* Samsung 2013 smartphone share seen rising to 33 pct vs 31
* Apple smartphone share seen rising to 21 pct from 20
* Strategy Analytics sees iPhone Mini not arriving before
By Hyunjoo Jin
SEOUL, Jan 4 Samsung Electronics Co Ltd
is expected to widen its lead over Apple Inc
in global smartphone sales this year with 35 percent
growth, helped by a broad product lineup, market researcher
Strategy Analytics told Reuters on Friday.
Apple, returning the offensive, could roll out a smaller,
cheaper "iPhone Mini" next year to grab market share by
targeting demand from users of lower-end smartphones, Strategy
"We expect Samsung to slightly extend its lead over Apple
this year because of its larger multitier product portfolio,"
Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, said in
an e-mail interview with Reuters.
Global smartphone shipments will jump 27 percent to 875
million this year, slowing from last year's torrid 41 percent
pace as growth is easing in many key markets such as North
America, China, the developed economies of Asia, and Western
Europe, Mawston said.
South Korea's Samsung Electronics is forecast to sell 290
million smartphones this year, up from a projected 215 million
in 2012, the research firm said. Apple's smartphone sales are
projected to reach 180 million this year, up 33 percent from
last year, slightly trailing Samsung's 35 percent increase.
This will give Samsung a 33 percent share of the 2013
smartphone market, up from last year's estimated 31 percent,
while Apple will hold 21 percent, versus last year's 20 percent.
Apple, the world's most valuable technology company, and
Samsung Electronics, the most valuable in Asia, have battled
fiercely in the global mobile device market, which they
dominate, although Samsung is also a supplier to Apple.
Samsung may launch the Galaxy S IV, a new version of its
flagship smartphone, in April, and the Galaxy Note III phablet
and a series of other new smartphones over the course of this
year, media reports and analysts have said recently.
"Samsung plays in more segments and this should enable it to
capture more volume than Apple (assuming Apple does not launch
an 'iPhone Mini' this year)," Mawston said.
Brian J. White, a researcher at Topeka Capital Markets, on
Wednesday raised the possibility that Apple may launch a smaller
and lower-priced iPhone - the iPhone Mini - to further penetrate
markets such as China and India.
White said in a report that he believed Apple will launch
the next iPhone, the iPhone 5S, in May or June, and offer more
options in screen sizes. This would eventually open up the
possibility for the iPhone Mini, he said.
But Mawston said the iPhone Mini was not expected to hit the
market until after this year.
"We think Apple will have to launch an 'iPhone Mini' at some
point over the next three years to address the hundreds of
millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the
current iPhone," he said.
"The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so
there is little incentive for Apple to launch an 'iPhone Mini'
"We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in
2014 when ... Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth
streams," he said.
Samsung Electronics, once a laggard in the smartphone
market, has quickly surpassed Apple as the world's largest
Strong smartphone sales have helped to lift both the
company's shares, which hit a record high of 1.584 million won
($1,500) on Thursday, and its earnings, with a record profit
expected for a fifth quarter in a row in the latest
October-to-December period. The results are expected to be
announced early next week.