By: Ted Curtin
With no shortage of news coverage, along with a steady stream of system and software upgrades, Apple’s iPhone line has received top billing and remains king of the smartphone hill since first defining the market. Challenges from RIM’s Blackberry and the long-promised Windows phone were easily laughed off due to less than ideal functionality and frequent technical glitches. But steadily rising to the top of the hill — first overseas and now domestically as the quiet new king of smartphone operating systems — is Android.
Powering the now indispensable personal “connection-communication-calculation-navigation-reservation-information” devices from Samsung, HTC, and others, Google’s Android operating system has made tremendous improvements over the past few years, in part due to its open source platform. According to FastCompany.com, Samsung’s 3Q revenue of $4.53 billion represents a 79% increase over last year. Samsung’s 23.8% share of the smartphone market (boosted by its global dominance) leaves Apple in second place with just under 15% of the global smartphone market.
With an anticipated fourth-quarter battle already heating up, and so much feature parity between the two (Siri notwithstanding), we can expect to see Apple focusing on brand affinity in their marketing strategy while Samsung and other Android-powered manufacturers will likely promote their lower price point in an attempt to convert feature-phone holdouts to the wonderful world of smartphones.
With Apple’s enormous consumer popularity, history of innovation and consumers already talking up the iPhone 5 just weeks after the launch of the 4s, Apple may not be stepping down from its royal perch anytime soon. With Apple’s new Siri personal assistant by their side, iPhone 4s users aren’t likely to defect, but the lines on the political smartphone map are starting to reveal the two dominant superpowers in the new smartphone universe.
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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