Sunday, 9 June 2013

Are Samsung playing Apple at their own game

When this issue was original put to me, my instantaneous thought was (adopts Jerry Seinfeld’s terrible English accent) “not bloody likely”. On the other hand, after a bit of study, I was shocked to find that it is, actually true.

In February, research firm IDC established that Samsung had doubled its tablet PC market share in the final 3 months of 2012. Based on BBC news:

“Samsung, which makes the Galaxy range of tablets, sold 7.9 million units, up from 2.2 million a year ago, taking its market share to 15.1%. Market-leader and iPad-maker Apple saw its share slide to 43.6% from 51.7%, despite also seeing a jump in sales. The two have been competing to get a greater share of the tablet PC market, seen as key to their overall growth”.

IDC attributes this rise in progress to a rise in pc tablet business commonly and with a better significance in portable technology in modern years. IDC’s Tom Mainelli said,

“New product launches from the category’s top vendors, as well as new entrant Microsoft, led to a surge in consumer interest and very robust shipments totals during the holiday season.”

Microsoft’s Surface only received a indifferent reaction, shifting 900,000 models overall in the last three months of 2012. IDC believed that the elevated costs of the Surface (and Microsoft window 8 pc tablets usually, no doubt) had hurt sales overall. The varied reviews can not have aided much, either.

So why has Samsung done so well? The testimonials were not universally fantastic. Matt Egan of PC Adviser.com, gave the Galaxy Tab 2 a tepid 3.5/5, saying,

“A year ago we liked the Tab 10.1, and for the second generation the hardware specs remain broadly the same, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has a much better operating system. All for £100 cheaper than it was. We love the bright screen, and adding SD support and 1080p video capture are both improvements. The problem is the competition: the Nexus 7 in particular has changed the game for Android tablets, and is a little more than half the price of the Tab (albeit with a smaller screen, half the storage and no front-facing camera). Meanwhile the iPad remains a cut above for £100 more than the Tab 2 10.1”.

Meanwhile, Dave Oliver of Wired.co.uk said,

“It’s a step down from the Galaxy Note 10.1, but the Galaxy Tab 2 offers some serious improvement to its predecessor as a good value Android tablet with Ice Cream Sandwich and a fine screen”.

But, the Galaxy Note series is faring somewhat better. Reviewing the Galaxy Note 10.1, Mr. Oliver was just a little bit more enthused. Saying,

“The Galaxy Note 10.1 is a top-end tablet with a price to match (same as the iPad, basically). It can’t beat Apple’s sales behemoth on its screen, but in terms of versatility, with its writing interface and expandable memory, plus a good quality camera and very fast quad-core processor, it just about slots in at the top of the Android tablet tree making it a worthy challenger to iPad domination”.

 And a noticeably commendable contender it would appear to be, since the Galaxy Note seems to be the reason for the unexpected sales spike, at least some of the most of it. However, Samsung have always been putting out quality products for a very long time now and that exact development is showing no signs of stopping, or maybe slowing down.