This begs the question, though: If Apple sells only one type of phone with one type of OS, can you actually compare the sales to a competitor that sells multiple variations with multiple OS's? Isn't it more accurate to compare Samsung's best selling phone to the iPhone?
No, the concept you are describing has nothing to do with accuracy. You are merely expressing a desire to present different information. Either of those sets of information could be accurate or inaccurate.
Samsung is on to something particularily for asia -its a 'Face' thing. Back in the day the 'Motorola Brick Phone' was a favorite around HK, it was a status symbol easily recognisable confidently dumped on the YUM CHA tables at the best restuarants for all to see. Enter the Samsung Note, I am betting same thing goes with this device, its clearly visible, its distinctive and it gets attention from passing patrons. I have a Note and even though I am not in asia it gets comments for the same reason. Yes it has some technical advantages but in the end it may be all about status and 'face'.
You couldn't be more wrong or old. those days are looooong gone. I'm in Sing and HK and i did the same as this author, i asked why people liked it, pure functionality. most common response "i no longer need 2 devices" that being a phone and a tablet. Btw, its a big hit in Europe, must be a face thing there too then. Sorry to say but you sound like the irrational fan boy i try to avoid on silly blog sites.
Yes, I remember what a badge of conspcious consumption those Moto brick phones used to be in HK. Even the lowly messenger boys were conspicuous consumers of their pagers in those days. And now its the wide-body Samsung smartphone that's taken their place.
It may be true in the old day, but it is not nowadays. I am in Hong Kong. Basically every young people in Hong Konw own "at least" one smartphone, many of them has two, some own iphone, ipad and Galaxy...so it is no more a status symbol, it is too common.
Historically "BIG" things is an american face-thing. Big cars, big bikes, big muscles, tall buildings, etc. Everyone have heard the expression, "everything is big over here". When Europe, Ericsson and Nokia, made small cellphones, the american customer still used big phones, with big external antenna, which they pulled out during talking and then pushed in. I remember those days, yah!
Easier said than done. When Jobs took over Apple, he streamlined Apple product line. It paves the success path of Apple. Managing one product is not easy. Managing 10 different products of the same kind is a pain. I am sure there are a few model from other vendors that don't sell enough to cover the cost of developing the product. Product streamlining is a double edge sword. So is product diversification.
"I wonder if Samsung should sue Apple for stealing the new smartphone look-and-feel when a big screen iPhone 5 comes out?"
Yes by all means. The patent office should start issuing patents on particular dimensions. I want to patent 5.5 inches. Anyone that builds anything of that length or width would pay me a royalty on my amazing invention.
With the S3 Sam stole a lead over "frenemy" Apple because they used their own 32 nm HKMG process to build the QUAD CORE Exynos in it. Can't drive a larger screen unless you have a faster Graphics processor that won't burn too much battery ( transistors with HKMG ). Samsung was holding back their 32 nm process from Apple when the A5 or A5X came out. Won't be too long now b4 we find out what Fab process the A6 (?) for iPhone5 is built with - 32 nm HKMG from Samsung or maybe they would shift Fab business to TSMC ( 28 nm LP ) to teach Sam a lesson ?
Great point! Samsung not only has the leverage of being a leading source of flash chips and displays. It also has strong process technology and a solid mobile apps processor business now strengthened with the addition of Bluetooth and GPS from its CSR acquisition.
Most people in the other parts of the world covering Asia and Europe don't drive often. Public transportation is the primary mean to get from point A to point B. Therefore, they usually carry a briefcase or a small backpack. If you carry a small backpack mostly standing in a bus or a train plus a mile of walking, you will likely prefer to carry less than 5lbs, definitely less than 10lbs. A small form factor will help reducing the weight. 1 less item will definitely be the choice. Instead of carrying 1 iPad and 1 iPhone, why not carrying 1 bigger screen smart device? If they have to, they still have room to carry 1 more ultra light weight laptop. Make sense?
One less device theory here makes sense. It's very logical.
When I was travelling in China last month, I was truly blown away when I found so many people actully using Samsung Galaxy Tab. (I mean, I haven't seen that in NYC subway system yet when I commute to Manhattan everyday from Brooklyn!)
I did, however, hear from one of the users in China -- he actually does carry two devices. Tab for web surfing and iPhone for actually talking.
