The surprising surge in Samsung smartphone sales

Samsung Galaxy S 2

Samsung is an experienced player in the mobile space, but few expected to see such a stunning rise amidst some seriously stiff competition.

Apple is currently number one in the market, with Samsung in second and Nokia slumping to third, according to data from Strategy Analytics. If you look at Samsung's growth rate, however, it looks like the South Korean vendor will be top dog very soon indeed.

In the second quarter, Samsung achieved 500 per cent year on year growth in smartphone shipments. Apple saw 142 per cent growth. Samsung shipped approximately 19 million smartphones, whilst Apple shipped 1.3 million more. If Samsung keeps this pace up, when the next quarterly results emerge it will have overtaken Apple with plenty of breathing space between the two as well.

Samsung will have a clean sweep in terms of numbers. It will be the new Nokia.[pquote/]

In the past few years, most of the excitement around smartphones in the UK has focused on Apple and HTC, with RIM recruiting plenty of BlackBerry users too. Samsung now looks set to not just join that group of illustrious manufacturers it looks set to lead them.

The main success story has been the hugely popular Galaxy phones. There were more than five million Galaxy S II shipments in its first 85 days of release after the device received hugely impressive scores from reviewers across the board.

As for how it will overtake Apple in the global smartphone race, Samsung will continue to take a different tack to the iPhone maker.

"Samsung has been taking a reverse approach of what Apple do. Apple make a single product. They specify exactly how it looks and what it does," said Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum.

"Samsung will spin variants upon variants to different markets, to different operators in different geographic markets. They've had a lot of success with that approach."

Samsung, unlike Nokia, chose to go with Android. As everyone who has a modicum of awareness about what's been happening in the smartphone space, Android has seen stratospheric growth. In just a few years, it has become the most used mobile OS on the planet. No doubt its success has helped drive profits at manufacturers producing phones for the Google software.

Whatever intentions Samsung has with Bada, the vendor is unlikely to focus too heavily on one single platform a mistake Nokia made with Symbian and could even be making again by primarily betting on Windows Phone 7.

"Samsung haven't hamstrung themselves up in knots with that. They've got their own proprietary stuff, then they're happy to dip into third party stuff which they've used effectively," Leach added.

"They haven't had the overhead of the man hours in developing a platform and owning it. Really, they've just gotten on with running on a product by product basis, which is the basis of their success."

Samsung doesn't appear to mind what OS is running on its phones, as long as they are good products.

Whilst it seems close to certain Samsung will overtake Apple soon in the smartphone space, it could also claim number one spot in the overall mobile industry by chomping away at Nokia's market share.

"It's an area where Samsung started to poach, but they're still not as strong as Nokia. It depends on whether Nokia continue to lose ground even there," Leach said.

"Where Nokia lose, Samsung are in a really good position to pick up."

Looking at the market, Apple and Nokia won't be the top players in either the mobile or smartphone industries. So although Apple will make more profit, Samsung will have a clean sweep in terms of numbers. It will be the new Nokia.[/pb]

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.