Samsung Back On Top In Q1 2016 As iPhone Growth FLATLINES

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Samsung has reportedly doubled arch-rival Apple’s smartphone shipping figures for 2016’s first quarter, according to details released by industry analytics firm TrendForce. We should clarify of course that this is shipments, not sales, so it doesn’t necessarily mean Sammy is outperforming Apple in all the ways that count.

The figures show that Samsung has upped its market share to 27.8%, a 5.7% increase from Q1 2015 and placing it in the number one ranking position worldwide. Samsung’s performance is also up quarter-on-quarter from 2015’s Q4 (usually a robust period for players in the market) with a total of 81 million units shipped in Q1 2016.

TrendForce analysts believe Samsung’s earlier-than-usual launch of the flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge handsets, in combination with the Samsung J-series in China, may have helped boost Samsung’s overall figures; the firm expects Samsung’s performance to continue to improve going further into the year.

In the not too distant future, Samsung will unveil the Samsung Galaxy Note 6 and this should be a very special release indeed. Android fans have always hungered after Samsung’s Note series an the arrival of the Note 6, expected later this quarter, looks to be a very big deal — the phone is tipped to feature 6GB of RAM.

Beyond this Samsung is likely to road-test a bunch of new features. Chief among these could be some kind of hybridisation with a dummy laptop accessory, a thing Samsung recently secured a patent for. Could the Galaxy Note 6 be the first Android phone to dual-boot Chrome OS? It’s certainly an interesting idea; why else would the handset require 6GB of RAM?

Richard wrote a piece about this awhile ago, speculating on why Samsung would include such a huge amount of RAM, with reference to Samsung’s dummy laptop patent and Google’s ongoing plans to bring Chrome OS into Android — I Have A Theory About ChromeOS And The Galaxy Note 6. Conceptually, the idea is sound: Microsoft has Windows 10; Apple the iPad Pro. Google needs a hybrid solution and what better way to do it than ship its awesome Chrome OS inside Android for use with inexpensive dummy laptops? That’d be two birds with one stone and I’d certainly be tempted by the utility offered with such a merging of technologies.

Here’s a shot of Samsung’s board of directors: 

via GIPHY

Apple took the number two spot with a notable drop to 14.4% of the market, a decrease of 6.5% on last year’s figures, however, it’s important to note that the quarter does not include the period following the launch of the new iPhone SE, so shipments and sales of this new model are yet to be taken into account; they will factor into Q2 reports. LG’s performance is also up on the previous year, though down from 2015’s Q4.

However, this is all apparently the division of a gradually decreasing pie. It’s thought the global smartphone market is now saturated, with total global shipments across brands of 292 million units down from last year’s 358 million for the same period – that means it has fallen by 1.3% on Q1 2015’s figures and is down 18.6% from Q4 2015. Reportedly a boost of activity off the back of 4G adoption in China and wider smartphone adoption in India may have helped prop things up, but still cannot hide a downward trend with Q1 2016 shipments inside China also dropping 27 million units (20%) from the same period in 2015 (from 148 million units down to 125 million units).

We’ve known tablet sales have been steadily declining for the last few years, but is it now also the turn of the smartphone? What will manufacturers turn to if the pool continues to dry up?

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