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Gartner: Samsung is overshadowing Android

Samsung galaxy

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 13 Feb 2013 at 11:25

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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User comments

Analyst, schmanalyst (again)

Talk about stating the patently[sic] bloody obvious and presenting it as though it had been brought down from the mountain on Tablets[sic] Of Stone...

The really INTERESTING question revolves around how Google derives income from Android.

Apple makes big margins on its hardware, and gets a lucrative cut on everything downloaded from its various stores.

The question 'what's in it for Google' remains pretty much unanswered. The not evil one has put various toes into sharky waters with assorted Nexuss (Nexii?), but these seem to have been sold at or near 'cost'. One is tempted to ask, perhaps rather insensitively, "where's the beef?". The received wisdom is that the Google's gadgets drive custom to its Advertising business via Search, and raise Brand Awareness.
To my mind that presents a circularity: it's 'Google' that sells Nexus, not vice-versa.

My suspicion is that Google (like MS) is playing a longish game. Its Nexus products act as a useful 'reference implementation', and if Samsung flogs zillions of 'phones then it makes for zillions of Android-trained potential customers as it ramps-up its hardware arm (Motorola).

Like most 'analysis', this is purely speculative. Unlike most 'analysts' I don't have a vested interest in moving markets to\from various corporate securities or shares....

By wittgenfrog on 13 Feb 2013

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