15 Comments

Summary:

Samsung hit a billion dollar setback in the courts against Apple in August, but that same month it sold the top smartphone on 3 of the 4 big U.S. carrier networks. The Galaxy S III beat out the iPhone 4S, making for a good sales battle.

Samsung Galaxy S III, Android
photo: Samsung

The battle between Samsung and Apple rages on, but this time, it’s Samsung coming out on top. For the month of August, the top-selling phone at three of the four big U.S. carriers was Samsung’s new Galaxy S III smartphone, according to Apple Insider. The data came from carrier store checks by analyst Michael Walkley with Canaccord Genuity and mark the first time since launch that the iPhone 4S wasn’t the top handset.

Galaxy S III handsetThis news follows the more than 1 billion in damages that Samsung may have to pay Apple due to various patent infringements from prior Samsung smartphones. It’s not likely to offset that much of any such damages, and it’s even less likely that this trend will continue for Samsung: Apple today announced a press event on Sept. 12 where it is expected to launch the iPhone 5.

Indeed part of Samsung’s success with the Galaxy S III is due to consumers waiting for the next iPhone; those that already know that an Apple smartphone is their preference could be holding off on a phone purchase. But Samsung should still be happy with the sales “win” for August as it shows that new and upgrading customers are interested in the Galaxy S III. And why not? In my June review, I considered it “the defining Android phone.”

This situation could also help explain why Samsung didn’t follow the same launch strategy from the Galaxy S II last year. That handset was announced in May, but took until November to finally appear on all four major U.S. carriers. With the Galaxy S III debuting across the U.S. in June — just one month after the phone’s introduction — Samsung got a jump on sales prior to any new Apple hardware, with 10 million sales in the first month.

Google Now personal assistant on Nexus 7Again, Samsung is unlikely to hold its sales lead against Apple when the new iPhone arrives, but it will be interesting to see what happens a few months later. Could the Galaxy S III again take the top spot away from the next iPhone at Verizon, AT&T or Sprint? I think it’s possible, especially once Samsung releases the Android 4.1 update for the Galaxy S III, which adds the proactive Google Now personal assistant and performance boost in the latest version of Android.

Regardless of how the next few months play out between these two phones, the situation is a good reminder of how few others are competing against Apple in the smartphone market. Motorola, HTC, LG and others are simply hanging on at this point while Samsung is taking the Android charge against iOS.

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  1. I’ve got $5 that says it won’t be the top seller this month. Any takers?

    1. Save it you’ll need it to buy out your iPhone 4s contract so you can get the taller iphone that will do the same thing ;)

  2. zzzzz.. expected, but short lived thats for sure. Sept. 12 this all changes!

  3. About time. Its only taken them 5 years.

  4. Get over it iPhone is not what it use to be. Perhaps could it be the S3 is a BETTER phone?????

    1. That’s an arbitrary statement. Who are you to tell me what is a better phone when you don’t even know what my needs are?

  5. Are you sure? With Samsung involved that probably is the number of phones shipped not sold.

    1. Danox, the source of the data — noted in the post — is sales and inventory checks at carrier retail stores. Neither Samsung nor Apple provided any sales figures. As a result, it’s a check on phones sold, not shipped.

  6. The more I think about it, the more I feel is that Apple victory may reverberate on them. So many of us who never would even venture anywhere close to a product anything other then Apple, were curious to see what Samsung had to offer. And this weekend at a Sams club looked up both Galaxy SIII and IPhone 4S. I was greatly tempted by SIII.

    The lawsuit has made too many of us as sideline jurors and start to compare the product on their merit not just on – Made in Apple …

  7. There is another possibility: If the iPhone 5 is underwhelming in hardware and/or software, compared to the expectations, all the swing buyers who were waiting to see how the iPhone 5 turns out, might instead end up buying S3, providing Samsung with another bump in sales. The iPhone 5 has to be really really great to be truly successful. Just another incremental upgrade will not help Apple this time.

  8. hahaha until the new iPhone is released. Then Samsung Galaxy III will be a faint memory. Suck it Samsung.

  9. I have t-mobile cell phone service, unlimited data (2gb at 4g speeds). I have At&t u-verse service at home including wireless internet as well. I am planning on buying a samsung galaxy tablet. Do I need only wi-fi if I use at home?

  10. You mean just like they said they had sold 4 million and then in court, where they couldn’t serve ballony, it turned out to be 30,000.

    Ooook

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