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It should surprise no-one to learn Samsung has moved past Apple to become the top phone maker in New Zealand.

The latest figures from IDC Research show Samsung has a 28. percent share of the smartphone market. Smartphones now account for 43 percent of the New Zealand mobile phone market.

NZ behind Australia on smartphone ownership

That puts us a long way behind Australia where smartphones account for 65 percent of the market. Why?

  • Australian incomes are higher than New Zealand salaries. Buying a smartphone is less of a financial stretch for Australians. At the same time, Australian carriers offer phones with plans and in many cases lock phones to networks. That doesn’t happen in New Zealand. Although locked phones on plans often work out more expensive in the long run, the lower bar means more kit is out there in the wild.
  • Australians have access to a better range of phones and, usually, get the good kit earlier than New Zealand. It helps that there are 13 Apple stores in Australia — and that would certainly be one reason why Apple is relatively more popular over there.
  • Australia was earlier to the mobile broadband party. Telstra had a fast, relatively reliable network long before Telecom NZ got its XT network off the ground. And speaking on Telecom NZ, the company only began offering Apple phones when the 4S launched last month.

Samsung phones are good

Many reviewers consider the latest Galaxy Nexus, which arrived too soon for the IDC survey, to be comparable with, or even better than, the Apple iPhone 4S.

I can’t confirm this. I can say the experience I get from an older Android phone is way better than I saw with the earlier Apple iPhone 4.

Android is a poor experience on a tablet when compared to the iPad, on a phone there’s no noticeable quality gap between the two rival operating systems.

Samsung’s Galaxy S II was the earlier flagship phone. Reviewers often compared it favourably with the iPhone.