The Next Big Thing may already be here but the next next  big thing is about to show its fangs on March 14th in New York City. I’d like to take a look at how the impending unveiling of Samsung’s next flagship device, Galaxy S IV, may impact the sales of its closest competitors. The usual suspects Apple, BlackBerry, HTC and Nokia will all be put under the microscope. I’ll take a look at each company’s flagship offering in order of most impacted to least impacted by the Galaxy S IV’s arrival. Shall we get started.

BlackBerry Z10

There are mixed reports of how well the initial launch of the BlackBerry reboot is going. Some analysts and channel checkers are drastically cutting their projections from several million in the quarter to a few hundred thousand. Others are citing figures like the best selling start for any BlackBerry device ever to back up their claims that the future is as bright as they thought and that BlackBerry is firmly in the game. Given the relative size of the U.K. and Canadian market when it comes the global smartphone market even great success in these two markets can’t shield the company from losing even more market share going forward. Here’s why.

The Galaxy S IV carries the positive imagery of the Galaxy brand. Just taking a look at the recent Super Bowl adverts and last night’s Oscars takeover Samsung has already begun laying the groundwork for the Galaxy S IV’s arrival. I had a few people on my Facebook friend list talking about the iPhone 5 and someone chimed in to ask when is the Galaxy S IV coming out. Folks, when someone interrupts an iPhone conversation to ask specifically for the release date of the next Galaxy S you know Samsung is doing things right.

Not only is Samsung laying the groundwork by Saturating the market with clever and simple marketing they have begun to very publicly cite their business security features. They are clearly making a concerted play for enterprise customers and they are doing so on two fronts. The ATIV brand from Windows Phone in coordination with Microsoft and the Galaxy brand running Android and their S.A.F.E. & Knox initiatives.

I guarantee Samsung releases the Galaxy S IV to record numbers globally that dwarf BlackBerry. What is even more important is that now people can feel relatively confident the new Galaxy S IV will be released in the next couple months. People have no problem waiting for a much desired phone and will turn a blind eye to anything that does not completely blow them away both in features and popularity. It is a case of bad timing for BlackBerry in the U.S. The delay of the BlackBerry Z10 & Q10 in the U.S. to mid-March means the hype around the Galaxy S IV will be at a fever pitch and nobody who isn’t a BlackBerry fanboy will bother giving the BlackBerry Z10 a second look.

Prediction: Galaxy S IV will sell 25x or better than the BlackBerry Z10 from the moment it is announced.

HTC One

This was a toss up between the HTC One and Nokia Lumia 920. Both will be heavily affected by the arrival of the Galaxy S IV but I’ll lean towards the HTC One as being more adversely affected by the debut of the Galaxy flagship.

There is no doubt HTC put their best device forward with the introduction of the HTC One. The longer it takes for the One to arrive in stores globally the worse HTC’s fate will be. Never forget that Samsung has the benefit of strong nationalistic support. That will guarantee millions of phones sold in the opening weekend. Globally the Galaxy brand is so much stronger than the One brand mostly due to HTC’s inability to prioritize marketing. The One is an excellent device from both a hardware and software standpoint. The one thing I’ve learned in business is that consumers are sold things. Samsung will make sure their Galaxy S IV will be on all the major carriers and carry prime positioning by the staff. HTC, if history is any indication, will leave it up to phone to sell itself. The One is too good not to sell any units so it will sell but far below the level HTC needs to regain their good fortunes. A shame really but HTC is to blame and nobody else.

HTC clearly doesn’t have any intention of positioning the One as a business device and instead is playing to the “cool” crowd. Unfortunately people have become engrained in how they relate to the world around them. BlinkFeed won’t change anything and neither will HTC Zoe. People will browse Facebook, load pictures up and share through Instagram and use Twitter to keep up to date. Investing so heavily in “me too” features will prove to be their undoing.

Prediction: Galaxy S IV will dominate Android sales for 2013 and the biggest loser in all of this will be HTC who continues to make solid hardware but stubbornly continues to invest and waste millions in pushing their Sense paradigm.

