Never bet against Samsung.
Despite successfully recalling 93 percent of Galaxy Note7 phones in the U.S., there are still more active Note7’s being used than its closest competitors, including the very capable LG V20.
The data comes from the research firm Apteligent (via AndroidPolice), and shows the on-its-deathbed Note7 still sitting pretty above the LG V20, HTC Bolt and OnePlus 3T.
The chart is interesting, considering how Note7 users have had months to return and exchange their phones as part of Samsung’s global recall.
But then again, as Mashable learned, there are avid groups of Note7 owners who continue to resist new software attempts aimed at disabling their phones. So the fact that less than 10 percent of remaining Note7s are still actively using their phones shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
Though there are caveats to Apteligent’s chart, namely global availability of competing phones listed on the chart (i.e. LG V20 isn’t available in Europe), it does provide an interesting look at the Android landscape, and could suggest a few trends.
Sucks to be LG
First, LG’s mobile business has essentially imploded. Once a serious competitor to Samsung, LG’s phones have fizzled out into a sad, pathetic state. In recent years, LG has failed to find solid footing with its phones.
At its height, LG was known for innovative features like being one of the first to use a Quad HD display, add laser autofocus to its camera, and include removable batteries.
LG’s failure to keep up with trends shows a company that’s out of touch with what consumers actually need.
Commendable as LG is for offering features other phone makers have long abandoned, its gamble on this year’s semi-modular G5, has all but failed to move the needle; sales were lower than the company expected and it’s rumored the G6 will scrap the modular design.
The company’s V-series hasn’t performed either, with many calling the V10 and V20’s tiny secondary screen a gimmick.
LG’s failure to keep up with trends (i.e. with thinner, lighter unibody metal designs and water resistance) shows a company that’s out of touch with what consumers actually need.
Apple and Samsung are frequently criticized for their controversial features (curved glass edges, removing headphone jack, etc.), but at least they’ve got a vision that pushes innovation forward and they stick it. LG’s flip-flopping has landed it at the bottom of the heap in a market that’s more competitive than ever before.
Samsung won’t be toppled soon
Meanwhile, the data suggests other troubled Android phone makers might be on the rebound. Sony, who has been losing marketshare and relevance in the mobile market, seems to be on the up with its Xperia XZ and even Lenovo’s modular Moto Z seems to be more actively used than the Note7. Google’s recently released Pixel and Pixel XL aren’t doing too shabbily either.
The HTC Bolt (aka HTC 10 Evo outside of the U.S.) and OnePlus 3T’s relative newness might account for the low number of active users. But there are other factors to consider, such as the Bolt’s super old Snapdragon 810 processor and the OnePlus 3T’s lower-volume sales.
While not conclusive (it’s just one source, after all), the chart echoes what many have been predicting, and that is, the Note7 might have been a complete failure and Samsung’s brand was definitely hurt, but the company’s not at all finished. Samsung will rebound and it’ll continue to sell tons and tons of phones; 2.5 million shipped Note7s was just a drop in the bucket a company that shipped 324.8 million phones in 2015.
For every other phone maker, they’ll either have to bring their A-game in 2017 or accept reality: Apple and Samsung dominate. It’s also worth noting, however, China’s largest phone makers (Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.) aren’t sitting still and have been creeping up quickly. Still, Samsung’s not going anywhere.