Yeah, yeah, I realise there’s still a couple of weeks left in 2012, but realistically very little of interest is gonna happen, especially with Jesus’ birthday around the corner, and CES around a second, slightly-farther-away corner.
In the first of a series of features examining the big manufacturers and their performances this year, I’ll look at the biggest manufacturer of them all: South Korea’s favourite son, Samsung.
Thinking on the fly here, I reckon we should cover a little history, a big hunk of present, and maybe take a glimpse into the future (the actual future, as opposed to my insane take on how things might pan out). Sound good? No? Tough. No bailing till you reach the bottom.
2011 was a big one for Samsung, as it easily captured the Top Smartphone Manufacturer throne (in terms of shipments).
Phone highlights included the Samsung Galaxy S II, star of the show at Mobile World Congress, and a little (/big) something called the Samsung Galaxy Note, which measured a then-ridiculous 5.3 inches.
All in all, a pretty good year.
Yep, this year has been just as great for Samsung. Looking at some recent figures from IDC, Samsung shipped an estimated 56.3 million smartphones in Q3, and 105.4 million mobiles. That puts the South Koreans in first place in both categories, with a 31.3% and 23.7% share respectively. Almost 1 in 3 smartphones and 1 in 4 mobiles shipped in Q3 was a Samsung. Not too shabby.
Indeed, Q1 2012 was the first time since 1998 that Nokia wasn’t the world’s top shipper of mobiles. Fourteen bloomin’ years. Cripes.
This year's figures were helped along by the Samsung Galaxy S III, which somewhat controversially snubbed Mobile World Congress in February, instead appearing in a horrible, seemingly endless “Next Galaxy” campaign. It’s chalked up something stupid like 30 million+ total sales.
Similarly, the 5.5in Samsung Galaxy Note 2 proved hugely popular, selling five million units in two months.
Samsung continued its ‘more is more’ policy, launching a record 539 handsets in 2012. Okay, not really, but it probably wasn’t far off. Glancing back at Mobot’s Big List of Mobile World Congress stuff, Sammo debuted at least six new devices, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Samsung Galaxy Beam.
Other “highlights” (ahem) throughout 2012 included the Samsung Galaxy S III mini, and, er, Samsung Galaxy Music. And not forgetting the Windows Phone 8-fuelled Samsung ATIV S and the Windows 8 RT-based Samsung ATIV Tab.
As well as launching countless new smartphones and tablets, Samsung was in and out of (mostly in) court with its biggest client, California’s Apple. The big story was Apple being awarded $1 billion in damages, though – needless to say – that’s being appealed.
Somewhat disappointingly, Samsung also continued with its mockery of Apple, with an ad in January showing some iNerds being “Samsunged”. Bleurgh. It was funny back in 2011.
And that was Samsung’s 2012 in a nutshell: loads of new smartphones and tablets, loads of court cases with Apple, and loads of success.
What can we expect from Samsung in 2013? Inevitably, some sort of Samsung Galaxy S IV, while the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is tipped to be a rather silly 6.3in. Jeez, that’s even bigger than my… iPhone 5.
Samsung’s also toying around with Tizen. It’d be nice to see a repeat of bada’s Windows Phone-punching success. I refuse to believe IDC’s prediction that very little will change in the next four years.
And heck, Samsung might even fancy a spot of BlackBerry 10 licensing. I can’t quite remember where the rumour mill settled on that one, but it’s incredibly rare for Samsung to turn down pie.
There’s also a good chance we’ll finally see Samsung’s flexible smartphone display technology come to fruition, though realistically we’re talking about added durability, as opposed to a balls-out flexible phone. Er, hopefully.
Oh, oh! And there was that story quite recently about some marketing douche (I'm sure he's sound, really) being drafted in to give Samsung an Apple-style makeover. Goodbye, boring blue Samsung logo.
And that concludes our look at Samsung’s past, present and future. Next time, on 2012 in review… someone else.