In the global smartphone market, Samsung (005930) is a force to be reckoned with. The company extended its lead during the fourth quarter as it shipped an astounding 63.7 million smartphones, representing 29% of the global market according to research firm IDC. Samsung’s next closest competitor was Apple (AAPL) which sold 47.8 million iPhones for 21.8% of the market during the same time span. The story is much different when it comes to tablets, however. IDC estimates that Samsung shipped 7.9 million tablets in Q4 2012 for 15.1% of the global market, which represented big year-over-year growth put still paled in comparison to Apple’s 43.6% share. In other words, Samsung still has a lot of work to do.
Over the past few years, tech giants Apple and Google have emerged as dominant forces in the mobile-technology market. Although they’ve pursued radically different strategies, each company has been wildly successful: Apple generates $1 billion per month on iPhone sales, while Google’s Android operating system has racked up massive global market-share gains. Now, both companies face a rising threat from South Korean electronics titan Samsung, which has surged to become the largest handsetmaker in the world. Samsung appears poised to intensify competition in the mobile space, and that could benefit consumers.
Beginning with the hardware, Samsung chose an interesting design for its latest slate. Imagine a Galaxy S III that has been flattened with a steam roller and that’s exactly what the Note 8.0 looks like. The tablet’s 8-inch 800 x 1,280-pixel display is surrounded on all sides by a white plastic bezel and an oblong home button sits beneath the display. The Note 8.0′s pixel density works out to 189 ppi, besting Apple’s iPad mini (163 ppi) until the second-generation model launches later this year. In terms of quality, the TFT display on the Note 8.0 is nothing like the Super AMOLED displays that Samsung’s mobile devices are famous...
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