When the Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona on Monday, many of the world’s largest smartphone brands will use this gathering of the mobile industry to unveil their latest offerings on the global stage. While most brands are more than happy about the attention their products get at an event like MWC, the world’s largest smartphone makers won’t be showing off new phones this year. While Apple is known to skip MWC, and why wouldn’t it considering the buzz its own events generate, Samsung used to unveil its new flagship Galaxy S models at the congress but reportedly decided against it this year. The Korean leader of the smartphone market will still be present in Barcelona, but is expected to focus on tablets this time around.
Interestingly Samsung and Apple follow polar opposite approaches in the smartphone market. While Apple is decidedly minimalist in how many different models it sells and focuses on the high end segment of the market, Samsung churns out more smartphones than any other major brand year after year. While the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models compete with Apple for the premium segment, Samsung also has cheaper models on offer to compete with Chinese brands in Asia and at the lower end of Western markets.
It is impossible to say which approach is the right one, as both Samsung and Apple are exceptionally successful in what they’re doing. To be successful with Apple’s less-is-more strategy is arguably more difficult though, as it increases the pressure on every new model to be a hit. On the other hand, no company understands how to build up mystery and excitement around its products quite as well as Apple does. The fact that the iPhone 8 rumor mill started spinning mere weeks after the iPhone 7 release is a testament to that.
This chart shows how many new smartphone models selected brands released in 2016.