S III to continue Samsung's APAC success

Korean electronics giant's latest Galaxy smartphone will likely see strong showing in region, but needs to find ways to out-innovate other Android handset makers, note analysts.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S III, will follow in the footsteps of its predecessors and find success in the Asia-Pacific market, but it will need to consider owning a software and services platform to pull away from other Android-based handset makers, analysts say.

CK Lu, senior research analyst at Gartner, pointed out that the Korean phonemaker's latest device, which was officially launched Friday morning, will generate similar interests and adoption among Asia's consumers as its two earlier Galaxy smartphones. According to Samsung, its combined sales figure for Galaxy S and S II was 30 million units as of October 2011, while more recently in February 2012, it stated that 20 million units of the S II was sold 10 months into the launch of the device.  

The analyst believes the latest Galaxy device will perform just as strongly because Samsung has become an "all-round" smartphone vendor that brings together the best of both hardware and software capabilities.

"Even the best hardware vendors such as Samsung has found it difficult to differentiate on hardware alone," he explained. That said, the hardware featured on the S III such as its slim design and large battery capacity remains top notch and shows the company is still one of the leaders in this aspect, he noted. According to Samsung's statement, the Galaxy S III features a 4.8-inch Super Amoled display, a 2,100 mAh battery, an 8-megapixel camera and a 1.9-megapixel front camera.

Lu did point out that Samsung has yet to utilize the relatively pricey Android-based Galaxy devices to target China's low-cost smartphone market

It has not stopped the Korean company from being the topselling phonemaker in China though. According to the latest study from research firm Canalys released on Thursday, Samsung leads the Chinese smartphone market with 22 percent share, with Apple coming in second at 19 percent.

Samsung, too, believed the S III will continue to do well in the Southeast Asia region. Lee Jui Siang, director of Samsung Asia's mobile business, told ZDNet Asia's sister site, CNET Asia: "The Galaxy S III will be a big hit in all our markets in Southeast Asia. I believe it will be a big winner in the market."

Software, services platform next?
Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, had earlier on Thursday released a statement stressing the importance of the Galaxy S III  in helping Samsung consolidate its position at the top of the mobile industry.

"The company has built its reputation on producing the 'must-have' Android smartphone and, in the process, has become the poster child for the Android platform," he said.

This means that the S III will not only compete with other Android-based devices such as HTC's One X and Sony's Experia range of devices, but it will also rival the next iteration of Apple's iPhone, the analyst added.

As such, Leach noted that Samsung's next business challenge will be to decide whether to own a software and services platform and mitigate the risk of other manufacturers producing a more desirable Android device.

"Having a successful service proposition would help the company build a deeper relationship with its customers," he said.

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