Can Samsung’s plastic Galaxy S4 compete with Apple’s iPhones at this price?

“‘If you’re looking for Samsung’s new Galaxy S4 to define a novel new era of smartphone greatness, it’s time to temper your expectations,’ wrote CNET just after the launch of the company’s latest attempt to increase its dominance of the $358 billion global market,” Meghan Foley writes for Wall St. Cheat Sheet.

“But Samsung — and its wireless partner AT&T — seem to have a lot of confidence that the device will appeal to customers, even if it received a rough welcome from analysts,” Foley writes. “The carrier- manufacturer duo pushed the device’s base price up $50 over the its predecessor and Apple’s rival iPhone 5S [sic: she means iPhone 5].”

Foley writes, “At AT&T, the Galaxy S4 will cost $250 with a two-year contract… The Galaxy S4 is the first of three Samsung handsets that will be released this year with the aim of taking Apple’s smartphone success down a notch. But early reviews indicate that Samsung’s latest shot at the iPhone was merely a glancing blow… ”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple iPhone 5 got over 5X times as many tweets as Samsung’s lackluster Galaxy S4 – March 27, 2013
6 ways Apple’s iPhone 5 beats Samsung’s Galaxy S4 – March 22, 2013
Samsung’s big attempt to gin up some buzz generates crickets – March 20, 2013
Samsung swung wildly and whiffed; Now it’s Apple’s turn at bat – March 19, 2013
Gazelle: Galaxy S4 spurs trade-ins of other Samsung phones, not iPhones – March 18, 2013
HTC president calls Samsung’s Galaxy S4 event embarrassing – March 16, 2013
Tim Cook will sleep easy tonight following Samsung’s Galaxy S4 launch – March 14, 2013
World’s best-selling smartphone: Apple iPhone 5; iPhone 4S #2, third place Samsung Galaxy 3 brings up rear – February 20, 2013

57 Comments

      1. I would bet all of you, that when Apple release a larger screen iPhone, that it will outsell the 4″ version. Just I said a smaller iPad would outsell the full size version.
        People are buying the iPhone becasue it is a great phone, with a great ecosystem, not necessarily for the tiny 4″ screen. For a device that can do so much, a tiny 4″screen is really ridiculous.

        1. I agree that Apple providing a ‘wider’ screen will definitely draw in those that decided that was the reason to switch from the iPhone…

          Thats the funny thing… that little change is what i think would eat up Samsung share… nothing really more drastic would require that…

          And based on what Apple continues to squeeze into their form-factor iPhone 5… i can only imagine what they can include in a iPhone 6.

          1. If the S4 doesn’t sell @$250, they can always lower the price. Then they’ll put a hollow spin on the price reduction, like being consume friendly or some such shyte.

        2. So, you’re saying larger is better for phones and smaller is better for tablets. Perhaps, the iPad Mini sells better because it’s cheaper?

          Anyhow, I’m someone who has an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 4 and prefer the size of the 4. I can easily reach with one hand from corner to corner. With the 5, I have to stretch my thumb to reach from corner to corner. I can do it, I just have more mishits. I like my 5, but I like the feel of the 4 even more. I know if the next iteration gets larger, I’ll like it even less. If I wanted a phablet, I’d just take out my iPad Mini.

          1. I love iPad. Specially with the Cellular option.
            iPad feels too large to travel daily with.

            It (iPad) fits my household beautifully – it goes room to room so fittingly yet typically, it sits in the living room near the television. I have found, that it’s Cellular option is no longer the way to go for iPad… but does come in handy on the occasionally trip.

            My iMac is for working in the den where I need to concentrate more deeply.

            Going out with a iPhone daily has been the right choice in size — yet depending on the user and need.

            iPad mini now interests me more these days, however it is missing a key feature for me. Though it seems small enough in size to carry daily — it also feels big enough for some serious work or play too. Apple, please add Telephone Capabilities to the iPad mini and a winner will be crowned.

            i believe iPad mini with retina and Phone capabilities will be APPLES major win here.

