2014 was the year Apple took the lead against Samsung. Photo: HBO/Cult of Android
Of the smartphone stories which played out in 2014, two of the biggest were the triumph of Apple’s iPhone 6, which sold a massive 10 million+ units in its opening weekend alone, and the faltering of Samsung, which fell from the dominant position it had enjoyed since 2011.
Today, a new report from Gartner (paywall) breaks down both the 1.2 billion smartphone sales that took place worldwide last year, and also the sales from Q4 2014 — revealing how Apple leaped ahead in the smartphone category, while the South Korean tech giant Samsung started to lose its footing.
Make no mistake about it: this was the year everything changed.
Apple and Google may have declared a truce but the patent war with Samsung still rages across the Atlantic as an ongoing patent battle in the Dutch appeals court has upheld Apple’s plea for an injunction against sales of older Samsung Galaxy phones.
When you buy a 16GB iPhone 5c, you get 12.60GB of storage space left over after taking into account iOS 7’s default install size. Comparatively, the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the worst bang for the buck, storage-wise, in smartphones: a paltry 8.56GB of internal space was available to the user to store apps and media upon.
Even the S4, though, was roomy compared to the newly announced Galaxy S5. A 16GB Galaxy S5 comes with less than eight gigabytes of usable memory.
When you buy a 16GB smartphone, you don’t actually get 16GB of space to install apps, music and other media. No matter what smartphone you buy, the operating system needs to be installed into memory, and that takes up valuable gigabytes.
Still, some phones are better than others. As far as staying trim, the iPhone 5c is the best value for the money in its class, allowing users to install media to 12.60GB of the 16GB drive. The Google Nexus 5 comes in second place at 12.28GB.
The worst offender by far, though? The Samsung Galaxy S4. You won’t believe how little internal memory you get.
Apple’s entire beef with Samsung is that the Korean electronics maker keeps on shamelessly ripping off the design of their devices, so is anyone surprised that the latest roadblock in the Apple vs. Samsung case has to do with an anti-cloning clause that Samsung is trying to be tricky about?
There’s a lot of different metrics out there for gauging the success of personal electronics, some more suspect than others. Many companies, for example, favor units shipped to retailers, where as Apple favors the more realistic metric of units sold.
Perhaps the best metric of all, though, isn’t what is shipped or sold, but what people want Santa to bring them for Christmas. And by this metric, the iPad is king.
Will flexible, bendable smartphone screens ever become a reality? Samsung thinks so. In fact, if you ignore the hysterically douchetastic concept video they are using to promote the foldable Galaxy tablets of the future, Samsung says we should have folding displays on the market by 2015.
Although Apple is still (very) profitably plugging along with the iPhone, there’s a new king of smartphones, and it’s Samsung. The Korean gadget maker continued to dominate smartphone sales in the third quarter, shipping over 88 million smartphones this quarter compared to just 33.8 million iPhones shipped. And it gets worse for Apple.
Samsung has struck a $100 million deal with the NBA that will see its tablets and televisions used courtside during games. The deal is seen as a strategic move that could expand the global reach of both parties, shoving Samsung’s logo and devices into the faces of NBA fans, and putting NBA content into the hands of Samsung’s customers.
Samsung has been fined $340,000 by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission for an Internet campaign against HTC that violated fair trade rules. The South Korean company paid students to praise its own smartphones in online reviews while slamming those of rival HTC.