Popularity of the Galaxy S 4 shouldn't come as a surprise

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: May 17, 2013

In somewhat bigger news from the mobile industry today, we’ve learned that Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 is selling like bacon pancakes compared to its ever-so-popular predecessor, the Galaxy S III. While both devices have sold an incredibly high number of phones for Samsung, the Galaxy S 4 is predicted to be the first ’10 million’ phone seller within the first month for the South Korean company by next week.

When the Galaxy S 4 was introduced back in early March I originally had my doubts about how well the public would receive it; even I was skeptical about the ‘new’ features and choice of design. Not only did it look strikingly similar to the Galaxy S 3, but the spotlighted features on the device came off as gimmicky and not worth the extra money. However, when it comes down to it it’s easy to see that the Galaxy S 4 is still a step up from the Galaxy S III, and having the Galaxy name slapped on the back of it you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to sell relatively well. And it has.

Some speculated that the HTC One would divert some customers from purchasing the Galaxy S 4, which it has, but when it comes down to it Samsung’s marketing team blows HTC’s out of the water, and that alone can take sales to another level. Samsung contributes a huge part of their sales to how well they market. For a long time, there was a 50/50 chance that the average mobile consumer didn’t even know what the HTC One was. It seemed that HTC was primarily relying on good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth to spread the news of the new flagship device, and while the aluminum bodied wonder from HTC is certainly picking up the pace when it comes to praise and sales it will probably never match the popularity that Samsung’s Galaxy devices have right now.

It also helps that it’s a domino effect – you have a great device. When you have a great device you do everything in your power to keep that great device in the back of everyone’s mind when they’re looking for a new phone. So a year or so passes, and what do you do when it’s time to release a new phone? You take the idea of that phone and change very little about it, including the name. People will think, “Well, the Galaxy S III was a great device; that must mean the Galaxy S 4 will be even better.” If they keep up with the popularity, a Galaxy S 5 will probably see similar results, and so on and so forth. That’s how the iPhone got so popular. But it’s also crossing into dangerous territory.

The Galaxy S III was really the first device that put the spotlight on Samsung; it took Apple off of center stage and the Galaxy S III was the new prima donna. By creating the Galaxy S 4 in such a strikingly similar image to the S III, they’ve followed in Apple’s footsteps and clearly are doing very well for themself at this point in time – but they key phrase here is ‘at this point in time’. Just as we can take Apple as an example of why keeping a good thing the same can be a good thing, it can easily become a not-so-good thing if kept up for too long. I hope to see Samsung differ from the Apple strategy in the future by making more prominent, useful differences from model to model while still keeping the ‘essence’ of the Galaxy name; as in, I would like to see it evolve, but not remain too similar or completely skip generations. A gradual progression.

I guess what I’m basically saying there is that I hope Samsung treats its Galaxy S line like a Pokémon.

But I digress. The popularity of the Galaxy S 4 shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody at this point in time given the rave reviews produced from the Galaxy S III. I’ve ridiculed its plastic exterior to the point where it’s beating a dead horse, but at the same time there still stands the argument that you’re going to put a case on it anyway, so does it really matter what the phone is made out of? Regardless of the exterior, the specs of the device are top-notch and it’s one of the few phones on the market right now with a 13-megapixel camera – which may or may not be important to you, given the recent argument that megapixels just don’t make a whole world of difference in the end. It’s a good phone, but just having a good phone can only get you so far. With Samsung having a great marketing team and the popularity of the Galaxy name on its side, this device was born to be a star.

Readers, what do you think about the massive popularity of the Galaxy S 4? Is it doing better than you thought it would, or did you see how well it would do coming from a mile away? Do you think Samsung will hit 10 million sales by next week?