The original Galaxy S, which was released in 2010, has hit total unit sales of 24 million. The S II, which went on sale in 2011, has surpassed the original with sales of 28 million. Add in the Galaxy Note, which has sold 7 million units since its late 2011 debut, and you have sales totaling 59 million.
One interesting note (pun intended) is that the screen size of these devices has trended upward over the years. The original Galaxy S has a 4-inch display, the S II has 4.3-4.65 inch displays, and the Note has a 5.3-inch display.
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ABI Research recently predicted that devices with extra-large displays--called "phablets"--have a bigger future than perhaps many believed they would. According to its data, more than 208 million phablets, like the Samsung Galaxy Note, will be shipped globally in 2015.
Why are devices with screens this large gaining acceptance? "One of the chief drivers for phablets is the amount of time people use their smartphones for Web browsing, reading articles, and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys," said senior analyst Joshua Flood. "The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user's experience when compared to conventional-sized touch screens between 3.5 to 4 inches."
Looking at the sales figures from Samsung and the analysis from ABI Research, it's not hard to predict that sales of the Samsung Galaxy S III, which went on sale this week, will be nothing short of spectacular.
The S III, with its 4.8-inch 1280 x 720 HD display and quad-core Exynos processor with 1GB of RAM, is placed squarely in the phablet category, though most consumers will think of it as a smartphone. It boasts impressive specs and capabilities and will reach the U.S. later this year.
Samsung is on a roll and only gathering momentum. Apple has its work cut out for it if it wants the iPhone 5 to compete with the Galaxy S III later this year. Samsung's device will have a four- or five-month lead by the time the iPhone 5 comes around. Though the iPhone 4 and 4S, which share the same design, are popular sellers, Apple needs to step up its game to go head-to-head with Samsung.
Apple isn't the only smartphone company that needs to step up. Motorola, LG, Nokia, Sony, ZTE, Huawei, and myriad others will be left in the dust if they don't bring competitive devices to market.
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