In either way, we both agreed on one thing. The crux of the issue of carrying two devices is in battery. If you are engaged in too much surfing on iPhone, most likely you won't be able to make a simple phone call at the end of your work day!
As a regular user of Asian public transportation (which is wonderful, btw), I can tell you why I wouldn't want a note.
It is too big for one hand.
As often as not, while on the train, I am standing, which means one hand is tethered to a hanging strap. I need a phone that is small enough to use with my right hand only. It could be bigger than my iphone, but not a lot bigger. The note is definitely too big.
A range of sizes for a range of needs (and hand sizes) is what Apple needs to offer.
iPhone have the best form factor for a phone which is a smartphone but that doesn't mean people might not be willing to experiment. If you are carrying anything bigger than an iPhone than it either isn't in your pocket or you are wearing a suite with generous pockets, either way it's clunky. But, one may start having these intermediate screen sized gadgets as part of their mobility bag which would imply that potential iPad customers are getting diluted.
You don't have Note i suspect and you're being presumptuous. I've had one for 6 months, wear jeans, i'm 6ft, 180lbs, fits in my pocket noooo problem. Why, it's WEIGHT that you feel, and it's light as hell, people are blown away then they hold. You should actually use gear before you comment maybe.
Be realistic and be practical, your personal perference and physical condition and your taste for clothings do not mean "iPhone have the best form factor ...". Consumers all have different preferences. Though many consumers in the last two years were blindsighted by anything with "i", they eventually wake up and start looking around for better choices. iPhone offers limited choices because it is what Steve Jobs felt for the consumers, not what the consumers may actually want. Wake up, be open-minded!
I've had a Note I bought in Singapore 6 months ago, The galaxy Note is probably THE best product i've used in years and i normally have at least 2 phones on the go (I have Sony Active i call my "Dive phone") and 5 computers with no limit on budget, i want the best for what i do and the Note stands alone. In Addition to all the above, the OLED screen is staggering with it's contrast ratio, low light videos are view-able on that screen where on any of my LCDs there show black. The S-pen and it's apps i use to whip out video based instructions at a rate 10x faster than a typed document, literally. Seriously, AMAZING product. But North Americans (as i am) are typically way behind Asia and Europe.
I definitely think that Apple is missing the boat if the next iphone does not have an OLED display (regardless of it's size). And I think that perhaps it is time for Apple to make more than one model iphone (maybe based on screen size?).
You should probably say "Steve Jobs missed the boat" because he defined Apple, not the other way round. Steve always hold his own opinion of how things should be. Did he tell everybody that consumers didn't know how to hold the iPhone4 in defense of the bad antenna design? Still, consumers were willing to accept the accusation and kept buying millions of iPhone4? In Apple history, it never had the experience of managing multiple SKUs. Regardless, Apples has over 100B of cash, so let's see what it plans to spends on next.
Maybe the market will converge to a large enough screen size to be convenient but for improved individual mobility, electronics makers may start producing a separate, smaller device that ... merely functions as a phone! :)
I am beginning to feel like I didn't quite get it all upside down. Apple is beatable and whether it is Samsung or some other company that's doing it, this was inevitable. It had a good lead and it used it advantageously but when you've got so many guns trained on you, even a flesh wound can start a feeding frenzy.
The next shoe will drop soon and that's the one that falls off when many of today's young folks start thinking of the i-anything as their fathers' stuff! Sure, they like the iPhone/iPad/iPod now, but they also like Facebook and one day, it won't be so cool to whip out any of these stuff.
Differentiation tends to win out eventually and that's Apple's Achilles heel.
Beating Apple is both easy and difficult. Even the 300 warriors lost to the Persian armies. The Sun always go down. I am surprised why none of Apple's competition play the "partners" game. OEMs like Asus / Acer / HP, despite of lip-singing on "system", are mostly trying to keep the manufacturing cost down. None is willing to spend the time and the money to build partnership with others to offer "solutions" to consumers. Instead, they have been offering largely "cheap" hardware. Sony should be the one that can easily beat Apple hands-down. Reality is the other way round!
In China, people must still use cash all the time and highest denomination note is equivalent to US$15. So people need to carry a lot and men have long ago embraced man bags. So housing a big smartphone is no problem at all.
