Apple, the maker of iPhones, iPads and iPods has never faced a challenger able to make a truly popular and profitable smartphone or tablet - not Dell, not Hewlett-Packard, not Nokia, not BlackBerry - until Samsung Electronics.
The South Korean manufacturer's Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphone is the first device to run neck and neck with Apple's iPhone in sales and the two companies are the only ones currently turning profits in the highly competitive industry.
Apple is currently taking 72 percent of the profits in the mobile phone industry with Samsung taking the rest. The two companies take different approaches to the marketplace with Apple constantly charting new territory to dominate while Samsung relies heavily on market research.
Read more: NYTimes
Samsung Electronics Co., the world'slargest smartphone maker, said Wednesday that it has decided to buy a 10 percent stake in Pantech Corp., South Korea's third-largest handset maker.
The deal, valued at around US$47.6 million, will help further solidify bilateral cooperation in smartphone and other business areas, it said.
Samsung has confirmed the deal, providing a statement to TNW that explains it will be a passive investor with no input into Pantech's management decisions - presumably to offset any anti-competitive concerns:
Samsung Electronics has agreed to acquire a 10-percent stake in Pantech, valued at approximately KRW 53 billion. The investment is aimed at solidifying our relationship with Pantech, a key component customer of Samsung. Samsung will have no involvement in Pantech's business management in any way or form.
In the domestic market, Pantech trails behind Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. in mobile phone shipments.
Samsung has beaten rival Apple in creating a smartphone with a curved screen. Apple filed for a patent on a device having a wraparound display in March, but nothing has come of those plans by yet. Samsung, however, announced Wednesday that it has created a tool with a curved screen, which is unveiled later this fall.
"We plan to introduce a smartphone having a curved display in South Korea in October," Samsung's mobile business head of strategic marketing, D.J. Lee, said Wednesday in an event launching the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone in Seoul, according to Reuters.
Curved displays are the initial step toward creating bendable screens, which may be groundbreaking for smartphones and wearable tech, eliminating be worried about screen cracks and allowing for an array of new shapes. Samsung already has some knowledge about the technology, because it makes curved OLED televisions. Those Televisions cost around $9,000, Reuters reports, which leaves some uncertainty about if the technology can be achieved cheaply enough to create devices that employ it affordable.
Apple Insider reported around the wraparound screen patent Apple declared back in March. The proposed device's screen wraps completely around the phone and would use face recognition to determine which direction a user is viewing the screen. The unit would basically be one silver screen, using gestures instead of buttons to do various functions. Apple Insider also reported that the display would make the creation of 3-D imagery easier, these types of its seamless design, the unit would be more great looking than current smartphones.
The smartphone market will only grow more competitive because it reaches its saturation point, and Samsung knows it must innovate if the company is to keep its add Apple. One key area by which Samsung has beaten Apple is emerging markets, particularly in Asia.
Samsung offers cheap devices running on Google's Android platform that have shown great appeal in emerging markets, where consumers usually have to pay top dollar for devices. But with the release of two new iPhones last week, new research is speculating that Apple will gain lost ground in emerging markets quickly because of the unexpectedly high price of the iPhone 5C.
Now the big questions Samsung faces using the introduction of curved screens are if users will respond well to this type of radical alternation in the shape of the smartphones, and when the technology can be achieved cheaply enough to help make the devices utilizing it accessible.