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Feb 17, 2020

Samsung Tops Stagnant Smartphone Market

As organizers are debating whether or not to cancel this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the coronavirus pandemic, Samsung held its big launch event far away from Barcelona on Tuesday. The Korean smartphone maker unveiled its new line of flagship phones, the Galaxy S20, along with a new foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Flip, at its latest “Unpacked” event in San Francisco.

Having skipped right from the S10 to the S20, Samsung’s new flagship model comes in three variants: the S20, the S20+ and the S20 Ultra, starting at $999, $1,199 and $1,399, respectively. All three models support 5G and pack impressive camera specs, which is where smartphones have arguably seen the biggest improvements recently. Following in the footsteps of the Galaxy Note 10 from last year, the Galaxy S20 line doesn’t come with a headphone jack, meaning that the 3.5 mm connector might soon be a thing of the past – something Apple predicted in 2016.

As the following chart shows, Samsung is still leading the smartphone market, although Huawei is gradually closing the gap. According to IDC, Samsung shipped 296 million smartphones last year, barely up from 292 million in 2018. Huawei shipped 241 million units, surpassing Apple, which shipped 191 million phones last year. The top five are completed by Chinese vendors Xiaomi and OPPO, who shipped 126 and 114 million units, respectively, in 2019. Despite losing second place to Huawei for the entire year, Apple took the top spot in the smartphone market in Q4 2019, as the release of the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro boosted sales during the holiday season.


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