Two of the most awaited smartphones of 2017 are the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Apple's iPhone 8. These next-generation handsets are follow-ups to their very successful predecessors including the Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, iPhone 7, and iPone 7 Plus. Without a doubt, the two brands are the dominant devices in the smartphone industry.
The industry's continued growth is a magnet for new players who want a larger piece of the pie. Data from the International Data Corp. reveal the 5.2 percent growth in shipments registered between September 2015 and September 2016. The market remains a bailiwick for Android phones which account almost 90 percent in the third quarter of 2016. One-fifth of the smartphone market's shipments were from Samsung, which continues its leadership despite the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.
Samsung and Apple's loyal brand following enable them to price its phones at a premium. However, this is under threat from Chinese handset makers who are making inroads into the global phone market. They include Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo which are selling high-end Android phones at a fraction of the price of a new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy unit.
Premium handsets from these Chinese companies are cheaper due to their use of local companies and allocation of huge advertising spending. Customers can buy the Oppo flagship F1 phone for less than $250 compared to the almost $700 needed to acquire the most basic iPhone 7 model.
In 2014, China let Apple enter its very huge market. But the emergence of locally-made phones forced the country to encourage patronizing its own domestic brands. This means bad business for Apple and Samsung.
The Chinese smartphone market numbers to hundreds of millions. Xiaomi, Oppo, and Huawei wouldn't let themselves just be second fiddles to Apple and Samsung in their own territory.
Recent developments show that these brands are making positive strides in the smartphone market. One of them is Huawei's emergence as the most profitable Android device maker in the last quarter of 2016. This signals the appetite of the new players to expand and steal away market share from Apple and Samsung.