        3. “tiny, tiny, and tiny”
          I have a 4S. I wear glasses. I have ZERO problem using my phone and love its convenience. It slips easily into any pocket on any of my clothes, and I don’t notice it’s there. I once saw a person using a phablet in public. Frankly, I though it looked stupidly clumsy, and it certainly doesn’t slip easily into “any pocket”. There is some limit where increased size becomes stupid. Where that is will be different for different people, but I doubt there is some huge pent-up demand for a markedly larger screen on iPhones.

          1. You know, even as I personally want a larger iPhone, I would probably stick with a the smaller one becasue like you, for me it would be the convenience taking it to the gym. All I am saying if that if there is a choice, people would buy a larger phone. Not saying that there is anything wrong with preferring a smaller one.

        4. Just wait until the LARGEST phone hits the MARKET;
          we all have seen a glimpse of its success already.

          iPad mini with retina screen + cellular telephone capabilities acting totally as a phone.

          Samsung Note will need take notes… to figure out what the hell it went wrong.

          Because, Apple thinks different and does things right… not jumping in guessing what might work.

          DERP
          Droid Extinguished, Rest in Peace.

        5. I have yet to buy a smartphone of any kind as I was going to last year buy the iphone 5 and was hoping it would be 4.5″ in screen size. Although I was doubtful at the time they’d release a phone that big. This year I’ve been looking at the Sony xperia Z, HTC one & the S4, but I’m still not quite satisfied completely with any of them. I just don’t see why Apple can’t make a 3.5″, 4″ & a 4.7 to 5″ iphone, or at the very least have two types of iphones a 4″ & a bigger one at least 4.7″ or bigger. I am one of those people that wants a bigger phone as I’m getting older and the smaller phone is hard to look at for me. I get a lot people want the smaller phone that fits easily in the pocket, so I think Apple should sell 2 sizes of the iphone, I don’t see how they could go wrong doing this, I think they’d only gain more customers having to different sized iphones.

          1. More tooling, higher manufacturing cost, diminishing returns… shall I go on. What Apple learned in the late 80’s to early 90’s was that too much product proliferation is not a good thing. Of source it doesn’t stop people from whining for more choices.

      2. Garbage in, garbage out.

        Its crap like this that drives me crazy. The market (including the “millions of people who would rather have a bigger screen”) has clearly stated that Samsung’s 5″ screen is not a big deal.

        First of all, worldwide, during the December quarter (most recent results) Samsung’s vaunted 5″ screen S3 placed #3 BEHIND the iPhone 5 (4″ screen) and iPhone4S (3.5″ screen and 2+ year old product). That means that for every (as in 1, uno, eins, one) S3 sold, iPhone 4S & 5 sold 3+ units.

        In the US S3 sales were even worse (ratio to iPhone sales). 5″ screen handsets sell well in developing markets where the consumer cannot afford both a handset bAND a tablet. The 5″ screen is a COMPROMISE product with extremely low margins. These are consumers buying hardware with a maximum 2 year effective life (no software upgrades), that do not consume content, hence little, if any, after sale revenue. Samsung’s model is worse than Amazon’s sell at cost/make it on the back end model. At least Amazon has an ecosystem to generate after sale revenues from.

        These are not Apple customers, and they shouldn’t be. While the “average” (I give too much credit) pundit thinks selling “millions” is a good thing, in actuality the “good thing” is selling millions while making a profit. Samsung may sell twice as many handsets, but Apple makes twice the profit. The difference is satisfying the customers needs/expectations.

        That brings us to customer satisfaction. JD Powers just released its customer satisfaction poll, and, no surprise here, Apple was ranked #1 for the 9th consecutive year. Samsung was much lower. That explains why Apple has the highest customer retention rate among all manufacturers.

        Apple does all this without spending Billions on advertising, letting customers sell its product via word of mouth.

        No Apple does not need a 5″ screen on anything.

