Samsung Gunning for iPhone 5 as Patent War Worsens: Is Apple Losing Grip?

 
on September 20 2011 4:08 AM

Ever since Samsung introduced the Galaxy S line of smartphone in June 2010, it has entrenched its position as one of the best smartphone manufacturers in the market and put up a determined attack on Apple iPhone's dominance.

But with competition from Samsung rising, Apple changed tack and started filing lawsuits against it. Previously, when HTC handsets were soaring high in the U.S., Apple had filed lawsuit against it over patent issues. Although Samsung and Apple were technology partners, the spite worsened over time and now the patent war has become a costly affair.

Apple accused Samsung of committing patent and trademark infringement with its Galaxy line of mobile products. That includes the Galaxy S smartphone and the Galaxy Tab. In fact, Apple started suing Samsung only after the Galaxy line products started receiving much attention in the market and unprecedented demand across the world. Critics said Apple's lawsuits were an indication that it feared it may not bring out a better product soon.

Apple’s hopes of staying ahead in the market after suing Samsung may be short-lived as Samsung has filed a countersuit against Apple for violating multiple wireless technology patents. And with Samsung vying for to ban the iPhone 5 in South Korea and some other parts of the world, the U.S. giant is sure to face a tough time ahead. The Samsung claim says Apple's iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPad 2 products infringed seven Australian patents owned by Samsung related to wireless communications standards.

According to former Engadget editor Joshua Topolsky, the fifth-generation iPhone will be completely redesigned and it will look very similar to the iPod Touch 4G rather than the iPhone 4. He further predicts the iPhone 5 will be thinner than the iPhone 4, with a teardrop design, larger 3.7-inch screen with same resolution as the iPhone 4, enlarged home button and a gesture area.

Earlier, Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo said Apple will definitely feature Qualcomm’s dual GSM / CDMA Gobi chipset. Shammo said: “The fluctuation, I believe, will come when a new device from Apple is launched, whenever that may be, and that we will be, for the first time, on equal footing with our competitors on a new phone hitting the market, which will also be a global device.”

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz fueled the debate by stating as follows: “We now expect two new iPhones. Our research indicates that there will be an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor that is GSM + CDMA capable, i.e., a world-mode smartphone. A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China. As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering.”

He further stated: “China Mobile and China Telecom with approximately 600 million and 100 million subscribers, alongside Sprint and T-Mobile USA with 52 million and 33 million subscribers, stand to have an effect tantamount to the big increase in the number of carriers exhibited in the June quarter. In other words, we believe that investors should start to prepare for more positive surprises related to the quarterly run rate of iPhones in the near to mid-term. In summary, we would expect such a big bang if Apple introduces two new iPhones this fall and penetrates the untapped U.S. and China carriers.

As Apple expects to have global outreach with their iPhone, suing Samsung seems like a ploy to grab hold of world market. With the introduction of GSM/CDMA capable world phone, Apple seems to want a big pie, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Backed by the huge production of the upcoming iPhone 5 and cheaper iPhone 4S, Apple has revealed its fear of Samsung phones as they continue to sue them for patent infringements. Apple and Samsung have taken their fight from the U.S. to Germany, France, Japan, UK and now Australia.

Android-powered Samsung devices are gaining popularity with better features, lower pricing, better accessibility and varied design options. If Apple intended to sue only Samsung for copying their design, that would have made some sense, but Apple went on to sue HTC, Motorola, etc. whose phones are powered by Android.

Apple introduced iOS 5 instead of the iPhone 5, showcasing the new features of the phone prominently found in Android to appease the Apple fan base. Noticing some of the most interesting features found in Android and BlackBerry, Apple perhaps wanted to catch up with the fast-moving market.

 With more Android OS devices coming out with better designs and powerful software along with high quality apps, Apple started suing Samsung, HTC and Motorola, accusing them of infringement to slow down their pace and increase the competition. Android OS devices now hold almost double the market share compared to iOS devices.

Android phones have gained popularity with flash, 4G LTE, open sourcing, varied options of bigger or smaller display, expandable memory, removable battery, 3D display and NFC support which are mostly not found in the iPhone. In case of iPhone, the users don’t have the option to customize or modify the phone according to their need. Also, if the battery is completely drained, iPhone customers have to replace the entire handset with a new model.

Android phones are available with features consumers want, unlike iPhones which emphasize on features what Apple thinks are the best. In fact, Android smartphones are starting to look smarter with better design, powerful multitasking, accessibility, cheaper pricing and faster speed.

And the only way Apple and its shareholders can climb back to the top is by making Samsung, HTC and Motorola smartphone manufacturers look guilty of taking their ideas. Many of the patent claims of Apple in the Netherlands were rejected or invalidated.

In fact, Nokia had sued Apple for 10 patent infringements. That was a clear indication it is losing touch with the market. Today Nokia has plunged to the depths of the U.S. market. Similarly Apple has started filing suits to bring down Samsung, which may backfire later. In fact, the backlash has begun. Apple and Samsung currently are fighting patent battles in at least 12 courts, nine countries and four continents.

Samsung looks to be in no mood to compromise and is aiming to nail Apple upfront with varied devices pitted against Apple’s option-less iPhone handsets. With Apple adding just features already found in Android to iOS 5, the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system of the upcoming Samsung smartphones will look way ahead of iOS 5.

Samsung is straightaway gunning for the upcoming iPhone 5. “We are taking different tactics since we are quite confident. If Samsung wins in Germany, that will give us a big breakthrough, and so will other envisioned efforts against such products as the iPhone 5,” one of its senior executives said, according to reports.

As most predictions point towards two models being produced -- iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 -- it is becoming evident that the iPhone 4S would have lost its appeal had it been released along side Galaxy S2. The rumor mills say the issue of iPhone 5 prototype being lost in a bar and Apple's lawsuit against Samsung were a ploy to deflect the public curiosity from the company’s actual troubles.

Samsung is sailing high after the introduction of Galaxy S2 smartphone, which was widely seen as outperforming the iPhone 4. The Korean smartphone giant is launching tweaked versions of the eagerly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S2 in the US.

Now the latest reports show that the iPhone 5 production could be behind schedule, with the tear-shaped design seemingly causing manufacturing problems. It is also reported that the chances of it sporting 4G support are less.

In fact, it looks like Apple has diverted all attention from its present issues and has counterattacked other manufacturers who support Android, like HTC and Motorola.

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