Samsung: 1 million Galaxy S smartphones in 45 days in the US

August 29, 2010: 6:10 PM ET

The Android-based smartphones sold across the aisle from the iPhone 4 on AT&T and on T-Mobile, the nation's smallest major carrier.

Samsung's Galaxy S smartphone is a blockbuster globally and recent numbers show it is poised for similar success in the US.  The high end smartphone boasts a super-thin form factor with 4-inch Super-AMOLED display and a speedy 1GHz Hummingbird processor.

The knock on Android so far has been that its success rests on the fact that it is sold on Verizon, the nation's biggest and some say best mobile network.  'If the iPhone was sold on Verizon, no one would be buying Android' goes the argument.

Samsung says they've sold 1 million T-Mobile Vibrants and AT&T Captivates in less than a month and a half in the US. That emphatically proves that Android's success doesn't rely on AT&T's iPhone exclusivity.

Samsung launched on August 15th against the iPhone on AT&T with almost no marketing from the US's exclusive iPhone carrier.  At the same time it launched on T-Mobile, the smallest carrier in the US.  While T-Mobile did throw some resources at marketing their version, called Vibrant, their customer base is dwarfed by AT&T, Verizon and even Sprint.

So why the success?

I think Samsung's numbers are a result of selling superphones 'supercheap'.  Google makes the OS for free on the back of ad revenues.  Samsung, as a hardware OEM, makes great phone parts for Apple (AAPL) but can also do really well for itself without Apple's huge margins. You basically are getting a lighter iPhone 4-class phone with a bigger, brighter screen for a much cheaper price.

Cheaper?  AT&T (T) and T-Mobile advertise their 16GB Galaxy S smartphones for $200 with plan, the same as an iPhone 4 16GB. While that may be true (and a whole other post), most people are buying these online for free or close to it.  T-Mobile's Vibrant has previously been free (currently $49) online while AT&T's Captivate is now free with a plan.

Competition between the two carriers also probably drives the price down significantly as well.  AT&T doesn't have to compete against anyone in the US for iPhone sales.

The success isn't limited to the US.  It took Samsung 19 days to sell a million Galaxy S smartphones globally and they did that before the device came to the US.  Samsung announced it had sold 300,000 in S. Korea alone during that time and 900,000 for the quarter.  By admittedly blurry comparison, Apple's iPhone sold three million iPhone 4s in the five biggest global markets in 22 days.

I reviewed both the AT&T Captivate and T-Mobile Vibrant here. (Verdict: Great but lackluster GPS)

If you think Samsung's first month and a half were impressive, consider that in the next two weeks, the phones go on sale at Verizon and Sprint.  Sprint's Epic 4G has a physical keyboard,a front facing camera and is ready for pre-order at Amazon/launch on Tuesday, while Verizon's Fascinate version is already ready for pre-order at Best Buy for September 9th launch.

Here's the Verizon Fascinate video, below, while I reviewed Sprint's Epic 4G here.

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Press release follows:

DALLAS, August 30, 2010 —Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile)1, the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S., today announced that it has shipped one million of its Android™ 2.1-powered Galaxy S devices in the U.S. market. Samsung Mobile began shipping the Galaxy S portfolio2 on July 15, which are currently available with AT&T and T-Mobile. Galaxy S devices will also be available with Sprint on August 31 and will be available with Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular and Cellular South this fall.

Samsung Mobile has packed cutting-edge technology into its Galaxy S portfolio, including features such as a stunning 4-inch Super AMOLED display screen, 1GHz Hummingbird Application Processor and a multitude of entertainment, messaging and social networking capabilities. In addition, all Samsung Galaxy S devices will be upgradable to Android 2.2 in the future.

"Bringing Galaxy S devices to multiple carriers has given Samsung Mobile the opportunity to reach millions of consumers," said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. "I am proud of the instant success of the Galaxy S line up and I am very pleased to announce that because of the support of our carrier partners and loyal customers, we have shipped one million Galaxy S devices in the U.S. market. Samsung Mobile looks forward to sharing additional Galaxy S milestones in the future."

The roll out of Samsung's Galaxy S portfolio has been supported by a multi-tiered print, online, cinema and television advertising campaign, including major networks such as ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and MTV and in cinemas such as AMC, Cinemark and Regal. Samsung Galaxy S was also a sponsor of X Games 16, which was held in downtown Los Angeles from July 29 to August 1. From September 30 to October 3, the Samsung Galaxy S lineup will be showcased at the World Cyber Games Grand Final in Los Angeles.

In addition, Samsung Mobile has executed a comprehensive Galaxy S social media campaign, which included a Facebook promotion and daily content sharing on Samsung Mobile's social media channels, which include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube™. As additional Galaxy S devices become available, Samsung Mobile will continue to distribute key digital and video assets to sustain awareness of the Galaxy S.

For additional information on the Samsung Galaxy S portfolio, please visit www.samsung.com/galaxys.

1 Number one mobile phone provider in the U.S claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics, Q2 2010 U.S. Market Share Handset Shipments Reports.

2 The Samsung Galaxy S portfolio of devices includes the Samsung Captivate™ at AT&T, Samsung Epic 4G™ at Sprint, Samsung Vibrant™ at T-Mobile and Samsung Fascinate™ at Verizon Wireless. Additional Galaxy S devices will be available with U.S. Cellular and Cellular South.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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