Cultural differences are likely a big factor. In Asia, most people use public transportation. In the U.S., not so much. In Asia, small backpacks or a man-purse. In the U.S., not so much.
The jury is still out on how big is too big to comfortably fit in the front pocket of your jeans, and as Greg Dee mentioned, it's often the weight that matters more than the size -- although above a certain screen size, it just isn't going to fit.
But I agree with Junko about battery life being the crux of the matter. Apple should make the iPhone 5 slightly bigger, not so much because it really matters whether the screen is 3.8" or 4.2", but because the larger form factor will allow them to put in a bigger battery -- and that really DOES matter.
There's also an age-related factor in screen size preference. Older people who have become slightly far-sighted are more likely to complain that it's hard to read the iPhone 4s screen, while younger people have no problem at all with that.
I think you hit on a very important reason for larger screens (up to a point). One of the reasons I don't own a smartphone is that I can't read ANYTHING on the darn screen.
My uncorrected distance vision is 20/15 but since I am over 50, my presbyopia (old people being slightly farsighted for you young folks) means I have to carry around a set of reading glasses. So there I am fumbling with my phone AND reading glasses, NOT going to happen.
As the current generation ages past 40, they'll find out smartphones were not made with them in mind.
Every one talks about the "Note". I bought one recently. Fantastic display, no comparison to iPhone. But, the battery drainage, that's a different story. Samsung should put more effort on reducing the leakage ( display and Android consume almost half or the power whether in use or not)
Very true. When my wife got her first Android phone a few years ago -- a Moto Droid X -- I was stunned at how big it was. She said something like "too bad you don't carry a purse or you could get one of these too."
That's when it first dawned on me that some smartphones -- at least in the U.S. where few men carry purses -- are inadvertently more targeted at women than at men. I say inadvertently because I doubt the manufacturer intended for that gender-specific targeting. But for many men, some phones are just too big to be comfortably carried in a front pocket, and as you said, women don't have that same issue.
My prior take had been that I wasn't interested in a "converged" device because I simply needed a larger screen than a practical phone would have. My ideal would have been a combo tablet and phone, each of which would work independently, but they would work together if present. (Like the tablet using the phone as a cellular modem if wifi wasn't available.)
My current cellphone is the smallest, lightest feature phone Nokia makes. It's not a smartphone, and not intended to be. All it does is make calls and do SMS, and that's all I want it to do.
New devices are redefining what a practical phone is.
"Pocket sized" isn't an issue, because I don't *carry* devices like that in a pocket. My cell phone has a clip on belt-holster with a velcro fastener on the retaining strap. Anything else gets carried in a backpack or manpurse, and I always have one or the other with me.
With things like bluetooth headsets, I'm not looking at holding a tablet to my ear when I'm making calls with the newer devices.
Someone elsewhere made a point I'd been thinking about for a while. The electronics are getting small, fast, and cheap enough that your phone might *be* your principal computing device. Every phone down the road is likely to be a smartphone simply because it *can* be. The device of the future might be a pocket computer, that you carry and use like a tablet or phone when traveling. When you aren't traveling, you plug it onto a docking station with A/C power, full sized keyboard, mouse, and big monitor, and connection to other peripherals like external storage and routers through your home network.
We may just be looking at a scenario where desktops and laptops largely cease to exist.
That's the idea, and with smartphones growing steadily more powerful, it's becoming practical.
I don't see larger systems going away entirely - there will be higher end tasks requiring more processor power, memory, and storage than a pocket device is likely to have, if only because the power requirements of that capacity will make use in a battery powered device problematic.
Though I *can* see such a device connecting to things like compute servers and graphics servers when plugged into a docking station, with higher end tasks handed off to devices better equipped to perform them.
That will require another generation of software, though, as the concept is approximately that of the AT&T Plan 9 OS that was a research followup to Unix. In Plan 9, the user's workstation was the center of the universe, and everything mounted off of it. The user didn't need to know or care where a specific resource was. They could simply access it and use it. This would be roughly the same. "What's that, you want to rebuild the Linux kernel from source? Well, you don't do that *on* your phone. You start the build from the phone, but the process happens elsewhere, and the phone gets status updates in the background while you do other things."
(There is an effort to produce a Linux flavor you *can* build on a suitable phone.)
