SYDNEY: iPhone did to touchscreen phones what iPod did to MP3 players, despite not inventing either concept, but while Apple can still put all its intellectual property into just one phone, Samsung has built a touch phone arsenal.

Technically Apple has released three iPhones, the original, the 3G and now the impending 3G S, but there are just technology upgrades of the one device.

Samsung has developed 20 touchscreen phones globally and by September this year the company will have 7 touchscreen mobile phones available in the Australian market. This 7-count includes the four phones in Samsung’s new ICON range, the F480, the UltraTouch and the current Omnia, which will eventually be phased out following the release of the Omnia ICON.

The four phones in the ICON range each use a different operating system and offer different features for differentiated price points. It’s the marketing basics multiplied, and it will be interesting to see what this does to iPhone’s global sales — currently over 21 million since June 2007, according to Apple’s financial reports.

My guess is that Samsung will grow the entire touch phone market because 21 million iPhones is still less than 2 per cent of the more than 1-billion mobile phones sold globally annually, and it took Apple 2 years to achieve that.

According to the latest Gartner research, worldwide mobile phone sales for Q1 2009 were 269,120 million, with Nokia topping the sales list with 36.2 per cent and 97-million units. Samsung was second on this hit list at 19.1 per cent or 51-million units.

Samsung is now the leader in terms of the number of touch phones available.