Samsung's Note 7 is great, but is it enough to topple Apple's stronghold?

So the Note 7 has just been launched in New York with a parallel event in London... We have had hands-on time with the device and I think everyone agrees it is incredible.

Samsung have finally gotten the blueprint for their flagship devices right... looks, features and that elusive wow factor that a lot of devices lack these days.

It is increasingly difficult for manufacturers to have standout devices in a market where tech leaps have dwindled. There have few major jumps between generations of smartphones compared to what it was like, say, 6-7 years back- it takes a lot of fringe features, price cuts and millions in advertising spend for  a device stand out amongst the crowd.

And it is not for the lack of trying: LG with their modular G5, Yotaphone with the two-screened phone, Nextbit with the memory in the cloud Robin... But none of them have really clicked, and it has also led to the crash and burn of many manufacturers... Sony Mobile made a profit of about $4 million after having to pare back its mobile division drastically and so when in this environment you hear that Samsung have sold a mind-boggling 81 million phones in the first three months of the year, you sit up and take notice.

The Korean giant was also able to markedly increasing its market share and outsell Apple by two to one in the process.

Guess who sold more phones than Apple? ... Samsung!

And then came news that in July 2016, Apple had sold their billionth handset. One of the best summaries of the announcement came from Horace Dediu who called the iPhone the best product of all time, other products on his list being the Harry Potter series of books, VW Beetle and Rubik's Cube.

To sell more than the best product of all time is difficult at best, but then Samsung have done well to keep the momentum going when others have failed. Samsung's mobile division reported 3.89 trillion won ($3.38 billion) in profits in Q1 this year, a fraction of the $13.987 billion in operating profits Apple reported for the same quarter, but a profit none the less. 

Quick round of simple math later, you realise Samsung make about $50 in profits on each of the handsets they sell, be it the Galaxy S7 or a humble J5. 

And when you think about the next Apple handset that's due for release next month and all the leaks suggesting it (they?!) might not be up to much, you realise that beating the best product of all time is not virtual reality for Samsung any more.

 

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