@Rick: Its Aboriginal Linux, at http://landley.net/aboriginal/
There's a companion effort called Toybox, intended to replace most of the Gnu utilities bundled with Linux distros with much smaller versions. (The goal of Toybox is that the whole set will fit in an executable under 1MB in size.)
Toybox was begin by a chap who had been the principal maintainer of Busybox. (http://www.busybox.net/) Busybox is a set of cut down Gnu utilities packaged as a single executable, and installed with symlinks, so that "ls", for example, resolves to "busybox ls [args]". The Puppy Linux distro uses Busybox to achieve small size, as does DSL and TinyCore Linux, and my older wireless router used replacement firmware with Busybox, so I could ssh to a command line in my router and run vi to edit config files.
Toybox can be built as a monolithic executable or as each tool as a separate program, depending on what you want to do.
But I misspoke earlier: I don't think Aboriginal is intended to let you rebuild it on a a smartphone - it's intended to make it easier to rebuild something you can *run* on a smartphone. As the site says, "We cross-compile so you don't have to."
With a powerful enough smartphone, you might be able to rebuild the Linux kernel *on* the phone, but you might not want to take the time it would require to do it.
I've been building stuff directly on my embedded devices years and years ago, as it was easier to do there that to fight with crosscompilation of every package. Be that the SA110 powered iPaq (Compaq even provided a "build farm" out of few networked PDAs) or more recently my NAS box (a 500MHz MIPS with 64MB of RAM), where I git the "Linux from scratch" to bootstrap Gentoo, then rebuilt Gentoo there. Compiling kernel is fun, compared to building the full toolchain first (gcc compiles itself 3 times before you get the final binaries)....
I want the biggest thing that can fit in my shirt pocket. Well, and it shoudl do everything too. Unfortunately, my 16" laptop doesn't quite fit. But my currently 4.3" Android does. And there are very few things that current smart phones cannot do that are needed in mobile environments. The first thing I do for my kids' phones is to buy them "guppy batteries." So much for the thinness. But it makes all day possible with heavy video, web, and text use.
Few Americans know of the largest Android phone (I think) in current history. The original Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 was 7" a cell phone and a tablet.
I was making cell calls on this Eclair (or was it Froyo) based 7" GSM phone/tablet quite some time ago. This was out long before Apple created the larger "Note"-like product and obviously was before the Note itself.
No one has mentioned another consumer group interested in larger phones - the older generation. My wife really needs the smooth operation of an iPhone (we dumped our Droid 2) but needs to find glasses to see the screen while her arthritis nearly prohibits her from typing on 3 mm2 keys.
Having the utility of the device is more important than how or where to carry it. Those problems seem to work themselves out with a little time.
I notice your heading, 'Samsung sets the trend" but I don't see any data showing Samsung selling more of those phones, or any data at all, - are they really selling more phones or do you just want them to?
We are making those 5" 3G unlocked phone GPS tablet (uPlay PhonePad 5") similar to Samsung Galaxy Note, here is what we learned: The 5" all-in-one device (3G Phone, GPS, tablet, point-n-shoot camera, skype video phone, bluetooth, you name it) serves a niche market - it is for people who only want to carry ONE mobile device, and use it for everything. We used to make 7" phone tablet, but it can only slip into coat pocket, not pockets on your jeans, but the 5" one does the trick. The 5" form factor allows you to carry it as a phone, and use it as hand-held GPS, camera, and tablet. We have lots of customers who are sales guys, they really love the device - they said they don't have to carry their laptop any more. If you are curious how it looks, check it out here:
Samsung is definitely the first to understand that there is no boundaries for user interests and it paid off really well for them. No wonder apple would definitely try to bring out more varieties in future.
Another big difference is the user interface. The iphone has pretty much the same UI it came out with in Circa 2007 with the single button which is clunky compared to the slick android phones with their multiple cap-sense buttons. I had to move from an HTC evo to an iPhone and was really missed its UI. In fact the webos interface from palm was generations ahead with its swipe and gesture interface. Too bad it did not survive.
Hope the iphone5 makes the UI easier to use.
Apple and Samsung operate on completely different paradigms. Apple makes one (or a few) products and convinces everyone that is exactly what they need. Samsung on the other hand tries to listen to customers and offer what they ask for (not necessarily what they want). One possibility is that eventually people will get tired of being "convinced" by Apple and will move on onto more freely exercising their choices. On the other hand, having less choice sometimes makes life simpler... Just my two cents!
