Comp., Ltd.'s (SEO 005930) may have its hands full legally
dealing with lawsuits from Apple, Inc. (AAPL), but thus far that hasn't held it back from
posting some big sales numbers. Samsung, who trails only Apple in smartphone
manufacturer market share, announced it had sold ten million Galaxy S II smartphones
in less than six months.
I. Galaxy S II Selling Approximately Twice as Fast as Its Predecessor
The figure seems particularly impressive as U.S. carriers are just now getting
around to deploying the Galaxy S II.
The original Galaxy S only sold 10 million units for all of 2010 despite having
variants deployed on all four of America's top carriers
-- Verizon Communications Inc.'s (VZ), AT&T, Inc. (T), Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA,
and Sprint Nextel Corp. (S).
The Galaxy S II was much faster out the gate. Launching in April in
Samsung's home country of South Korea, the handset reached sales of 1 million
in a month and 3 million in 55 days, exclusively within the Korean market.
By July, Samsung had moved 5 million Galaxy S II smartphones, as sales
had expanded to include European and Japanese carriers.
On September 16 Sprint launch the Epic 4G Touch, helping propel Samsung to the
new market of 10 million units sold. That figure should soon increase.
AT&T is releasing a Galxy S II on October 2 for $199.99 with two-year
The phone is expected to land on T-Mobile as well sometime this fall, but
Verizon customers may be left out in the
There are two variants of the Galaxy S II making the rounds. The original one packs a 1.2 GHz Exynos ARM
dual-core Cortex-A9 chip, with 1 GB of DDR2, and a 800x480 pixel 4.27-inch
screen. A second, newer variant brings a faster CPU
-- 1.5 GHz -- and a 4.5-inch display (still at the same resolution). The
Galaxy S II provides an interesting alternative to the iPhone; while it lacks
the high resolution of the Phone 4's Retina Display, it has a much larger
screen (particularly for the 4.5-inch variant), a faster CPU, and more RAM.
All the versions run on the latest smartphone release of Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android operating system, 2.3.4
II. Omnia W Gets Official -- No Love for the U.S.?
In related news, Samsung unveiled its latest member of the "Omnia"
Family, the Omnia W. The Omnia lineup has traditionally been powered by
operating systems from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), barring the oddball Omnia HD -- a Symbian driven
smartphone. Past versions included the Omnia, Omnia II, and assorted
Omnia Pro models. With the arrival of the new Windows Phone 7, the Omnia
7 was sold as a replacement to the WP7-powered Samsung Focus, in some regions outside
the U.S. Both phones were essentially the same, with a 4.0-inch display
and 1 GHz Snapdragon ARM CPU from Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM), though the Omnia branded model lacked a
microSD expansion slot.
With the new Omnia W the brand name has a new hardware entrant, just in time
for the release of Windows Phone
The phone features Qualcomm MSM8255T 1.4 GHz Krait-core based CPU from Qualcomm.
Note this is a single-core design. For those curious the reason why
Samsung uses Qualcomm in its Windows Phone 7 handsets is because Microsoft
forces all its hardware partners to standardize to Qualcomm chips. This
likely comes much to the chagrin of Samsung and rival ARM chipmakers like
NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA). But presumably it does allow some
optimizations on WP7 that would be impossible, or at least difficult on a
multi-CPU OS like Android.
The screen has shrunk, disappointingly, to 3.7-inches, though it does pack a
respectable 800x480 resolution. The phone's memory is also a bit anemic
at 512 MB. The phone packs a 5 MP camera and adds the microSD slot the
Omnia 7 lacked.
One interesting feature should be the addition of near
field communications. With Mango finally bringing NFC to Windows Phone 7, the new
phone will be Samsung's first WP7 handset to pack the hardware necessary to
exploit the feature. This should allow the phone to be swiped like a
credit card for payments on compatible readers.
So far Windows Phone 7 sales have been very poor despite perhaps the most
"outside-the-box" interface on the market. However, Microsoft
and Samsung surely are hoping the Mango hardware will be better received than
the first generation platform.
Critical to that will be carrier support. On a troubling note the press
release makes no mention of U.S. launch plans, stating:
The Omnia W will be commercially available starting in Italy from
end-October and gradually rolled to globally including Europe, CIS, Latin
America, Africa, South East and South West Asia.
possible that Samsung may have a separate U.S. Mango handset in store; similar
to its strategy with the Omnia 7/Focus
Samsung currently is facing paying licensing
fees to Microsoft for both Android and Windows Phone 7 handsets.
One advantage of embracing the WP7 platform is that Apple has thus far
been too afraid to sue Microsoft in the mobile realm. In other words
Samsung doesn't have to worry much about WP7 handsets being banned in some
Apple-friendly jurisdictions, though that advantage may be a moot point if
customers don't express interest in Mango.