Ahead of Galaxy S3 launch, Samsung still trails behind iPhone in UK
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Samsung's Galaxy S3 is due to be launched in the UK on Thursday evening, the followup to its enormously successful S2 smartphone which helped it reach the top spot in the world smartphone market.
The introduction of the phone – expected to be very much like the S2, but with a larger 4.8in screen (compared to the 4.3in of the S2), running Ice Cream Sandwich, the 4.0 version of Google's Android software, and with a faster quad-core processor – will see an event in London's Earls Court, with streaming live video to some phone shops in the capital.
The S3 isn't expected to depart radically from the successful offerings of the S2 or Galaxy Nexus, the Google-branded phone made by Samsung which was intended to showcase Ice Cream Sandwich but has not sold strongly.
The top 10 smartphones/mobile phones list on Amazon UK, which shows the most popular SIM-free devices (sold without a contract) point to the 5in Galaxy Note and S2 as the two most popular on the site; the Nexus is presently ranked 19th.
But according to ComScore, Samsung still has some way to go in the UK market. New data released by the company say that despite Samsung leading in the world market, with a 29% share of smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2012, in the UK the "installed base" of Apple's iPhone is larger, with 26% of all current smartphone users in the UK at the end of March 2012.
At the end of that month a total of 27.2 million people in the UK have a smartphone, representing 55% of the total mobile audience – up from 39%, or 19.3 million, in March 2011.
According to ComScore's figures, Google's Android has the highest penetration, powering more than 40% (10.9 million) of those.
Samsung is the fourth largest smartphone provider, it says, with 4.4m handsets in use (16.2%) – though that has risen dramatically from 1.3m (6.8%) at the end of March 2011.
That represents more than a tripling in user numbers, almost certainly driven by the S2, which was launched in May 2011 in the UK. Samsung lies behind HTC and RIM for user base in the UK.
However, ComScore's numbers suggest that it is the Galaxy Ace S5830 – launched in January 2011, and with 1.05 million users – that is the leader, rather than the S2, which has 919,000 users. The Nexus doesn't figure among the top five Samsung models, according to ComScore.
Among Android handset makers, HTC still leads in the UK, with 40% of the Android installed base, but Samsung is close behind with 37%. The two are now duelling for dominance with HTC's recent release of the HTC One X.
Samsung could make it on volume alone, suggests ComScore: it has released the most handsets since 2011 (24) with Sony Ericsson (14) and HTC (13) rounding the top three. In comparison, Apple has released four since 2011 (the iPhone 4 and 4S, each in two colours).
For the Galaxy Note, the "phablet" which some research companies class as a tablet (because its 5in screen marks their lower bound for that category), ComScore doesn't have figures for the numbers in the UK, saying the sample size is too low – though in the five largest EU countries it surveys (UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain) it found 509,000 users of the Galaxy Note in March 2012, reaching 0.2% of the total mobile market for those countries.
(c) 2012 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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