        1. You couldn’t be any more off base. You avoid the obvious. Apple does not have a larger screen iPhone to sell. Thus all your statistics mean nothing. When Apple brings their larger iPhone to market (and they will as fast as they can) then you can start making comparisons. You can’t make comparisons when you don’t have things to compare Greg. If it isn’t needed Apple will not make it. Right? That’s a yes or no. Apple won’t bring it to market unless they can sell millions. Right? Apple’s research won’t let them go to all the trouble of producing a larger iPhone unless it will sell and sell well. Apple simply made a mistake by underestimating the demand for a larger screen. It happens. And when they bring it to market it will prove that it is needed and desired. But you can’t make comparisons about 5 inch Android phones and the iPhone 5. That’s truly apples and oranges. When Apple has the larger screen iPhone and continue to make the current form factor iPhone, then you can make comparisons. And it won’t take long before the larger iPhone will outsell the smaller. Then you can start making comparisons. Then you can whip out all the statistics you can find. I never can understand why there is such paranoia about Apple making a larger iPhone? People with small hands? Clearly it will prove that they missed the boat on that one. It’s okay. Nobody is perfect. Not even Apple. There’s no need for adults to try to defend a company that manufactures things. It’s a company. No more no less. They make great stuff. The best. And the sooner they can get this larger iPhone to market the sooner they will be able to regain market share from Android. And yes, marketshare does matter. And the proof of that will be the larger iPhone and the more affordable iPhone for the emerging markets. Apple won’t make them if they aren’t needed. And they are needed. And Apple is going to sell them. It’s as simple as that.

          1. “Apple won’t bring it to market unless they can sell millions. Right?”

            Partially. Apple isn’t interested in millions of units sold just for the sake of volume/unit market share.

            You can always tell when the advocate for share is a low price theorist. The only thing low price brings you is a slow death. Just ask Dell, Gateway, eMachines, and a dozen others since 1980. A high price without perceived value is just as bad.

            Apple gets its price BECAUSE its products have value that its competitors do not (a bunch of 2nd class me tops).

            Apple cannot build a 5″ handset in the price range of the Galaxy, and make the king of profits that enables the quality of product and after sale service that come with an Apple product. The people buying Samsung are buying PRICE over quality and utility. You have to ask the question, “what is the product being hired to do?” Clearly, based on numerous surveys, Android users are not hiring their Android device to do much more than make phone calls (iOS devices command 87% of mobile internet traffic from a much smaller unit market share).

            5″ handset buyers are concentrated in markets with very low annual incomes. These consumers do not buy online in anywhere near the volume that iOS device users do. Ergo, the competing devices are being hired for completely different purposes.

            Success isn’t a function of who sold the most, it is a function of who profited the most while remaining close in unit market share.

            1. You assume that margins have to go down appreciably as volume increases. Actually it’s the exact opposite. But again, you’re trying to compare Android buyers with Apple buyers. There is no Apple iPhone 6 available yet. So your comparisons fail. Only when Apple makes the larger iPhone can you make these comparisons. I’m not certain why you don’t understand that? It’s clear that Apple is making a smaller more affordable iPhone for the emerging markets. Will margins be compressed due to this? Overall margins that is. That’s all that matters. Overall profit. If Apple can’t make enough money on a smaller iPhone why are they making it? They’re certainly not going to be forced into doing something that is unprofitable. They will maintain good to very good margins on the lower-priced phone. This will also help overall revenues and increase sales through the ecosystem that they have. That’s pretty simple to understand. The same holds true for the iPhone 6 (the larger iPhone). They won’t be forced into making it either. Right? But it’s coming too. And it will maintain excellent margins. And it too will increase overall revenue. And it too will increase revenue through the ecosystem. You do believe that the smaller iPhone is coming? Because if there was ever an issue with margins it would be on the smaller cheaper phone. Right? Of course. And if Apple had the larger iPhone right now it would outsell the current iPhone 5. Easily.

        2. Apple needs a larger screen phone for those that want it and the current size for those that want the latter. I used to be against the size of the Galaxy but now have completely changed my thoughts on the subject. Reading is often difficult. That’s it right there. I love the iPhone and will never switch, but many of us need a larger screen to improve the reading experience. This is a fact. The increase in the popularity of larger phones is also a fact. Apple, hopefully will not ignore these two points.

