Can Galaxy S3 Mini or Nokia Lumia 920 Steal Apple's Thunder?

Greg is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Since its launch in September, sales of the iPhone 5 from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been nothing short of staggering. So much so, in fact, that Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn Technology Group is having trouble meeting the tremendous worldwide demand for the devices, according to a Reuters article.

Might this be an opportunity for Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini or Nokia’s Lumia 920 to steal Apple’s thunder? Apple has relied on its iPhone 5’s larger screen and 4G LTE connectivity to drive phenomenal growth (in its first weekend of availability Apple sold more than 5 million iPhone 5s). However, the verdict is still out on whether the iPhone 5 can maintain its momentum in the smartphone market

Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy mobile phones were specifically designed to compete with Apple’s popular iPhone devices. Despite losing a recent patent-infringement trial to Apple in U.S. District Court, Samsung continues to dominate the global smartphone market with its flagship Galaxy S3 product line, which includes the S3 Mini version.

In October, IDC reported that Samsung maintained its Q3 leadership position in the worldwide smartphone market, posting another record quarter that was more than double the total volume of Apple, highlighted by the full quarter availability of the Galaxy S3. However, it’s important to emphasize that iPhone 5 was only on the market for one week in the third quarter of this year. Perhaps, more significantly, IDC stated that Nokia (NYSE: NOK) dropped off the worldwide list of the top five smartphone vendors.

IDC analyst Kevin Restivo concluded that Nokia's share losses have meant gains for its competitors and that the company's “transition away from Symbian-powered smartphones to ones shipped with Windows Phone has left ample opportunity for rivals to steal share away from Nokia over the past 18 months.”

Consequently, going forward, a better question might be: can Nokia’s Lumia 920 take away market share from Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini? If pre-orders by AT&T customers of the Lumia 920 are any indication, Samsung might be facing some serious competition. Starting Nov. 7, AT&T made the Lumia 920 available for pre-order but the free wireless charging plate sold out in less than 6 hours.

A head-to-head comparison between Samsung’s Galaxy S3 Mini and Nokia’s Lumia 920 in terms of specs and features would give the advantage to the Lumia 920. Nokia has a bigger screen display - 4.5 inch screen display for 920 versus the Galaxy S3 Mini’s 4-inch screen size. When it comes to the processor, the Galaxy S3 Mini is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) NovaThor chipset while Nokia Lumia has dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor.

The 920 also has more storage options (Galaxy S3 Mini is available with 8GB and 16GB with microSD slot up to 32GB, but Nokia has 16GB, 32GB and 64GB variants). And, the Lumia 920's 8 megapixel camera trumps the Galaxy S3 Mini’s 5 megapixel camera.

As the Apple and Samsung behemoths continue to be at loggerheads, Nokia might be an unintended beneficiary. On Nov. 26, RBC commented on Nokia noting a better cash position and encouraging new device demand. Analyst Mark Sue reported that Lumia uptake seems modestly better than the downbeat predictions.  

Fool blogger Greg Slabodkin does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this entry. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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