Samsung was the undisputed king of smartphone sales in the second quarter, selling twice as many smartphones as Apple, according to a report released Thursday from mobile research firm Juniper Research.
Samsung, which grew its Android-based line of Galaxy smartphones in May with the launch of the new Galaxy S III, sold 52.1 million smartphones during the second quarter, compared to Apple's 26 million iPhones.
Juniper Research attributed much of Samsung's lead to the fact that nearly 10 million units of the new Galaxy S III shipped in June alone. It has quickly grown to become the iPhone's biggest contender, sporting new features such as near-field communication, voice activation and a capability called "Smart Stay," which, through the phone's front-facing camera, can detect users' eye movements to determine whether it should keep its screen lit up for further reading or web browsing.
The Galaxy S III also has more screen real estate than the iPhone with a 4.8-inch screen, a design feature that could be fueling its adoption. The iPhone's 3.5-inch screen seems "dwarfed" in comparison, Juniper Research said in the report.
Samsung's success also stems from its ability to offer smartphones across all price tiers. While the new Galaxy S III sells for $199, other Samsung smartphones, such as its Stratosphere, sport price tags as low as $49.99, according to the report.
What's more, Samsung has become the flagship brand for Android-based smartphones, while competitors that also leverage Google's mobile OS, such as HTC and Motorola, struggle to keep up. Sony, with its new Xperia smartphone, has the brand recognition to potentially rival Samsung but simply hasn't won over consumers, Juniper Research said.
"Sony should be doing better: It, like Samsung, has a global name and the Xperia brand is well-established, but its marketing and products have been disappointing so far," said Daniel Ashdown, research analyst at Juniper Research, in the report.
Despite Samsung's significant second-quarter lead, Apple has a shot at narrowing this gap with the launch of its fifth-generation iPhone, expected this fall. Last quarter's lull in iPhone sales most likely resulted from consumers waiting for this release, Juniper projected. Apple CEO Tim Cook also alluded to this during the company's third-quarter earnings call this week.
"We are reading the same speculation and rumors that you are," Cook said on the call. "We think this has caused some pause in customer purchasing."
Cook also reported that Apple's iPhone sales in its fiscal third quarter dropped 26 percent compared to last quarter, or about 2 million fewer than analysts were anticipating.
PUBLISHED JULY 26, 2012