The iPhone 12 trumped Galaxies, but cheap foldables and 5G make Samsung optimistic

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The iPhone 12 trumped Galaxies, but cheap foldables and 5G make Samsung optimistic
As could've been easily predicted, Samsung's mobile division didn't do very well in the last quarter of 2020, slumping 11% compared to Q4 the previous year. According to Samsung's quarterly earnings presser, this was due to "intensified competition in the year-end season," and it's not hard to fathom what company do they have in mind here.

Apple had an uncharactersitically late iPhone 12 series launch, did in stages of two phones each, and spread it out over a month or so. That prolonged the early adopter buying phase well into December, while an iPhone upgrade supercycle in China, the country that got a lid on the pandemic earlier than the West, propelled iPhone sales to a whopping 17% increase year-on-year. The end result was $111 billion in revenue and nearly $29 billion opearting profit for the iPhone maker.

Samsung is more optimistic about its 2021 phone sales than Apple


The lack of new Galaxy phones, and the increased marketing costs associated with the holiday season returned tepid mobile division performance, while Samsung's display business which supplies the iPhones' OLED screens, saw record growth. The strong Korean won, however, hurt Samsung's bread-and-butter memoru and chip sales business, and in the end it had to make do with "just" $6 billion in net profit.
For the current quarter, however, and the ones after it, Samsung painted a much rosier outlook, unlike Apple, whose shares tumbled after it warned about market headiwnds in 2021. According to Samsung, this year its sales will be propelled by strong 5G phone upgrade demand, and foldables swimming into the mainstream, or, as it puts it, "strengthen leadership in our flagship lineup by expanding S21 sales and popularizing the foldable category... [and] increase smartphone sales by fully addressing replacement demand for 5G with mass-market 5G models."

The Galaxy S21 series is going on sale tomorrow, while the 5G mass market will be addressed by the 2021 A-series, with even the $300 A32 sporting 5G connectivity, but what we are really curious about is this "popularizing the foldable category" quip. Could cheaper Galaxy Fold and Flip models be on the horizon, just like Samsung lowered the launch price of the S21 models by full $200 compared to their predecessors. It should, if it is gunning for mass adoption.

Related phones

iPhone 12 Pro
  • Display 6.1 inches 2532 x 1170 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 12 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A14 Bionic 6GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2815 mAh
  • OS iOS 14.x

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