The Tortoise and the Hare: Samsung and Apple

When it comes right down to it, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) doesn’t seem able to sell a single model of its smartphones quite as fast as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) does. Instead, it might sell a number of models of its smartphones.

It’s clear that Samsung is the champion in the global smartphone market, with far more device sales in each quarter than any other manufacturer. What is likely helping Samsung is that it makes so many different devices. Having numerous devices at different form factors and prices allows Samsung to tap into the market at almost any level.

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For Apple, things aren’t so easy. From the start, Apple has essentially only released one iPhone model at a time. Of course, there were minor variations to support different carriers and options for storage size, but the devices were largely the same. It’s impressive that Apple has been so successful on the back of only one device at a time, as it’s managed to hold second place in the global smartphone market

In the middle of May, Samsung announced that it had reached 6 million sales — to carriers — with its Galaxy S 4 device. Just a week later and one day shy of a month after the launch of the device, the company announced it had reached 10 million sales.

Interestingly enough, it seems that Apple’s and Samsung’s devices sell very differently. Initially, the iPhone 5 set a pace that refused to be beaten. In the first 24 hours that the device was offered, it pulled in two million pre-orders. But, quick sales early on might not be enough to beat Samsung. Looking at the Galaxy S 4 sales, it seems they are more steady over time and less explosive.