A recent analysis claims only 10% of Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S 4, is shipping with Samsung’s own Exynos 5 Octa chip. Considering the device is on pace to become the company’s fastest selling smartphone in history, one might think Samsung would want to put more of their own hardware in the hands of consumers. However, Samsung seems to think it is more important to put devices in the hands of consumers regardless of the component sources. So in the case of the Galaxy S 4, the majority of the phones are shipping with Qualcomm chips.
Samsung still supplies around 80% of the components that go into its mobile devices, which is high compared to major rivals like Apple. However, a high demand product can quickly soak up any capacity a company has, even one as large as Samsung. According to Samsung’s vice president of the mobile business, Kim Hyunjoon, Samsung will “continue to resort to multi vendors to ensure smooth supply.” Some of the other vendors include companies like the aforementioned Qualcomm, memory chip maker Toshiba, image sensor supplier Sony, and Gorilla Glass producer Corning, along with others. These suppliers also happen to be major suppliers to Apple for components used in their popular iOS line of devices.
With all of this overlap in hardware between the two major players in the smartphone market, some analysts like Peter Yu with BNP Paribas are “worried Samsung is losing its hardware differentiator.” This seems to point the way toward market success being influenced more by software and what apps can do for users as opposed to the hardware. As an example, just think back to the items that Samsung stressed during their release production for the Galaxy S 4, which not only highlights the importance of apps and their capabilities, but also the impact of marketing.
Do you think that high-end smartphone hardware has become so advanced that the differences between brands are no longer a selling point?