than enough to actually provide a LONGER list (if Samsung was playing fair) than Samsung’s chosen ones under the GSIII.

    • Johnathan Cunningham says:

      I have moved from an iPhone 3GS, then to the iPhone and iPod (both 4th gen). Then, once I got a galaxy nexus (traded in the iPhone), I ditched the iPod and it’s been in my drawer ever since. I have had no need to use it after I got my phone. So you can say that I moved from an apple fanboy to an android fanboy. Honestly, the specs are better in android phones, and you rarely ever see 2 guys with the same customization on 2 same phones. On the iPhone? Either jail broken or not.
      Let’s see… being a student, dropbox is of utmost importance. Can you save a file on an apple device and send the file directly without generating a link? No.

      • I am thinking of getting an unlocked Galaxy Nexus too. You are the exception to the rule of people leaving iOS. I’m glad you like the switch.

        The reality is that these new Android handsets are better than the iPhone. I used to say the iPhone was the best smartphone for newbies though because it just works out of the box. My wife has had three and loves them. But the tide has shifted and Android has caught up and surpassed Apple because Android’s upgrade cycle is so much shorter and because their are so many more products. This will drive smartphone adoption rates to favour Android.

        • Dave Holden says:

          Looks like Apple have made a bit of a boo boo with their new map app as well.. apparently Dublin just got a new airport.

          • Yes, people are going ballistic in the UK in the comments at this Telegraph post:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/9555177/Apple-criticised-over-new-iPhone-Maps-app.html

            This part of the article rings true:

            “Apple was accused of putting its rivalry with Google ahead of the interests of iPhone owners by effectively imposing a substandard product on them.

            “Apple’s made a new product that actually is pretty but dumb,” said Anil Dash, a prominent New York technology entrepreneur.

            “Worse, they’ve used their platform dominance to privilege their own app over a competitor’s offering, even though it’s a worse experience for users.””

          • Dave Holden says:

            Had to laugh a one of the comments “Google should charge $25for their App and make sure accessing via the browser doesn’t work for Iphone5.”

          • riceryder says:

            I’m soooo glad apple is starting to “innovate” their own stuff again like the map! oh wait..they’re using tomtom maps.

    • riceryder says:

      But it’s perfectly fine for apple to insult other products in their ads and commercials right?
      Shouldn’t you be in line waiting for your iphone 4T(Tall)? When people
      are so BIAS (like you), the brain tends to be very “selective” in the
      choice they make. Put an Apple logo on a red brick and you would
      probably call it “Magical” and wait 3 days for it.

      Btw, Samsung
      is the # 1 mobile phone maker. It must be killing you inside that 50% of
      your beloved iphone is using parts from Samsung.

    • loveMyS3 says:

      When I’m at meetings with my iPhone friends, I’m the only one using my phone to be productive….♥ my S3….and the commercials represent what goes in in real life

  4. loveMyS3 says:

    I ONLY wanted an iPhone because practically everyone at my office had one. My sister kept insisting that I get an iPhone but the features that she was so proud of were on my Palm Pre… So glad I went with the S3…I researched and played with both. The S3 was the clear choice.

  5. MichaelSH says:

    What comes next is just my personal opinion. Apologies in advance if its too long but each to their own–>

    Both the wife and I bought two S III’s. She upgraded from the old Moto Droid, I upgraded from the SG2 HD LTE which I still have today and am extreemly happy with. Being a power user of phones and demanding multitasking, compatibility of connections like bluetooth, and freedom to style my phone how I want it with ROMS without looking at the same boring OS (something iPhone people will most likely never get), the iPhone will never cut it for me, I’d let my grandma have that. I also wasn’t a believer in the Galaxy phones till I got my HD LTE variant. Too happy with it to really wonder what on heck people still do with “iPhones”. In particular I have the S III 32Gig version, I love the fact that I can add on more SD space ( funny when the majority of people with iPhones are complaining about running out of space, when with the S III you have the option to go further without having to buy a new phone or could just put stuff on the cloud with Dropbox)….It really doesn’t take a genius.

    Over the years, the Android framework has really improved, and some innovative functions such as NFC are driving Android in the right direction. Software that was once honestly not as user friendly as the iOS has quickly improved and is catching up if not better than the iOS. But Apple is just good at “selling” even iPhone users know there isn’t anything “magical” in their connectors, NFC may not ever come, they just got LTE? but some people enjoy paying an overpriced sum for an average functional device…It really doesn’t take a genius.

    Apple, if you spent more actual time on “innovating” instead of throwing vague / industry standard / logical design constraints calling them “patents” ( a chicken egg will always be round ) and sueing Samsung and its Android family because your getting beat in the game then your latest strings of “innovative” Map “mishaps” would perhaps have not occured. Perhaps you should not depend on winning your battles on your home turf, the real battle ground is in emerging and global markets where there’s no U.S “judge” to favor you. By they way I really think Apple died with Steve Jobs, I use their laptops and am happy but noticed alot of product quality control problems like wifi issues never getting fixed with “updates”…feels like things are deteriorating at Apple (Apple please fix the wifi connectivity issues on my MBA). If your good at selling a “customer experience” then please don’t get pushed to rush products with half-done quality…It really doesn’t take a genius.
    I also think that Apple dont really “innovate”, Apple makes like 1 flagship phone per year? Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and other players make several variants, with different designs for mulitple OS’s….( Windows, Android, and two other OSs for Samsung’s case) sorry but the real innovator here to me is Samsung. I bet if Samsung made only 1 phone every other year or two, they’d probably do a better job at it…anyway once again….It really doesn’t take a genius. PS: I think the Samsung Ads this year ( Note + SIII ) are the year’s best tech Ads.

  6. random person says:

    samsung makes tvs, refrigeratrers, laundry machines, dvd players, way more computers, surround sound systems and makes a new smartphone every month or so. apple makes computers tablets and realeases one smartphone every year and is failing… if samsung was to spend the time apple does on a smartphone , our smartphones could make us a sandwich do our laundry etc.

    ………….(then we wouldnt need a wife!)

  7. Tin Erceg says:

    Everyone can make a big screen, it’s a challenge to make smaller and comfortable size of a phone and screen so it’s good for everything. Siri is much more better than the S-voice. iPhone is lighter, thinner and has a better, elegant design while Samsung has plastic back, and doesn’t look special or elegant at all. iPhone 5 is designed so you can easily write messages with one hand (unlike on the Samsung GS3/Note) and horizontal display is also great because you can see much more. iPhone 5 is easier to use, unlilke SGS3, you can do everything you want in a few clicks with your finger. Camera is much better on iPhone 5, the colors are more beautiful (you can see that in many comparison videos) And the last, but not least important, iOS is much smoother and better than Android.