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Samsung poised to double lead over phone rivals, IHS says

The tech research firm expects Samsung's cell phone market share lead over its rivals to total about 11 percentage points in 2013, compared with its 5 percentage-point lead over No. 2 handset maker Nokia in 2012.

The Galaxy S4
Sarah Tew/CNET
Thought Samsung's smartphone market share was high before? Just wait until the Galaxy S4 is released, IHS said today.

The technology research firm expects Samsung to more than double its percentage point lead over rivals from 2012 to 2013. Samsung held 29 percent of the cell phone market in 2012, while Nokia ranked No. 2 with 24 percent. IHS didn't specify what percent of the market Samsung should control this year but said its lead over its nearest rival should rise to 11 percent (from the 5 percentage point lead in 2012).

That's a pretty bullish estimate for a phone that hasn't hit the market yet, but part of that increase likely will come from rivals' woes. Nokia's share of the handset market has been falling as it struggles to expand in smartphones. And even if Apple gains a lot of share, it won't come within 11 percentage points of Samsung. In 2012, Apple controlled 10 percent of the handset market.

"Combined with a massive worldwide rollout through almost every operator, the lifestyle focus of the S4 will help drive Samsung's market share sharply in 2013," IHS analyst Ian Fogg noted.

Samsung sells more cell phones than any other company. IHS

Samsung unveiled its much-hyped device last week during an event in New York. The Galaxy S4 includes updated components and camera and a bigger screen. It also incorporates new software features like gesture recognition and a beefier notifications tray that offers more toggling options to quickly turn features on and off. The device should hit the market in late April.

As CNET has noted, the Galaxy S4 is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but it still means rivals have an uphill climb, particularly the other companies making Android devices.