Analyst: Samsung to overtake Apple with Galaxy S4

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The battle is on between Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S4, as the two industry heavyweights battle it out with their respective mobile devices.

Although only time will tell for certain, analysts at Nomura believe that the long-awaited Galaxy S4 will help Samsung in its quest to overtake Cupertino.

"While clearly a step forward relative to the S3, there is much that is evolutionary about the S4, rather than revolutionary," the Nomura analysts opined in a recent statement.

"Nevertheless, [we] see the S4 potentially helping Samsung to overtake Apple in high-end smartphone shipments during 2013."

According to the analysts, although the S4 looks rather similar to the S3, the large screen size clearly appeals in many Asian markets and is a clear differentiation in Western markets as well.

"Also, some features such as Air Touch, eye tracking that pauses running apps when you look away, the ability to operate the screen with gloves, etc. are all clear differentiators relative to Apple's iPhone, " they added.

In contrast, Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets believes the Galaxy S4 represents a definite refresh for Samsung - boasting a higher resolution than the iPhone 5 - but still isn't a game changer. Indeed, White says Apple's iPhone 5S will easily outsell the S4 when it hits the streets later this year.

White also described the S4 as "heavier, fatter and less refined than the iPhone 5," claiming its plastic casing is simply "no match" for the aluminum unibody enclosure Apple adopted on the iPhone 5.

"We are amazed by how analysts and the media have turned on Apple during the recent stock downdrafts with statements that Samsung is 'out-innovating' Apple," White opined in an industry note obtained by AppleInsider.

"One would believe that Samsung is crushing Apple in the mobile phone market. We believe this is complete nonsense."

Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray expressed similar sentiments, characterizing the Galaxy S4 as an "evolutionary" update. Like White, Jaffray said he expected Apple's iPhone to maintain its share of the high-end smartphone market in calendar year 2013.

"While the S4 is likely to be the iPhone's biggest competitor this year at the high-end of the market, we remain confident in our iPhone estimate for this year of 177.5 million, which includes a cheaper phone in the September quarter," Munster explained.

"We view the S4 as unlikely to meaningfully impact iPhone share of the high-end over the full year, but do expect it to take share from other Android phones."