Friday, July 15, 2011

Can the Samsung Galaxy S2 Hold its Own Against the iPhone 4S / 5

Apple is starting to feel threatened by Android in the smartphone arena, evident by their torrent of lawsuits (SamsungHTC) directed at any company even contemplating using the Google OS. The current Android king is the Galaxy S2 from Samsung, a device enjoying 3 million units sold in the first two months of availability (a device not even available in the United States yet), and has also been the first phone to knock the iPhone 4 from its top position in UK sales chart since it was launched a year ago.
Samsung is the main competitor in the phone industry that Apple currently has an issue with, largely due to the Galaxy S, Galaxy Ace and of course the new Galaxy S2. According to the Apple lawsuit the Galaxy S and its spin-offs are copies of the iPhone, with Samsung trying to capitalize on the iPhone image and brand to achieve success.  Certainly the Galaxy S does bear some physical resemblance to the iPhone, although most touchscreen phones tend to look fairly similar and the design used by the iPhone and Galaxy phones are not exactly highly unique ones.

Moreover, the Galaxy S2 employs plenty of features and hardware that has not yet made its way into the Apple phone brand and in all likelihood will do upon the release of the iPhone 5. What exactly will be offered with the next Apple phone is still not completely clear, with some reports suggesting there may be two iPhones released in September.
The iPhone is a powerful brand and will sell well regardless of whether it offers anything substantially new or ground-breaking. In all likelihood, the iPhone 5 will offer quite a bit more than the iPhone 4 and probably introduce some new concepts into the market as well. So, does the popularity that the Galaxy S2 is enjoying at the moment mean that it will be able to survive come September?
Here is the thing, and it is a point that Apple seems to be missing. There are a lot of phone owners and potential phone owners who are loyal to one side or another in the whole Apple vs Google mobile feud, and anybody who has taken sides with Apple is unlikely to switch to Google Android because they got confused about what device they were buying and vice versa. The S2 currently enjoys enormous success but for the most part these 3 million or so purchasers were probably not that intent on getting an iPhone in the first place.
Likewise, those who will rush to camp outside stores in September to get the latest iPhone are probably not at all interested in an Android phone, even one as excellent as the Galaxy S2. That just leaves the people in the middle, the people with no particular preference.
What has been the reason for the Galaxy S2′s current success? Probably the least likely explanation is that it has some homescreen buttons that look a bit like homescreen buttons on the iPhone.  One of the things that no doubt attracted a lot of people is the gorgeous 4.3″ Super AMOLED Plus screen.   Offering one of the finest phone screens available at present, its excellence can really be seen when placed next to even some of the top LCD screens around. It truly is vivid, vibrant and brightly coloured, even if it doesn’t fare as well in sunlight.
Another reason is the processing power it possesses – a dual core 1.2GHz and 1GB RAM. There are other dual core phones though, that have sold well but perhaps not as well as the Galaxy S2. Or perhaps the slimness of the S2 is one of the factors responsible for its popularity. The S2 is currently the thinnest smartphone going in the UK, although this is contradicted slightly by its other large dimensions.
That said, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for its popularity, with the answer likely a combination of factors. As for the next iPhone, rumors indicate it will almost certainly be dual core. With a 1.2Ghz chip? Apple will most likely try to up the ante a bit and offer something faster although they have never really wowed with the RAM on their phones and so 1GB seems more than likely. Reports are suggesting that the iPhone 5 will also come with something along the lines of an 8 megapixel camera, most likely with 1080p video.
Interestingly, some of the teasers revealed by Apple concerning iOS 5 at WWDC, which is to feature on the next iPhone, seem to incorporate ideas taken from Android. This includes the notification tray which is strikingly similar to the one found on the Google OS. No doubt Apple does not see this as “copying” or “patent infringement”, but simply as competition. In the same way, the Galaxy S2 is just competition and not a blatant knock-off along the lines of a “Bart Sampson” t-shirt. The S2 is quite clearly a product in its own right, with its own branding and appeal, even if it does incorporate some Apple ideas.
Although the iPhone 5 has yet to be officially unveiled to the world the Galaxy S2 has also yet to make an appearance in the United States, meaning that in all likelihood the two phones really could be placed head to head stateside. With the S2 already a few months old it is also possible that Samsung will have a newer Galaxy phone to show off in the next few months, with Apple lawyers on standby.
Whatever form the iPhone 5 takes it is sure to be a great phone, as all Apple devices have been so far, and it can pretty much be taken for granted that it will be phenomenally successful in the sales department. With the Galaxy S2 being slimmer than the iPhone 4 Apple have had to change their marketing motto from “the World’s Thinnest Smartphone” to “if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone.” Perhaps Apple just need to chill a little and accept the fact that sometimes if someone doesn’t have an iPhone, they may not actually want an iPhone.

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