Apple and Samsung remain embroiled in a legal battle but competition between the tech giants remains as fierce in the marketplace as it is in the courtroom, as demand for the latter's Galaxy S3 smartphone continues to soar ahead of Apple's forthcoming iPhone 5 release. So much so, that satisfying consumers' insatiable appetite for the phone is threatening to become a problem in itself for Samsung.
The record-breaking sales of the Galaxy S3 have illustrated Samsung's increasing ability to match Apple in the mobile arena, though analysts now say demand for the phone is in danger of outstripping the supply, in a development that could taint the company's current smartphone boom.
Samsung's production drive wasn't helped by having to throw out over half a million covers for the device days before its launch, and estimates suggest a struggle to meet orders may have cost the firm some two million sales over the past month.
Some also point to an unfounded wariness of competition as preventing Samsung from fully capitalising on the Galaxy S3's success. "Samsung might have been caught off guard by the demand, not because they did not believe in their own products, but because they might have over-estimated the competition," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi. "In other words, aside from the iPhone and HTC's One X there's not much out there at the moment, which would have certainly helped Samsung."
Supply headaches are certainly good headaches for manufacturers however, and the popularity of the Galaxy smartphone series paints a rosy picture for the company overall. Samsung's global smartphone market share was below 10 per cent before the launch of the first Galaxy two years ago, but numerous reports have the firm now surpassing Apple in the arena. This year, between January and March alone, Samsung sold 44.5 million smartphones, and current quarter sales are expected to top 50 million.
"It's increasingly apparent the Galaxy S3 is being considered a true peer to the iPhone, rather than simply the least-bad alternative," said CLSA analyst Matt Evans. "Samsung has obviously developed huge leverage in negotiations with carriers and created a 'must have' handset."
The iPhone 5 certainly has its work cut-out to wrestle back the limelight from the Galaxy S3. But given the furore that surrounds every leak or news-snippet regarding the next-generation phone, Apple's crown could well be perched a little more securely by the end of 2012.