Within the hour, South Korean IT mega company is set to unveil Galaxy S4 which could eclipse Apple's iPhone and Blackberry's Z10
Thursday March 14th 2013: South Korea's Samsung Elec. Co Ltd (SSNLF) is set to unveil its latest smartphone, the Galaxy S4, at an elaborate media event in the next hour at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Great expectations are already aligned with this latest member of the Samsung family, after its elder sibling, the Galaxy S3, handily beat arch rival Apple Inc's (AAPL) iPhone 5 in last year's Q3 sales. Analysts are now anxiously watching to see whether the S4 will take an even bigger bite off the Apple than S3 did.
One consolation for AAPL however is that the S4 will likely not be available for ordinary consumers until later in the year. However, Samsung has already started putting its humongous war chest of cash to use, by unveiling internet and other media advertisements depicting iPhone 5 users as being "old school" and out of touch with innovation. Of course with time on their side, and with an equally, if not more, formidable pile of cash in their coffers, AAPL could decide to launch its own counter offensive. Interesting times lie ahead for sure!
So what exactly does AAPL have to fear. Well, like all such media events, Samsung has released few details of the S4 ahead of the "big show". But as with other Samsung smartphones though, it is expected the S4 will continue to sport a screen that's larger than the iPhone. Rumors also swirl that the new device will be based on a faster processer than its predecessors, and will have much more improved voice recognition and voice activated command features. The most stunning news (still unconfirmed, of course!) is the possibility of new optical technologies embedded in the S4 that will allow users to control many a feature, such as page scrolling, playing and pausing videos etc., with simple movements of the eye. Now that's eye popping technology for sure!
While the two giants (Samsung with approximately 29% of global market share, and Apple, which claims 1/3rd of the US mobile phone market) duke it out in the pit today, one other player – Blackberry (BBRY) – will be watching anxiously from the sidelines. With its own launch of a new device, the Z10, scheduled to hit US markets on March 21st, Samsung's announcement comes at a rather awkward moment for the Canadian smartphone phone maker. Will the S4 rain on the Z10's parade? Time will tell.
Plagued with delays, and beset by ever eroding market share, BBRY too has a sizable cash pile to launch a media blitz of its own. However, it is likely that, to maximize the impact, they will wait to do this just a few days prior to their big US launch. They are however making no secret of a "secret customer" who just yesterday placed an order for over a million Z10's. Now how do you like them Apples!
Regardless of how the battle of the smartphones go, it is unlikely that iOS (Apple's Operating System) will easily displace Android (which is likely to be featured in Samsung's S4) as the leading smartphone platform anytime soon. While the two top contenders duke it out publically and privately for the number one and two spots, Blackberry and Microsoft will likely be battling for the third spot with their respective Operating systems.
Investors in either of these companies will do well to remember that "trend is your friend". Watch how these battles play out, and make sure you are aligned with the company whose sales units and margins, and not just sales revenues, trend upward. Short-term sales can easily be captured by offering low-cost products to consumers. But once margin pressures start to hurt, a low-cost seller will ultimately be forced to ditch the low-cost marketing strategy.