According to a consumer survey of 44,168 people, iPhone is the best smartphone. While that result’s likely to be a controversial among Android users, it’s probably not surprising to iPhone fans.
Except that the survey was in Korea, the homeland of bitter Apple rival Samsung.
iPhones have few failures, Korean respondents said, with only 17 percent having any issue with their Apple smartphone, while 31 percent reported issues with Android-based Samsung phones. Samsung phones reportedly had significant battery charging problems and screen quality issues, while Apple’s troubles were related to touch or button malfunctions.
Apple is the dominant foreign smartphone manufacturer in Korea, but that’s not saying much.
Foreign manufacturers have had a difficult time penetrating Korea, with Motorola, HTC, Nokia, and Blackberry all seeing just sub-one-percent market share in the country.
While Apple has historically done better, with better than 20 percent market share in 2010, that has dropped to single digits in 2013. Samsung, by contrast, has jumped to 65 percent domestic market share, with Pantech and LG, two other Korean manufacturers, each growing to about 15 percent.
That doesn’t leave much for American invaders like Apple.
Even so, it’s clear from the survey that those Koreans who choose iPhone, like iPhone. And that Apple’s legendary build quality and attention to detail is still evident.
But with the flood of cheaper Android phones from multiple companies including Samsung, it’s equally clear that Ferraris don’t win market share wars. And that Apple’s much-rumored cheaper iPhone, which analysts have said could triple market share in at least one Asian country — China — is needed sooner rather than later if Apple wants to regain lost ground.
And while the cheaper iPhone will likely have a plastic shell that is cheaper to build than iPhone 5′s metal one, building shoddy products is just not in Apple’s religion, CEO Tim Cook said back in February.
Which should mean that with a cheaper device still built to Apple’s demanding specifications, the company has a shot at doubling or tripling market share in Korea as well as other Asian and emerging markets.