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7/12/2012
09:31 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Samsung Galaxy S III Sees Strong Initial Sales

Analysts estimate about 6 million Galaxy S III units sold in first few weeks, putting it on track to reach 20 million by the end of Q3.

Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
Samsung's Android Super Smartphone: Galaxy SIII
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Samsung no longer releases sales data for its smartphones and tablets, but analysts have taken an informed guess at just how well the Galaxy S III did during its first quarter of availability.

JPMorgan analysts estimate that Samsung sold 6.5 million Galaxy S IIIs during the second quarter, ending in June. Further, JPMorgan believes Samsung will sell about 15 million Galaxy S IIIs during the third quarter, for a total of more than 21 million sold in a period of about four and a half months. JPMorgan's estimates were published by Les Echos.

The Galaxy S III went on sale in Europe in late May, where eager consumers lined up to buy Samsung's latest super phone. The GS3 reached the U.S. in late June, and is just now fully available from the four major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, and Verizon Wireless.

Given how late in the month the GS3 went on sale in the U.S., most of Samsung's first quarter numbers can be assigned to European markets and the handful of other markets wherein the device first launched.

[ Will Apple's upcoming new iPhone take the wind out of Samsung's sails? Read Foxconn CEO: iPhone 5 Beats Galaxy S III. ]

It's hard to say if JPMorgan's estimate of 15 million units sold during the third quarter will be on point or not. Before the device reached retail stores, Samsung boasted of more than 9 million preorders for the device. The company even predicted that it would sell 10 million units during the month of July alone. With sales of the Galaxy S III reaching full swing in the U.S. this month, it's certainly possible that Samsung will have a blockbuster July.

Looking back, the company sold more than 50 million Galaxy S and Galaxy S IIs in 2010 and 2011 combined. The GS III is a much stronger device than its predecessors and therefore should sell better. It helps that Samsung is making it available via nearly every carrier around the world. In the U.S. alone, it is being sold by five carriers. Multiply that by hundreds of carriers around the world, and things are looking good for the Samsung Galaxy S III.

InformationWeek took a look at the Galaxy S III, and was impressed. It's packed with so much technology, most owners probably won't use half the features it offers. It's certainly one of the best devices to hit the market this year, but even that doesn't make it a sure thing.

The big caveat here is that Apple is on deck to debut a new iPhone in the fall. Despite the popularity of Android smartphones in the market (and Samsung's in particular), sales of smartphones in general could slow ahead of the iPhone 5 launch (even if only to see what the iPhone 5 looks like). Apple is widely expected to reveal brand-new hardware for the iPhone--including a device with a larger display and LTE 4G compatibility--rather than recycle the current design.

It's worth pointing out again that last month Foxconn CEO Terry Gou took the opportunity to stir the pot a little bit with some interesting remarks made at an investor meeting. Gou suggested that consumers around the world should not buy the Samsung Galaxy S III. Gou went so far as to say consumers should wait for the iPhone 5. Why, you ask? The iPhone 5 "will put Samsung's Galaxy S III to shame," said Gou.

That's quite a statement from the man whose company makes Apple's iPhone. Has he seen the iPhone 5? What does he know that we don't?

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference, C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

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