LTE Addition Pits Samsung's Galaxy S2 Against the iPhone 5

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Samsung has announced that its anticipated Galaxy S2 smartphone will get the 4G treatment, offering data speeds up to four times faster than what is expected in Apple's forthcoming iPhone 5.

South-Korea's largest consumer electronics maker said it will unveil the Long Term Evolution (LTE, or 4G) powered smartphone at Germany's IFA show this week.

Samsung Electronics saw explosive growth during the second quarter, primarily due to the roll-out of its venerable Galaxy S2 smartphone, and the addition of 4G will give it a distinct advantage over what is thought to power the Apple's next-generation flagship, the iPhone 5.

While unconfirmed, many analysts believe that Apple's next smartphone will forego 4G, citing executives that have portrayed the technology as immature, and Apple's overall philosophy to offer reliability over cutting-edge.

[W]e continue to pick up indication that it will not likely incorporate 4G LTE due to battery life issues and spotty network coverage, said Sterne Agee's Shaw Wu. And ironically, if anyone is in a position to fix these weaknesses, it would be AAPL.

This would afford Samsung an advantage, at least technically, as 4G networks allow data to download more quickly, making browsing the Internet and downloading content faster.

But it could hamper Samsung's already limited consumer reach.

While available in many parts of Europe, only Verizon in the U.S. currently offers support for the LTE standard. Verizon is the country's single largest carrier, but the combined numbers of the U.S. 3G capability is far larger, giving a 3G model from Apple access to most of the country.

But data is also pointing to not just one iPhone 5, but two releases, if Wall Street is to be believed. Analysts see one coming in the fourth quarter, and one, upgraded, shortly after. This second iPhone 5, expected in 2012, would boast 4G and essentially nullifying Samsung's first-come advantage.

Regardless of competition, consumers have already shown a healthy appetitite for the company's current Galaxy S2 phone.

In July the phone celebrated 3 million units sold globally, a number it achieved in just 55 days. It has also been the top seller for 17 consecutive weeks in United Kingdom where Samsung first launched Galaxy S2 and recently surged to rank No. 1 in Austria as well, in terms of Smartphone market share.

The device helped Samsung see astounding growth last quarter as it jumped past Research in Motion and Nokia to beocme the second largest smartphone vendor in the world.

Despite Samsung's stellar growth, Apple so far retains the crown as the No. 1 smartphone vender in the world.

 

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