This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The Digital Skeptic: It's Not That Samsung's Galaxy S4 Is an iPhone Killer

"We believe the S4 will certainly sell well and it is incrementally negative for Apple; however, the device is not revolutionary in our view," was Jefferies analyst Peter Misek's widely quoted line.

And over the weekend, as I compared the S4 with dozens of other phones on the market, Misek's point was dead on. The screen, camera, processor and software are better, but only marginally. Everything about the phone is sadly similar to other devices.

A galaxy not so far away
To me, the S4 doesn't just compete with the iPhone 5. It competes against the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy S3 and S2. Oh and what about the Motorola Droid? And the HTC Droid Incredible? And the other dozens and dozens and dozens of touch-controlled smartphones that are deeply penetrated at retail?

For many, less is quickly turning out to be more. In December, UBS (UBS) analyst Steve Milunovich told mobile news site that, by his estimates, the iPhone 4S was outperforming the newfangled iPhone 5.

And carriers have not been shy about pouring product into this already commoditized market. AT&T (T) has made its no-cost, refurb models a first option for shoppers. It had little choice. It's competing with aggressive retailers such as Wal-Mart (WMT), which offers the HTC Droid Incredible, a 4G LTE smartphone, for only $50 and $90 in monthly access fees for unlimited talk and text and 1GB of data.

And in such a collapsing market, how differentiated would a dirt-cheap Kindle smartphone from Amazon (AMZN) be from a Samsung Galaxy S4?

No winners, just losers

Will there be money to be made? Probably. But not much. Even vertically integrated screen and device makers such as Samsung are feeling the pinch. Not only are phones feeling stiff competition, but the core screen-making business has devolved into a money-losing business for the South Korean conglomerate. It spun off its LCD business after losing some $891 million on screens in 2011.

The smart bet in smartphones is now about realizing that when it comes to Apple vs. Samsung, no matter who "wins," everybody will be bloodied.
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.99 0.31%
FB $102.01 0.10%
GOOG $682.40 -0.10%
TSLA $151.04 0.38%
YHOO $27.04 1.05%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 15,973.84 +313.66 2.00%
S&P 500 1,864.78 +35.70 1.95%
NASDAQ 4,337.5120 +70.6750 1.66%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs