Gartner: Samsung is overshadowing Android

Samsung galaxy

Samsung's dominance threatens to overshadow Google's mobile platform

Samsung dominates the Android smartphone market to such an extent that it could overshadow the platform itself, according to research company Gartner.

The analyst firm said Samsung's success means consumers are more familiar with its Galaxy name than the Android brand.

"With Samsung commanding over 42.5% of the Android market globally, and the next vendor at just 6% share, the Android brand is being overshadowed by Samsung's brand with the Galaxy name nearly a synonym for Android phones in consumers' mind share," said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

While Google will appreciate the sales success, Samsung's dominance isn't good news for Motorola, the mobile phone maker Google bought in 2011.

The dominance of Apple and Samsung makes marketing devices tougher, Gartner said. "The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products," said Gupta. "Their direct competitors, including those with comparable products, struggle to achieve the same brand appreciation among consumers, who, in a tough economic environment, go for cheaper products over brand."

The success of Apple and Samsung is based on the strength of their brands as much as their actual products

In the fourth quarter of last year, Apple and Samsung both raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52% between them, up from 46.4% in the third quarter of 2012, boosted by the success of flagship products such as the iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy SIII.

While Samsung and Apple clearly lay claim to the first and second sales spot, there's a battle for third place. "There is no manufacturer that can firmly lay claim to the number three spot in global smartphone sales," said Gupta.

Mobile decline

Gartner's claim came as it released figures that showed a declining global mobile phone market only saved by booming smartphone sales. The market declined by 1.7% last year, but smartphone sales continued to soar, with 38.3% growth, according to Gartner.

The market decline is the first since 2009, Gartner said, and was driven by a 20% fall in feature phone sales. "Tough economic conditions, shifting consumer preferences and intense market competition weakened the worldwide mobile phone market," said Gupta.

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