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Galaxy S4 sales to reach 100 million, production may affect Apple supply chain analyst says

In a research note send to investors, an analyst says that Samsung plans to make 100 million Galaxy S4 units, with production said to potentially affect future Apple supply needs.
February 14, 2013

A few weeks ago we heard that Samsung may be planning to sell up to 10 million Galaxy S4 units per month once the new flagship device is launched, and today we have an analyst pretty much confirming that number.

According to a note send by Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek to investors, Samsung plans to produce 100 million Galaxy S4 units, which would make the device the most popular Android handset ever, beating all previous Galaxy S versions, not that we’d be surprised by that.

In other words, it looks like the Galaxy S line is becoming for Samsung what the iPhone is to Apple, a product whose latest version sells far better than its predecessors, albeit Samsung is not quite there yet when it comes to overall sales for flagship devices.

Misek further speculates that Galaxy S4 production needs may affect Apple’s manufacturing plans as well, although it won’t specify what suppliers have gone on record to say they’ll prioritize Galaxy S4 components over iPhone’s:

“The enormous 100 million S4 build plan (we estimate the S3 sold 60M) is leading some suppliers to say that they will reallocate resources away from Apple,” Misek wrote in his research note.

But then again, this is just an analyst talking and they don’t get it right all the time. Sure, Samsung has what it takes to produce such a number of high-end handsets and has the cash to entice components suppliers.

At the same time, Apple is known to perfect supply deals with a variety of suppliers to make sure it has enough resources to build devices. After all, Tim Cook didn’t get to where it is today without merit. He may not be the next Jobs, but he sure streamlined Apple’s operations over the years.


However, it’s one thing having enough resources, while building enough devices to go around is quite an other, at least for Apple. And word on the street is that iPhone production is slowing down, at least according to unconfirmed reports based on tips from component suppliers.

On its part, Samsung did not have any production issues and shipping delays with the Galaxy S3, which Misek said in the same note that it sold in 60 million units, and chances are that it won’t have any Galaxy S4 delays like others do.

It will definitely be interesting to see how many Galaxy S4 units Samsung will sell this year, especially considering that the phone will have some tough competition from other high end devices out there, including the Xperia Z, the HTC One (M7), the LG Optimus G Pro, the Google/Motorola X Phone and the future Nexus smartphones.

And that’s just to name a few of the already announced or rumored devices. Not to mention that there are plenty of Chinese Android device makers that are stepping up their smartphone-making efforts, with some interesting devices already here to challenge the “regular” Android OEMs.

Furthermore, not all Android device buyers are ready to purchase a high-end device – in fact many of them choose cheaper entry-level to mid-range handsets. And plenty of those that do, happen to buy them on-contract, which means they could still be engaged to their carrier when the Galaxy S4 launches.

Analysts estimates and production rumors aside, should Samsung sell that many handsets in the following year – getting bonus points if indeed it will disrupt Apple supply chains in the process – then every other Android handset maker could be in trouble. Will you buy the Galaxy S4 this year? Why?