Nokia Lumia 920

Having been out on the market the longest the Lumia 920 will definitely be viewed as last year’s offering. There are two things that lead me to believe it will fare better than the HTC One when it is up against the Galaxy S IV. First, Nokia is running Windows Phone which gives it a completely different marketing battle against Samsung. They both are positioning themselves as business capable devices and they both have compelling features to promote. HTC shows no signs of caring about such things. Nokia, however, managed to insulate themselves against the next wave of devices by stuffing so much great technology into the Lumia 920. It still comes equipped with NFC & Wireless charging. It still features a fantastic camera, can be had for much lower than the Galaxy S IV and has proven to substantially upgrade the mindshare it enjoys with consumers.

Just this morning Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced that over 100 businesses were undergoing trials to test the Lumia 920 as a business device. Couple that with recent public announcements and the company clearly has momentum going. The Lumia 920 was engineered to have staying power for the next year even up against what the company surely knew would be an onslaught of quad-core devices that would make their way to market before the next flagship would roll off the Nokia assembly line.

Prediction: Galaxy S IV will sell about 15x better than the Lumia 920. But that doesn’t spell doom for Nokia. The Lumia 920 will continue to see adoption and drive the Lumia brand forward while helping the company position itself for it’s next flagship device.

Apple iPhone 5S?

Certainly the only brand that trumps the Galaxy brand in today’s mobile space is the iPhone. The battle for best selling phone of 2013 will no doubt come down to the next iteration of the iPhone and the Galaxy S IV. Apple has seemingly been in a lull in advertising the iPhone recently. Instead much of the focus has been on continuing to push the iPad family of devices into the consumer focus.

Apple enjoys strong supply chain and strong pinned up demand for the iPhone. We all know that the iPhone will sell in the tens of millions each quarter in 2013 that it is available. The only question is can it once again outsell the Galaxy S flagship. I’m talking strictly the 5S. My hunch here is that the iPhone will continue to sell like hotcakes especially if Samsung focuses too much on niche, gimmicky features that most people don’t care about and won’t ever use like floating gestures.

Prediction: The Galaxy S IV will be outsold by the next iteration of the iPhone 5S when it is released. Apple will have had the opportunity to craft a story around the iPhone’s advantages and will have missed most of the initial launch buzzsaw that the Galaxy S IV will create. If the expected 5in. display size is true that will turn off enough people to keep the title of best selling phone with Apple.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hey what about that Nexus 4?

    Is TouchWiz still locked in or can it be disabled? Sense?

    Man you can write your ass off. It’s like a big Kristofer copypasta dump except it’s apparently your own OC. I can write a lot too though. So.. how about I challenge you to a words-per-minute duel, ten bucks?

    • The Nexus 4 is going to sell regardless because it is pure Android and inexpensive off contract.

      Major difference between Samsung using TouchWiz is they’ve learned to get out the way for the most part. HTC views Sense as their Android identity and will sink it swim alongside it.

      I’m always up for a challenge.

      • It’s not the pure Android experience, that would be a vanilla Android build (though you could install that easily on any Nexus if inclined). This is Android with Google’s apps added. So more of the pure Google experience.

        … which I think will help make it sell not because of pricing but because more and more people are learning that Nexus means no random unfamiliar crap like TouchWiz, Motoblur, Sense and carrier garbage, and so I think part of the increasing success of the Nexus line highlights that perhaps these OEMs and carriers should just knock it off already. Meanwhile, expect phones holding the Nexus torch to continue to do succeed more over time.

  2. Lay my ass down for HTC One, but if this Tim Cook peckerwood can get Dre to put Beats Audio on the iPhone 5S, hellll yeah I’m down.

    Maybe you already know this but if you lay out a slip ‘n slide or even better one of those Twister mats, plug your Beats-equipped phone into your boombox, put on any old Dre or Ice Tea track, get some girlies over (tell them you’re giving away some Jimmy Choos or whatever), blaze up some Budweiser Platinum, you see where this is going?

    I think you do. Beats Audio, that’s Nokia’s ticket (and your own VIP first class ticket to booty paradise — one way).

