The mobile world saw no bigger story in 2012 than Samsung. After attempting to woo customers away from the iPhone with the first two iterations of its Galaxy S line, it finally succeeded with the Galaxy S III. The flagship device, combined with high-end offerings such as the Galaxy Note II in addition to myriad mid-tier and low-end offerings, provided a huge boost for Samsung. Their shipments of smart devices grew by nearly 120 percent in 2012, far outstripping Apple’s 44.3 percent growth.
(As the All Things D article notes, Samsung’s numbers reflect shipments, while Apple’s reflect sales. That makes them a poor comparison on most levels, but growth rate should be on a similar scale.)
Apple is anything but a vanquished foe, but Samsung needn’t chip away at its largest rival at this moment. It will have plenty of opportunities to do so when it reveals the Samsung Galaxy S IV, which is just around the corner. According to one rumor, Apple would have been ready to fight back with a large-scale smartphone of its own in June, but that project has been pushed back until 2014. The prevailing rumors have the next Apple device release in the fall, giving Samsung plenty of free shots at Apple in the interim.
With the Galaxy S IV marketing itself at this point, Samsung can turn its focus to other rivals. Yet it’s not HTC that Samsung targets. No, there is little chance that even the HTC One will make a dent in Samsung’s dominance. Instead the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer will turn its sights to a completely different market: enterprise. And that means putting its sights on BlackBerry.
Late last month we saw the BlackBerry 10 announcement. In a vacuum it looks like a quality handset, with many modern features. In a market full of similar devices, it’s difficult to see how RIM will stand out. Had they released something like this two years ago perhaps they could have retained many of their enterprise customers that have since left for iPhone, and to a lesser degree, Android. It’s difficult to imagine these departments switching back; Android and iOS are perfectly workable mobile solutions.
Even still, Android has had its security issues in the past. They’re trying to work on that, though, and in the process are horning in on BlackBerry’s bread and butter. Will Connors of The Wall Street Journal has a full report on the matter, including Samsung’s new SAFE program — Samsung For Enterprise. It includes software that is meant to make Android safer in secure corporate environments. At this point, it might be easier for them to convince companies to switch away from BlackBerry, than it is for BlackBerry to convince former customers to switch back.
While Apple has become the dominant enterprise player, shipping 50 percent of corporate orders in 2012, Samsung did surpass BlackBerry. Of course BlackBerry still has a larger enterprise market share, and perhaps BlackBerry 10 will help them retain a good portion of those customers. After all, BlackBerry loyalists tout its email and messaging services, which are the primary functions of any corporate mobile experience. Of course, part of that compelling messaging service has taken a serious blow. BBM has long been one of BlackBerry’s greatest exclusive features, but it is only compelling when it has a critical mass of users. As people and companies have switched away, it has become less useful.
Overall, though, Samsung certainly has an advantage. Its phones are simply more fun, and more versatile, than anything BlackBerry offers. At this point BlackBerry is still trying to convince people that their new phones measure up. Samsung has already gotten past that point — and it took them a good three years to do it. BlackBerry doesn’t have that kind of time. If Samsung wants to blow BlackBerry out of the water in enterprise, chances are they can pull it off. That can’t be good news for BlackBerry.