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Samsung No Longer Builds The Best Android Phones

Business Insider By Jay Yarow 2013-05-10 11:26:20 


j.k shin samsung ceo in charge of mobile

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Samsung was the story in technology for the first three months of the year.

It was profiled in Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, and many other places.

Reader interest in Samsung was off the charts. Google search traffic for Samsung stories was huge, suggesting that normal people were anxious to learn more about its next big phone.

It's starting to look like that may have been a bit of a jinx.

Samsung is no longer making the best Android phones, according to our lead gadget reviewer Steve Kovach.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 is worse than the HTC One, per Kovach. He's not alone in his assessment. It was pretty much the consensus. 

And yesterday, Kovach said that the LG Optimus G Pro was better than Samsung's Galaxy Note II due to a sharper screen, better battery, and lower price.

Manufacturing the best phone doesn't mean selling the most phones. Apple's iPhone 5 was largely considered the best phone on the market, but it only has a sliver of the smartphone market's sales.

Samsung's rise wasn't about building the best smartphones, although it helped. Samsung's rise was fueled by a gigantic marketing budget, strong carrier distribution, and a willingness to experiment with different sized screens.

The fact that its phones are no longer considered the best on the market won't necessarily be its undoing. It's still has a strong brand name, a big marketing budget, and strong carrier distribution.

However, this could be the start of Samsung's lead weakening.

The competitive dynamics that threaten Apple apply even moreso to Samsung. It's not hard for an Android user to switch from phone to phone because the Android operating system is uniform. There isn't much keeping a Samsung user locked-in.

It won't happen overnight, but if reviews continue to roll in about superior products from rivals, Samsung's could lose its lead in the smartphone market.

Google's Motorola, HTC, and LG are all going to do their best to topple Samsung.

So far, they've made the first successful step by manufacturing a superior product.