Samsung is a vertically intergrated, but Apple is not. Samsung doen't need to worry about contract or volume prediction when make new phone, but Apple has to, which limit them how many phone they can make per year. Outsourcing manufacturing now bite back...
Apple is the 800 lb gorilla in the market. They don't need to make their own components. Their orders are big enough that you may assume vendors will give Apple what it wants *first*, and then worry about parceling remaining stocks to other customers.
If Apple has had any supply chain problems with being unable to build products because it couldn't get components, I haven't heard about them.
I find it ironic that for years, phones kept getting smaller and smaller. The best ones were the smallest, yet now the trend has reversed. I had been hoping for watch phones and a bluetooth headset.
Of course, a watch phone wouldn't do double duty as a GPS.
So that just leaves the question as to who is taking all the profits in the market...the last info I know was that Apple was taking 80% of the profits.
There is a big difference between being No1 in sales and No1 in profits!
Yep. And a lot of what I think is "apples to oranges" comparisons (sic) when talking about it. I don't think you can realistically talk about iOS market share vs Android market share, when Android's share is split amongst so many manufacturers and devices. The iPhone is the single largest selling phone, and any other phone manufacture would *kill* to have a fraction of the iPhone's sales for any of their models.
Apple doesn't care about market share, and doesn't have to. It has revenues and profits that dwarf everyone else.
When the handset market was developing, smaller meant better. It reached a point when world's smallest phone could easily slip into a lady's hand pouch, and would be lost in men's shirt pocket. Only youngsters with nimble fingers could an SMS message on it. Then came the reality check.
If it is too difficult to even dial using our forefinger then there is a problem. The logic applies to every smart-phone as well. While typing if everyone starts getting unitended alphabets, then keyboard is too small. The human factor equation is based on the weakest link -fairly fat fingers of people, who lack the skill to twist and turn their fingers to adapt to a small key pad. This should be considered the practical limit in terms of design, not whether it is possible to manufacture something smaller. Of course, keyboard that can be seen only on a microscope can be manufactured, but of what use is it?
In that sense, I think Samsung got it. In terms of operating system, while the argument continues, reports today confirmed that well over 55% of smart phones operate on Android and that number is growing. An open interface is proving its edge once more.
Did you think that it is not the matter of the form factor of the phone indeed? Why Galaxy sell better in Asia? It is because we DO NOT LIKE iTunes! You may be surprise of that if you are in US. If you ask 10 people who has used iphone in Hong Kong, I bet 9 of them tell you they don't like iTunes. Most of us use Windows, the synchronization is tooooo slow, it takes 1 or 2 hours! Also we think that the operation in iTunes is misleading. Most of us has an experience that we deleted something in iphone just because we clicked the wrong button! I am an engineer and even I have to be very careful in the synchronization, so what do you think for an ordinary people? I can tell you most of us here using iphone is considering to change to other smartphone.
Steve Jobs pretty much subscribed to Henry Ford's "They can have any color they want, as long as it's black" philosphy. This is why I've never been interested in Apple stuff or participating in the iPrison system. One size/choice will never fit everyone. They didn't design the iphone for people like me, but I think they're ok with that. Apple clearly accomplished their goal without me.
this all may be true but as soon as projectors get just a little bit better and/or display glasses get perfected the phone can go back to a flip-phone size, nice for any pocket. Battery life gets 5x better because the display power gets moved off phone and the display area shrinks also lower display energy demand from glasses. Projector power is another story...with ambiant light issues.
Form factor is in the eye of the beholder. If it can be used as a phone, it can be called one.
And you actually could use something like that, assuming something like a bluetooth headset. It would be a bit inconvenient to hold up to your ear.
The question wouldn't be "Is it a smartphone?" It's "Is it a *good* smartphone?"
Replay available now: A handful of emerging network technologies are competing to be the preferred wide-area connection for the Internet of Things. All claim lower costs and power use than cellular but none have wide deployment yet. Listen in as proponents of leading contenders make their case to be the metro or national IoT network of the future. Rick Merritt, EE Times Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, moderators this discussion. Join in and ask his guests questions.