    • Lol, I can already see the commercial for it. I can get with that.

      Have a whole series of commercials like every time you turn the One on its a party in the making. Sadly, HTC won’t come near doing anything so epic.

  3. You might be correct, that is more of a pure Google experience. I do think Nexus devices will succeed more and more over time.

  4. > Galaxy S IV, may impact the sales of its closest competitors.
    Any Phone will, it does not take a Galaxy to do that.

    > Regarding BBZ10
    > Given the relative size of the U.K. and Canadian market when it comes the global smartphone market even …
    BlackBerry DOES pursue the Global Market and those figures go underreported.
    BlackBerry has a following, just like Apple and nowhere near as strong.
    BlackBerry has better Security and Partitioning making it more suitable as a BYO.

    > Regarding Nokia Lumias:
    > They both are positioning themselves as business capable devices …
    Did you mix up something, neither Company seems to be doing that particularly well (if at all).

    There is something about the “Quality Feeling” of Nokia (and they are not expensive) along with great Cameras.

    Also, the 920 does Windows and if that is what you want no reason to go elsewhere.

    What may be interesting is what is rumored to be up Nokia’s Sleeve (leading edge + even better Camera).

    > Regarding the iPhone
    Galaxy can not stand against the iPhone. Not the iPhone is “better” but that IF there is bad Press and Problems are CLEARLY pointed out the Lineup will STILL be around the Block for (four) days in advance.

    > Regarding the HTC:
    Read htcpro Site. The HTC One is clearly going after ‘Business Accounts’.

    The HTC’s OIS and bigger Pixels, along with BlinkFeed, Zoe, and dual Speakers (on front) and the front Camera’s wide angle Lens make the Phone ALL about interacting with: the Phone, the Web, and your Friends.

    I think that will capture new Fans faster than Apple did and really push the Phone forward.

    BIG IF, the New Galaxy IV was going to live up to the rumors and have AMOLED and OctaCore THEN it would be really great — but apparently they will not be doing that so possibly it is minutely better than HTC (for Benchmarks), but with it’s bigger size and equal resolution I do not see it as pulling ahead.

    HTC has done a lot to promote it’s new Phone. It is going to be available at some Carriers since they have the ‘Reservation System’ on some Websites already.

    Galaxy dropped the ball, but they likely will sell quite a few, it just is not clear WHY someone with a PREVIOUS Model would want to pay again for the GSIV for an incremental increase (better to wait 6 months for OctaCore and AMOLED, even 64 Bits).

    Only the new Lumia could beat the HTC One and Nokia is not saying anything about that Phone yet (it should be really great though).

    • Re: Z10
      – I realize that BlackBerry does pursue the global market. It is just that they have a strong presence in emerging markets due to the relatively low cost of their phones. With the new BB10 devices they lose the cost advantage.

      I think BlackBerry will actually be profitable because they are working with Apple level profit margins now on their devices. As long as they fans continue to purchase phones every year they will turn a profit.

      Re: Lumia 920
      – Nokia is making a clear push to get their Lumia lineup of Windows Phones into the business sector. They are actually getting new companies every month to make the switch. We’ve seen a couple announcements in the last couple weeks that illustrate that. I’m not saying the Lumia 920 is being postioned as the de facto business phone, ala BlackBerry, but Nokia is definitely stating their case for business use.

      Re: iPhone
      – The Galaxy S IV will sell very well this year. History has taught me to give the edge to the iPhone for overall sales but it won’t be by a wide margin.

      Re: HTC One
      – HTC is not aggressively pursuing business accounts. Even during their presentation they only talked up consumer features and nothing about Sense 5.0 is about business productivity. HTC is great at lip service.

      Also for my money the Samsung will prove to be a more valuable device. Recently i’ve started to look through the lens of the non-techie consumer. They don’t care about an 8-core CPU. Just think about the iPhone. Apple never markets their tech specs with the exception of the retina display. I know many people who just bought a Galaxy S3 simply because it is the buzz device in Android still.

      Sadly HTC will leave the One to rot on shelves once it is released because they refuse to devote themselves into marketing which they actually did well when they used to reign on top.

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