Apple is starting to feel threatened by Android in the smartphone arena, evident by their torrent of lawsuits (Samsung, HTC) 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
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
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.