Is Apple Catching Up With Samsung?

South Korean conglomerate Samsung was able to score the top spot in the global smartphone race last year, leading Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) by a healthy margin. IDC's estimates showed that Samsung's 215.8 million units shipped were well ahead of the 135.9 million iPhones that Apple sold in 2012. Apple has always had more strength on its home turf, and comScore's latest digits show that the iPhone maker is outpacing Samsung in the important U.S. market.

The data shows that 129.4 million consumers in the U.S. now own smartphones, representing 55% penetration. That figure is up 7% from October. In this geographical segment, Apple leads its archenemy by a healthy margin; it grabbed 37.8% of the market in the three months ending in January. In comparison, Samsung's slice was 21.4%.

Smartphone OEM

October 2012

January 2013

Change

Apple

34.3%

37.8%

3.5%

Samsung

19.5%

21.4%

1.9%

HTC

11.4%

9.7%

(1.7%)

Motorola

10%

8.6%

(1.4%)

LG

6.7%

7%

0.3%

Source: comScore.

Not only was Apple on top, but its growth outpaced all of its rivals. Samsung still put up a respectable showing, even as it lacked any major product introductions. The Galaxy S IV is set to be unveiled on March 14, which may give it a boost. HTC continues to see its fortunes decline and just said today that its sales in February plunged by 44% from a year ago.

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Motorola subsidiary ranked No. 4 after giving up a modest percentage. The search giant likely isn't surprised at the decline, though, as CFO Patrick Pichette recently made some disparaging remarks about Motorola's product pipeline. At the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference last week, Pichette bluntly said Google inherited 18 months of products that weren't up to Google's "wow" standards. Big G is anxious to drain these devices and build the next wave of innovative gadgets under Google's corporate umbrella.

comScore notes that the increase in U.S. smartphone adoption was largely driven by Apple. Most of Samsung's success has been in emerging markets, but outpacing the South Korean company in the U.S. will still help Apple catch up.

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  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 10:09 PM, Drake2727 wrote:

    I just want to note that I wish Samsung would add a detachable bluetooth ear phone on their phablets. One that is ready to use upon detachment and is placed within the contour shape on the side of the phablet body.

    It doesn't need a lot of battery juice like the typical earphone because once you're done talking with it, it will go right back on the phablet and be recharged. Much better than having the whole phablet on your ear and having to deal with ear phone battery life issues also. With regard to uncomfortableness on the ear usage this will get better during trial and error in the development stage or successive model issues or they could get it right the first time. And when competition kicks in you'll see several awesome choices instead. If you compare it with the typical earphone you will be wearing this one on your ear a fraction of the time only as once you're done with a call it does not rest back on you're ear but instead it will rest back on the phablet. There is only less time to feel uncomfortable with it if it ever. Another feature also is that you won’t look like a geek anymore.

  • Report this Comment On March 06, 2013, at 10:50 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Everyone really needs to quit worrying about who sells the most units and start quoting who makes the most profits. Apple, Intel and Microsoft make Google look like the advertising scam operation that gives away software subsidized by spam.

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