    1. Lets see .. iPhone 5, 4s and 4 sell better than the s3. Where does apple need a bigger screen again ?

      Now I would agree a more expensive 5″ iphone model would have appeal to some people and if they make it great. But it has to be the “plus” model. Not the main model. 4″ to me is pushing the limits on size allready.

    2. The negativity towards a bigger screen reminds me of a quote from the beleaguered CEO of a different fruit company.

      “The iPhone? Undoubtedly a very nice product, but there is no virtual substitute for a real keyboard, reckons RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis: “Try typing a web key on a touch screen on an iPhone, that’s a real challenge. You cannot see what you type.”

      Lazaridis told European reporters in Waterloo, Canada last week, that he isn’t too impressed with Apple’s iPhone and it won’t be a threat to the success of BlackBerry’s smart phone (with over 10.5 million users)

  1. Please do not feed off comments that call for bigger screens. They have no idea what they are talking about. An iPad has a much bigger screen. They can use that for a phone.

    1. iPad is not a phone – sure one can use Viber or Skype or some VOIP (but Apple could easily change iPad mini to be a phone adding full telephone capabilities as in iPhone)

      Granting Apple with the biggest phone screen size on the planet and a tablet that is proportioned and sized for daily use outdoors. ONE device to GO.

  2. yes, a lot of people will pay the premium because they see a bigger screen as a big advantage. and for many use cases it is. the galaxy s3 is everywhere in asia. apple wake up! one model per year at one screen size doesn’t cut it anymore.

    what are all those people at apple doing all the time? counting money? why don’t we have an 5″ iphone already? apple is giving away a lot of money to a competitor. i don’t get your strategy, tim. what is your answer to increasing competition? a slightly improved 5s?

  3. I think there is room in Apple’s line up for two sizes (today’s line up doesn’t count).

    I want the choice at least, like the iPad vs iPad mini (I would choose the larger iPad, probably just like I would choose the larger iPad).

  4. For Apple increasing the screen size will cause a split in screen pixel density. If they make it larger the ppi drops and analysis have a field day. If they keep the ppi then they must make it usable across a broad range of Apps. Which causes issues itself. Analysis would have a field day again. Again, increasing screen size is an art of balancing needs and compromise that would be needed in both hardware and software implementation.

    For Samsung, they just produce it and then could care less about any problems while the analyst provide little coverage of fragmenting software or visual quality. Mainly, due to the exact problem they have now. This would be a no news situation. Then Samsung uses a Pentile display for which they can increase the perceived ppi to make it seem better and have color rendering issues that is so often overlooked as they glare at near tablet sized screen. Samsung does not have the problem of balancing hardware with the software side as it is missing this tight integration commonly found with Apple.

    When Apple feels it can do the job as well as internal standards allows, they may or will do so. Just do not expect Samsung low standards to translate well into Apple’s high standard engineering culture.

  5. what if apple is working on 4″ screen size with enlarging bulging view convex display when placed few inches away from the face. that would be lovely getting 6″ view on just 4″ screen size.

    1. Why not eliminate the iPad and the iPad mini? The iPhone 5 has a large enough screen for anyone. Why would you need something as large as the iPad Mini or the iPad? It’s a wonder the iPad Mini or the iPad sell? Isn’t the iPhone 5 more screen than anyone would ever need? Those must be low class Android fans buying all those iPad Mini’s and full-size iPads?

      1. I love the Apple APPS on the iDevices;
        they make a world of difference and power for me when comparing software to the tools available on
        Andybot copy-crap Slamdung running devices.

        iPhoto, Garageband, Keynotes, Numbers, Pages…
        not to mention the many other incredible power app tools found for iOS – such as iDraw and other drawing apps… so one can perform some serious / fun.

        These softwares (for me) require larger screens but the iPad is too large to carry daily outside. (my opinion – my comment). — Gargole’s Andybot OS and Slamdung just don’t compare here. Apple has them beat in software as it ties nicely to the desktop too.

        EVER TRY BUILDING a PRESENTATION on your iPHONE, GM?

        It can be done and its capable and well throughout alterations for a smaller screen… BUT…. I don’t wish to carry a iPhone and a iPad outside and again iPad is too large.

