Home Your Tech Mobility Samsung S4 shortage – a victim of its own success

Samsung has reported shortages following its launch in the US, UK and Australia. It declared that its 2013 sales target was 70 million and planned accordingly. If initial demand is an indication they need to make more.

Pre-orders on-line outstripped availability and international Telco’s are suggesting delays of a month or so. Three US telco’s have decided to delay “shop” sales for at least three to four weeks diverting that stock to pre-orders. Verizon and T-Mobile expect to have retail stock by the end of May.

While US media have been mixed about this ‘iPhone killer’ (how dare they attack Apple on its home ground?) the phone has generally received rave reviews. My 20 minutes with one at the launch function was enough to convince me of its credentials and later discussions with fellow IT journalists and erudite consumers all confirm the same thing – they want it ‘badly’.

The formula for success was easy.

  1. Design a technologically superior piece of hardware (if the same innards had been wrapped in an Apple skin it would have wowed their supporters).
  2. Build on top of the success of Android as the most trendy and perhaps desirable consumer smartphone operating system and at the same time add some really cool Samsung only features
  3. Spend a squillion on letting the public know about the new device (unlike Apple – it does not comment on unreleased products).

The hard part for Samsung was growing up from a low cost manufacturer to a ‘master designer” and it had all the time in the world to get it right with the S1, S2 and S3 – there is little I would do for the S4 except perhaps a slightly less slippery rear panel (and this critique is being addressed with new flip covers).

Figures don’t lie – the S4 was expected to sell 25 million units in the two months following launch but it looks like that number will well and truly be exceeded breaking previous the iPhone records.


I simply need to say that I am not in any way disparaging of Apple, Microsoft Phone and BlackBerry. Competition is good and each have their place and make excellent products. I wish I could have a phone that had elements of each. For example:

  • As a consumer Android is fun and easy to use. I like the interface and support open source which is vital as the world needs to avoid dominance by monopolies.
  • As a business person working in a secure Windows environment Windows Phone does it for me very well – it is the only one that delivers full Outlook/Exchange and Office features to my phone
  • As a mobile road warrior and sophisticated email user BlackBerry’s Hub is nice and we need to root for the underdog
  • As person who would like to own shares in Apple I love their business model

So a BlackSoft AppDroid (with two sim cards and a split personality for home and work use) is what I want.

But for now in the mass market consumer space Android has taken the lead and the S4 has become the aspirational purchase.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!






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