Apple’s iPhone 4S is an opportunity for Android and Samsung

Despite the upgrades and the new iPhone 4S released, today’s announcement is all about price positioning. The prices announced of the new iPhone4S and previous iPhone versions allow Apple to compete in the price segments where Android is fiercely growing – the mid-range.

Apple will attract first time smartphone users and users from mid-price Symbian devices looking for an upgrade, but will it sway current iPhone users looking to replace their current iPhones? Definitely not!

In previous announcements Apple implemented significant software and hardware changes able to seduce users to get the latest version, but this is not the case with the iPhone 4S. This device represents an opportunity for Samsung and HTC Android premium handsets.

The Samsung Galaxy S II has been a major hit around the world and a serious competitor to the iPhone. HTC has also been increasing market share in the high-end segment. Without a significant hardware differentiation there’s no strong incentive for a replacement, as users can just upgrade their iPhone 4s with the new iOS 5.

Samsung and HTC have been flooding the market with new handsets every quarter, if not every month. Their devices deliver strong user experiences based on Android OS at lower prices. Although Apple will be better positioned to compete in the mid-range segments and increase its presence in the Emerging Markets, price is still a major factor when purchasing.

Nokia and Research in Motion should be the most threatened phone makers with Apple’s announcements today. If price was an inhibitor for consumers to move from their Symbian or Blackberry-based devices to the iPhone, now they have the chance. Today Apple entered the mass market game, hopefully not leaving the innovation and coolness to their competitors!

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Francisco Jeronimo joined IDC in June 2008 as research manager for European Mobile Devices. Based in London, he is primarily responsible for research that covers mobile handset trends across Europe. He is also responsible for the European Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker program. Francisco has been working in the telecom industry for 10 years in countries such as Japan, Finland, and Portugal. Before joining IDC, Jeronimo was responsible for the mobile devices business of LG in Portugal, in particular developing the open market channel and the business with Vodafone. In Portugal, he worked with all the mobile operators and managed the distribution channel of the second-biggest wholesaler. He launched a mobile software development company and did project management and consultancy in mobility for several companies in different industries. Before that, in 1998, he started working for Nokia R&D Center in Japan and then in Finland. He has a master's degree in management from Oporto University in Portugal and is a postgraduate in sales management from Lisbon University with a major in telecoms. He is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.