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Samsung said this week it has shipped more than 1 million Galaxy S smartphones in the U.S., roughly six weeks after they were put on sale along side the iPhone 4 at AT&T and to T-Mobile subscribers.
Though they aren't iPhone 4 or iPad uptake numbers, sales of Samsung's Android-based phone does give the Android camp a hot-selling model to go head-to-head against Apple, and Research in Motion, which has seen lackluster sales of its new BlackBerry Torch, the first model sporting the new BlackBerry OS 6. Android's momentum has been well documented, most recently by Gartner when it reported that smartphone makers had shipped 11.2 million Android-based devices in the second quarter, or 17.2 percent of the worldwide market, up from a mere 1.8 percent in the second quarter of 2009. Yet much of Android's success has been attributed to the fact that there are dozens of makers and models of Android phones, offered by all the major wireless carriers, while the iPhone remains exclusively on AT&T in the U.S. and RIM is the sole supplier of the Blackberry.
What numbers did Research In Motion need to reach in the first weekend that its next-generation touchscreen phone, the BlackBerry Torch 9800, was available? It's a good question, but the answer is not, apparently, 150,000 phones.
That sales estimate comes from analysts at RBC Capital Markets and Stifel Nicolaus, which were not wowed by the performance. Goldman Sachs called the launch "underwhelming," according to the Wall Street Journal. And while it's hardly a fair comparison -- given that RIM is counting on enterprises ordering the phone in bulk, which isn't likely to happen right out of the gate -- Apple sold 1.7 million iPhone 4s in its first three days. Verizon sold 300,000 Droid X phones, running through its stock in the first week.
Rumors that Apple is ready to end its exclusive contract with AT&T by bringing the iPhone to a rival carrier are nearly as old as the smartphone itself. As AT&T customers have grown more and more annoyed with the dubious performance of the carrier's network, the rumors have gotten louder. When a move finally becomes more than rumor, the fallout will be huge, says a new survey.
At the end of June, Bloomberg reported that Verizon Wireless will begin offering the iPhone in January. The article was -- reasonably enough -- viewed with suspicion because: a) we've heard this story more than once; b) the sources were the super-vague "two people familiar with" Apple's plans; and c) to run on the Verizon network, Apple would need to develop a CDMA iPhone, which is a touch more work than simply offering the same GSM model through T-Mobile -- which has also been repeatedly rumored.
AT&T will begin selling another Google Android-powered phone on Aug. 15, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 ($150 with a 2-year contract) to round out its smartphone lineup. But even with it's impressive specs -- 4-inch screen, 8 MP camera, 8 GB onboard storage, 1 GHz chip -- it will likely be a distant third in AT&T's smartphone line-up behind the hot-selling iPhone 4 and the new RIM BlackBerry Torch, which is based on the new Blackberry OS 6 and goes on sale Aug. 12 exclusively from AT&T.
So much for "antennagate" having any significant impact. Two days after Apple surprised Wall Street by posting a $3.25 billion quarterly profit on $15.7 billion of revenue, AT&T reported that it gained a net 1.6 million subscribers in the second quarter on the strength of a record 3.2 million iPhones activated in the quarter.
Of the 3.2 million iPhone activations, about 27 percent of those were new AT&T subscribers, the company said Thursday, helping boost its second-quarter earnings 26 percent over the same quarter last year, prompting the company to increase its outlook for the full year.
As anyone who ones an iPhone can attest, making actual phone calls is not one of the beloved device's strengths. You can blame AT&T's shoddy network, the construction of the phone or the sheer number of iPhone users out there, but dropped calls and poor call quality have long been "features" of Apple's smartphone.
So when Steve Jobs showed off the latest model, which officially launched in the U.S. today, users sounded a note of cautious celebration. The stainless steel band that runs around the phone, explained Jobs, contains its cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas -- a design that was engineered to address those dropped calls and poor reception.
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