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.

Apple has consistently beaten the sales of its previous devices with its latest models, so it might be able to hold its seat as second in the smartphone market, but Samsung is showing signs that it could be slipping away from Apple with a further lead. Samsung, too, has been seen to top its previous sales, and it also doesn’t fool around with just one device at a time.

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Samsung already has two different versions of the Galaxy S 4 on the market — a quad-core and an eight-core variant — and it plans to come out with a few more models. It will be adding 2 smaller models — the Galaxy S 4 Mini, and Galaxy S 4 Zoom — with 4.3-inch screens and slightly lower-end hardware. However, the Zoom is said to feature a 16-megapixel camera with 10-times optical zoom. It’s also rumored that Samsung might launch a ruggedized version of the device.

If Samsung could hit 10 million sales in a month, it could take that number much higher with five different models of the Galaxy S 4. Apple may win the sprint races, but Samsung seems focused and strong in the long run.

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