NEW YORK (
) - Third-quarter smartphone sales data may be signaling disruption in the mobile hardware market.
Galaxy S III overtook
iPhone 4S, which has dominated the market for the last two years, to become the world's best-selling smartphone model in the third quarter of 2012, said
last week. The technology research firm estimated that Samsung sold 18 million S III models during the quarter, compared to 16.2 million iPhone 4S sales.
The news from Strategy Analytics was reminiscent of a discussion at the
Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Convergence Summit
in Menlo Park, Calif. last month:
"Is Apple the undisputed winner in mobile hardware?," a moderator asked a panel addressing the latest trends in the rapidly-changing mobile marketplace. Three out of five panelists, comprised of notable investors and entrepreneurs, responded with a resounding no.
There is "a teetering house of cards when you look at the hardware sector because 90 percent of the industry profits come from Apple," said panelist and Co-Managing Partner of
, Kevin Talbot. "That means all other handset manufacturers, and I'm not talking about operating systems, just hardware, are 10 percent of the profits. And that's not sustainable."
Apple may be vying for the number one position of smartphone hardware providers, but it's a distant second in the operating system market. Android, which powers Samsung's Galaxy S III, has been leading that market since it was introduced in 2008.
About 136 million Google Android devices were sold in the third quarter of 2012, capturing 75% of the mobile operating system market, according to a report released by tech research firm
last week. During the same period, 26.9 million Apple iOS devices were sold, comprising 14.9% of the market.
The majority of the audience at the mobile hardware panel admitted to owning an iPhone, but Warren Packard, another panelist and founder and CEO of a sports viewing platform called
, pointed out that the 250 tech-savvy attendees - including senior executives from
- were not representative of the global mobile market. In fact, Packard said, two-thirds, if not more, of Thuuz's customers use
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