There’s a lot at stake for Samsung with the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone.
The company’s top-end smartphone line has enjoyed unstoppable sales growth since the launch of the Galaxy S3 in mid-2012. Samsung can’t maintain that pace of growth — key to its pursuit of Apple — if the S4 doesn’t perform just as well as its predecessor.
Thanks to the S3, the Galaxy line has run neck-and-neck with the iPhone series for the title of the world’s best-selling smartphone franchise on a quarterly basis. In fact, in the third quarter of 2012 Galaxy devices briefly overtook the iPhone in sales, only to lose the top spot the next quarter as shipments of the new iPhone 5 ramped up, according to estimates from Raymond James, an investment firm.
Raymond James reckons Samsung will ride the S4 to the top spot in global smartphone sales this quarter. But long-term success depends on how consumers take to the S4.
Samsung does have one more advantage. The Galaxy line is more diverse than the iPhone offering. The Galaxy Note II, with its 5.55-inch screen, offers a hybrid device midway between a smartphone and a tablet. Apple has nothing comparable to it in its iPhone lineup.
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