Smartphone Race: Who Wins It?

•Nigerians shopping for smartphones

•Nigerians shopping for smartphones

The competition among smartphone giants leaves consumers wanting more and more

Samsung’s first smartphone with a curved display screen, Galaxy Round, a 5.7-inch handset was released to the South Korean market on 10 October. The launch of the device began a new competition in smartphones as the electronics giant seeks to maintain its slim lead in the competition with Apple.

Apple had recently launched two smartphones, iPhone 5S and 5C, in the United States and some countries in Europe. The America-based company sold over nine million pieces of the phone in three days. The phones were regarded as a huge success for Apple and Samsung knew they had to come out with something different to maintain their lead in the smartphone war.

•Nigerians shopping for smartphones
•Nigerians shopping for smartphones

But the smartphone competition is not about Samsung and Apple alone. Other leading smartphone makers are HTC, LG, BlackBerry, Nokia, Sony, Motorola etc. In Nigeria, however, there is Tecno, ZTE and Huawei. The craze for smartphones is frightening and many Nigerians invest hundreds of thousands of naira to acquire a smartphone.

The competition to be the market leader has got smartphone giants releasing one smartphone after another with little innovation in each new product. While Samsung and Apple have mastered the trade some others have struggled. Canada-based company, Research In Motion, makers of BlackBerry smartphones, are struggling to keep up with competition globally. BlackBerry phones are a hit in Latin America and Africa but have been swept underground in the United States and Europe.

Recently the company said it was listening to offers from prospective investors. In Nigeria, BlackBerry is the most popular smartphone and that is because of its messaging application, BlackBerry Messenger. The messaging app allows all BlackBerry users to communicate seamlessly with others. BBM used to be the selling point of BlackBerry until it agreed to launch the application on Android and iOS.

Another struggling giant is Nokia. Recently the Finnish-owned company agreed to sell its handset unit to American software company, Microsoft. Prior the sale, Nokia was producing its Lumia smartphones with Microsoft software. It’s not been all bad for Nokia though, as the company turned in some profit in the second quarter of this year but predicted a two per cent operating loss for the third quarter.

Related News

Samsung’s third quarter expectations are high. Expecting profits and revenues to increase, Samsung expects to earn about 10.1 trillion won ($9.4 billion) on sales of 59 trillion won ($54.9 billion) in the three-month period ending in September. Analysts expect the Seoul, South Korea-based company to finish 2013 strongly.

Apple has announced its third quarter financial results. Today, all the top phones have at least 8 megapixels camera.

Johnson Joseph, Sales Floor Manager of SLOT, on Olayeni Street, Ikeja, believes the smartphone giants are recording huge success because users like their aesthetics and functions. “Smartphones are not just for calling and texting, they have many functions especially for educated people. It helps you work on the go. Smartphone has the internet facility with the highest speed, you can use your Microsoft office on most smartphones and it helps you to access your mail and social media platform with relative ease,” he said.

Joseph added that the influx of devices is down to the taste of users as well. “For a brand to sell nowadays they need to bring in more devices by improving innovation because the choice of customers differ. Android came through Smasung but with time, Tecno and LG began using that OS. They need presence in the market and they have to keep with time, that’s why the competition is stiff.”

Victor Idegwu, sales representative, ZIB Computers, believes iPhone will dominate the market soon. “People buy all sorts of phones everyday but I think the future lies with Apple. BBM on Apple will give them an edge. Tecno is very popular amongst Nigerians. People buy smartphone because everybody wants the internet speed it provides. It helps you to navigate and work with ease. With 3G and 4G on smartphone it is the right choice now. The apps on smartphones also make users buy them.”

Ogunsina Sola, Microstation sales representative for BlackBerry and Apple, says the future of communication hinges on smartphones. He argued that BlackBerry sold their pride by allowing BBM on Android and iOS. “Blackberry sold their jewel that is BBM. Although you cannot access the app on Apple and Android easily, Blackberry should not have allowed the app on those platforms.”

—Seun Bisuga

Load more