The rise of Samsung: Is the era of Appletotal tech dominance finally at an end?

Samsung has come a long way. The Korean giant seems to have been plotting domination of the consumer electronics world, and it’s hard to argue with the results so far. Now it has a new target in its sights: could Apple be Samsung s next scalp?


Samsung History

Samsung was started as a family business in 1938, dealing in groceries and making its own noodles. The company has clearly diversified. It first entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s, with the production of a black and white television. The 80s saw Samsung branch out in to the burgeoning mobile phone business; it began manufacturing handsets and invested heavily in research and development, a move that has helped speed rapid. Widgets In 1995, Samsung built its first LCD panel.

Ten years later it was the world s largest manufacturer of LCD panels, a title It still holds. TVs thus ’, Samsung turned its attention to mobile telephones: last year it overtook Apple to become the world s biggest manufacturer of smartphones, while this year it pipped Nokia to the title of best-selling phone brand in the world.

As the Japanese giants have struggled through the turbulent economic climate, with Panasonic and Sony both posting huge

The experience, content and quality of Apple s handset used to mean the iPhone easily trumped Android. Now the competition is far closer, with stronger Android offerings – the OS, the amount of content and the quality of handsets – and Samsimg leading the way. Could we be lookingat an Apple v Samsung rather than Apple V Android future?

Leading The Charge

Samsung is nowvery much out in front leading the charge. And it wants to stay there. The Samsung Galaxy S 111 (right) was announced with staggering fanfare. Bigger, faster and more powerful, the Galaxy S1?, with a 4.8in HD Super AMOLED screen, a 1280 x 720,16:9 resolution screen and a quad core, 1.4GHz processor, throws down the gauntlet to Apple s next iPhone.

Yet while Samsung is taking the smartphone fight to Apple, Apple could be poised to meet Samsung on its home patch. The Apple “iTV” is the worst kept secret in consumer electronics. “I finally cracked it,” were Steve Jobs words on the subject of an Apple television, which he promised would revolutionise the TV experience. We wait with baited breath…

In smartphones and TVs, we have the two biggest product categories, and now we have two huge companies doing battle for supremacy. Samsung has made up staggering ground in the past couple of years. The Galaxy S III is the latest great white hope – we can t wait to see how Apple responds later this year…

The one predictable thing in the world of consumer tech is… the sheer unpredictability of it all. Before the day that Steve Jobs, through sheer force of his personality, forced on the world a small digital music player that nobody knew they wanted (but which everybody, it turned out, did want), there was no one predicting what was about to happen. Fast forward a few years, and somewhere in that blur yousee a Korean tech manufacturer that specialises in TVs that perform almost as well as other people s but which cost half as much. All good, but have you spotted the next major, world-dominating player in consumer electronics in there? Of course you haven. And neither, in fact, did anyone else.

From pile em high to top tech

The rise and rise of Samsung has been a sight to behold. When the company started launching its first premium (read: really very expensive ) TVs. everyone took a sharp intake of breath. Not just because of the price tag; those TVs shocked because they were, frankly, a feast of superb design; infinitely desirable products that took Samsung s previouly long-held reputation as a pile em high, sell em cheap’TV brand, and threwit in the nattily designed, brushed-aluminium dustbin where it now belonged.

Putting the pressure on Apple

Then came Google s Android, and then came the Galaxy smartphone (and tablet) series… Then came the tragic nev« of Steve Jobs terminal illness and eventual demise. Which all adds up to this: the Galaxy S3 has laid downa huge gauntlet to Apple, and to the tech industry as a whole. If, without the mercurial Jobs, Apple s research, design, manufacturing and maiceting are not every bit as good as they ve ever been, then 2012 could go down as the year in which Apple s unquestioned status as the tech world s trend-setting pioneer finally aumbles. If so, there s an aggressive, cash-rich Koreart company waiting in the wings…

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