Monday, September 22nd 2014, three days after the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. As usual, Apple sent out a press release with news of the first weekend’s sales – and announcing a new record. After the nine million iPhone 5c/5s sold last year, Apple reported sales of 10 million of its new smartphones in just 10 days. Remember that the other giant in the sector, Samsung, took a month to sell 11 million Galaxy S5s. But the Korean manufacturer is still the only rival capable of coming close to the iPhone’s sales figures. And above all it is catching up with dozens of other models in its catalogue, whereas the Cupertino currently only offers four Smartphones.

Chinese muscle in

During the second quarter 2014, Samsung sold 75 million smartphones, compared with 35 million for Apple, 14.5 million for LG and 25 million for Sony, Nokia and HTC. These historic players must contend with the emergence of three Chinese manufacturers : Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo. These have adopted an aggressive pricing policy for products which are often of equivalent quality.  Lenovo and Xiaomi are set to make further progree in the coming months since those compagnies have not yet fully begun there international expansion.

Modest technological breakthroughs

Although there has not been any major technological breakthrough in the most popular smartphones this year, manufacturers are nevertheless offering some interesting innovations in certain products. HTC has released products (One M8 and Eye) featuring two photo sensors, while LG has launched a laser autofocus (G3) and the first smartphone with a flexible screen (G Flex). Sony has concentrated on water-tightness and integration with the Playstation 4 (Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact). Samsung has also been busy, with a flexible- display cell phone (Galaxy Round) and another with a convex screen at the edges (Galaxy Note Edge).

The launch of the two new iPhones, the Apple Watch and the Apple Pay service should also help to generalize use of mobile payment via an embedded secure element. The Californian manufacturer is not the first to offer this capability. Samsung and then Xiaomi launched first and other manufacturers are following close behind. The other major trend of the year is the increasing size of displays across all market segments. So much so that the GfK institute estimates that sales of smartphones with 5″+ displays leapt by 77% during the first three quarters of 2014.