        How ABOUT GRABBING the IPAD to TAKE a PHOTO while outside with your iPAD… it feels way too bulky but NOT so with iPAD mini.

        Apple, please just make iPAD mini with retina and telephone capabilities – it will be the largest Phone on the Market and a very useful sized tablet at the same time. Don’t know what to call it… but SIZE does matter here for daily usage. – when a users feels the need.

  6. So, if the current lineup is kicking the S3’s butt, why not go all in and do a larger screen and really kick it. I will be very surprised if Apple doesn’t have one in the pipeline. It may not be for everyone, but for those that feel they need it, give them the option. I think it will sell very well. There are times I wish I had a little more screen size. And for those that feel 4″ is big enough, they have the current size. And stop with the get the iPad Mini crap. It’s all about choices, and if Apple does a larger screen size it will appeal to those who feel they need.

  7. I had a larger screen Android and switched to the iPhone 5.

    The larger adds very little in text size and adds a couple of words to the line.

    I compared reding a web page, map or contact between a larger screen and the iPhone and the text size difference is so insignificant.

    Even watching a movie or you tube the difference is insignificant

    Not sure what all the noise is about….a screen 1/2 bigger does not relate to larger text size.

  8. The iPhone 5 outsells the Samsung copy in the US despite, or because of, its smaller screen. Perhaps one reason is that iPhone 5 buyers are likely to also have an iPad of some description and/or a Mac. If you can only afford one device then perhaps the larger screen of the Samsung is attractive because it makes for a better non-phone experience (browsing, movies, TV etc). If you use the iPhone mostly for making calls then smaller is better. Apple makes aspirational devices, or rather, an aspirational ecosystem – iPhone/iPad/Mac. For those who can afford the whole solution, the iPhone 5 is the perfect size. Some of us would like to see an iPhone mini – a capable phone which is significantly smaller and lighter, like my old Nokia which was 1/3 the size of my iPhone. Perhaps a wrist device would do the trick – i don’t need to lug a computer around when i go out for dinner… For me, the iPhone has always been too big for a phone – and since my ancient iPhone 3 no longer works with mail or calendar and is hopelessly slow for browsing, i just use it as a phone and i don’t miss the rest. I find myself looking enviously at tiny old phones, except when i travel and then an iPhone 5 would be perfect.

    I always think of Maxwell Smart holding his shoe to his face when i see someone making calls on a huge-screened samsung…

  9. It’s cost that holds me back from an iPhone. A choice of size would be good indeed I think it was a big mistake not offer a variation in iPhones as they did with iPods they were clearly caught out by the opposition there. However I remember also how when the iPhone launched how it was criticised for being far to large to be popular amongst people who had become used to compact phones. Bit ironic its now being criticised for being too small.

        1. Really? You’re really going to carry around an iPad Mini and use it as a phone? Cell service and the ability to make phone calls from an iPad Mini or even full-size iPad would of course be nice. Don’t know how many people would want to pay for that? But I guess it would be nice? But it would be a bit impractical as for carrying around in your pocket. A larger iPhone on the other hand would be nice and practical. I doubt that those in denial about a larger iPhone have ever tried a large screen competitor’s phone. I have. I have no problem getting my hand around it. And the increased size of the screen does make a huge difference. It simply can’t be denied. When Apple makes it it will outsell the iPhone 5 easily. But for those with small hands I hope they will always have the smaller size iPhone available. But honestly, I don’t think they will be able to sustain the smaller current version iPhone for very long after they introduce the larger iPhone. It just will be too costly to keep producing it. Do you remember the small screens of a few years ago on feature phones? Yeah, I do too.

  10. Make the 5s or 6 a bit larger.
    Keep updating the processor and other innards of the 4s and the 4 for people who want the latest in a smaller form factor.

    1. Yes. Exactly. Apparently there are many out there with small hands who can’t handle a larger phone. We all understand that. While I have no problem handling an iPad mini with one hand I also have no problem using two hands either. I can drive with one hand or two. It’s not that big of a deal.

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