Samsung is already king of the smartphone hill, but analyst firm Strategy Analytics is predicting that the Korean firm will increase its lead over Apple and others by growing its smartphone sales by 35 percent in 2013.
Strategy Analytics told Reuters that it estimates that the company’s extensive range of devices, which covers multiple price points, will see it sell 290 million smartphones. That’s a sizable increase on the 215 million units it is thought to have sold in 2012.
The analyst firm estimates that worldwide smartphone sales will increase 27 percent to reach 875 million units in 2013, which, based on its figures, would give Samsung 33 percent market share, up 2 percent on its 2012 estimate. Strategy Analytics expects Apple’s share to rise by 1 percent to hit 21 percent in 2013, as Samsung’s wider range of devices keeps it growing faster than its rival.
Interestingly, Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, tells Reuters that he believes that Apple may launch its much-speculated iPhone mini by 2016 at the latest, if not by next year. Given the popularity of the iPhone 5, he argues that rumors of a 2013 launch do not make sense:
We think Apple will have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year. We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when … Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams.
Samsung dismissed leaks of the Galaxy S4 back in September but it has since playfully dropped ambiguous hints about its upcoming flagship device, although the precise details and timing remain unknown. This year, it looks set to it expand beyond Android and hedge its bets on other platforms, motivated in no small part by Google’s acquisition of Motorola. The Korean firm has confirmed it will launch multiple handsets based on the Tizen operating system this year. Samsung has already begun to offer smartphones based on the Windows Phone-based platform, and more are likely to hit the market in 2013.
In addition to high-end iPhone competitors, it continues to release low-end devices for those shopping to a budget. Last year saw the firm unveil the 5-inch Galaxy Grand and Galaxy S Duos, among other affordable smartphones.
Related: Samsung increases lead as top US mobile device maker, Apple still gaining, everyone else flailing
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