The Android-based smartphones sold across the aisle from the iPhone 4 on AT&T and on T-Mobile, the nation’s smallest major carrier.
Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone is a blockbuster globally and recent numbers show it is poised for similar success in the US. The high end smartphone boasts a super-thin form factor with 4-inch Super-AMOLED display and a speedy 1GHz Hummingbird processor.
The knock on Android so far has been that its success rests on the fact that it is sold on Verizon, the nation’s biggest and some say best mobile network. ‘If the iPhone was sold on Verizon, no one would be buying Android’ goes the argument.
Samsung says they’ve sold 1 million T-Mobile Vibrants and AT&T Captivates in less than a month and a half in the US. That emphatically proves that Android’s success doesn’t rely on AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity.
Samsung launched on August 15th against the iPhone on AT&T with almost no marketing from the US’s exclusive iPhone carrier. At the same time it launched on T-Mobile, the smallest carrier in the US. While T-Mobile did throw some resources at marketing their version, called Vibrant, their customer base is dwarfed by AT&T, Verizon and even Sprint.
So why the success?
I think Samsung’s numbers are a result of selling superphones ‘supercheap’. Google makes the OS for free on the back of ad revenues. Samsung, as a hardware OEM, makes great phone parts for Apple (AAPL) but can also do really well for itself without Apple’s huge margins. You basically are getting a lighter iPhone 4-class phone with a bigger, brighter screen for a much cheaper price.
Cheaper? AT&T (T) and T-Mobile advertise their 16GB Galaxy S smartphones for $200 with plan, the same as an iPhone 4 16GB. While that may be true (and a whole other post), most people are buying these online for
or close to it. T-Mobile’s Vibrant has previously been free (currently $49) online while
AT&T’s Captivate is now free with a plan
Competition between the two carriers also probably drives the price down significantly as well. AT&T doesn’t have to compete against anyone in the US for iPhone sales.
The success isn’t limited to the US. It took Samsung 19 days to sell a million Galaxy S smartphones globally and they did that before the device came to the US. Samsung announced it had sold 300,000 in S. Korea alone during that time and 900,000 for the quarter. By admittedly blurry comparison, Apple’s iPhone sold
million iPhone 4s in the five biggest global markets in 22 days.
I reviewed both the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant here. (Verdict: Great but lackluster GPS)
If you think Samsung’s first month and a half were impressive, consider that in the next two weeks, the phones go on sale at Verizon and Sprint. Sprint’s Epic 4G has a physical keyboard,a front facing camera and is ready for pre-order at Amazon/launch on Tuesday, while Verizon’s Fascinate version is already ready for pre-order at Best Buy for September 9th launch.
Here’s the Verizon Fascinate video, below, while I reviewed Sprint’s Epic 4G here.
Press release follows: