Google Inc. (GOOG), Apple inc. (AAPL): Samsung Comes Up Short in the Next Evolution of the Smartphone Wars

And for being a software-driven phone, the hardware certainly isn’t a slouch, either, keeping with the engineering theme we saw in the iPhone 5 — bigger, thinner, faster. The screen size came in at the 5 inches many expected, up from the still-sizable 4.8-inch display of its predecessor. This screen is also capable of 1,080p quality output, all while being substantially more power efficient as well. In summation, it’s an impressive device no matter how you slice it.

Mr. Market thinks differently
However, judging by the market’s reaction, it seems investors are as underwhelmed as I. Shares of Samsung were down more than 2.6% on Friday, while shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose more than 2.5%.

The problem amounts to what’s arguably been the single biggest knock against Apple over the past 12 months — that’s the Galaxy S4 doesn’t offer anything truly innovative or amazing. In a global smartphone market that has clearly come to expect “insanely great” with each new product cycle, this device sadly falls short by only being very good.

However, that’s also not to say the phone won’t be the massive commercial success most analyst expect. After all, you don’t get to 100 million devices shipped without doing a few things right. Analysts have estimated that the Galaxy S4 could sell as many as 10 million units in its first month alone. However, that figure also only barely keeps Samsung ahead of the smartphone pack, and it’s only mid-March. We’re sure to see plenty of fireworks in the coming month, as many expect Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) that is readying its own counter-assault, maybe even sooner than normal.

Foolish bottom line
The Galaxy S4 bears an uncanny resemblance to the “Unpacked” event that introduced it to the public. It had no shortage of glitz and glamour (or song and dance, in this event’s case), but it still ended up giving users less than they’d hoped for. It will sell in droves; count on that. But in an environment where investors demand more than pure sales volume, the Galaxy S4 manages only to stay slightly ahead of the pack.

The article Samsung Comes Up Short in the Next Evolution of the Smartphone Wars originally appeared on

Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google.

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