Samsung Galaxy S Rocks Japan: Dethrones iPhone

by Matt Klassen on November 5, 2010

Cutting a Godzilla-like swath of mobile destruction through Japanese cities, it looks like the tech world may have found the long awaited iPhone killer (in Japan at least)…the Samsung Galaxy S.

Stats released earlier this week showed that Apple’s iPhone is no longer Japan’s best selling phone, a title it held for an amazing 18 weeks since it was released in June. Instead, Samsung’s Galaxy S, sporting the brand new Android v2.2, dethroned the Apple incumbent in its first week of sales, evidence at least that people are still interested in products produced by a company not named Apple.

But is there much to get excited about here? While I would wager that Apple is certainly not worried about the news, most likely taking a lets-see-what-next-week-brings approach, in a country that is often considered to be on the cutting edge of technological advancement their technological trends don’t go unnoticed. That means, simply put, if the Samsung Galaxy S is popular across the pond, it won’t be long before its popular here.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, it should be clearly understood that these statistics are gathered on a weekly basis, meaning that for one week in late October the Samsung Galaxy S was more popular than the iPhone. It certainly doesn’t mean that the Galaxy S will have any long term success competing with the iPhone or that it will generate anything close to the profits the iPhone has garnered worldwide. But the news does mean something.

For starters it means that there is a market, a big market, for powerful, functional mobile devices that aren’t produced by Apple, and that Android is clearly the most sought after mobile operating system on the market. Still, for me the news comes as a surprise.

As one who generally follows the ebb and flow of the North American mobile market I have always been of the mind that any single Android device would never be able to dethrone the iPhone.

In my mind the mobile strategy behind Android has always been quantity over quality; flood the market with various Android devices and have them all achieve a mediocre level of popularity. With that strategy Google can boast that it owns the most popular mobile OS while companies now dependant on Android can continue to rake in respectable—but hardly iPhone-like—profits.

However, with the Samsung Galaxy S suddenly things are now different. On the back of its stellar initial sales figures in Japan we in the tech community can now say with some confidence that we may have found an actual iPhone killer: the one smartphone that can actually rival the iPhone not only in functionality, but in user appeal and sales as well. 

But for that to happen the Samsung Galaxy S is going to have to become a lot more popular here at home, and while its domestic sales figures are strong as a result of being featured on all four of America’s top networks, its still nowhere near the iPhone.

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