**Editor's Note: Click here for our list of February's hottest selling smartphones to see how Samsung measured up against Apple's iPhone and the rest of its competition.**
A lot of Android fans were impressed last week when Samsung announced its new Galaxy S4 smartphone, most notably due to its Smart Scroll feature, which allows the user to scroll on the screen by simply moving his or her eyes. If that weren't enough, the phone can also be controlled with hand gestures picked up by the front-facing camera.
The S3 is one of the globe's best-selling smartphones of all time, making Samsung far and away the leader in smartphone sales around the world – a lead it is likely to increase with the release of the S4, bound for store shelves in the coming weeks. But in the U.S. market, Samsung still lags behind Apple and its iconic device.
Yankee Group's VP of research, Carl Howe, isn't that impressed with the upgrade from the S3.
“If Samsung were Apple, it would have named this design the Galaxy S IIIS. While Samsung updated the internals and the software, the S IV is just another iteration on the Galaxy design to be slightly bigger, faster and with a few new apps," noted Yankee Group's VP of research, Carl Howe, commenting specifically on a New York Times article.
And despite all of the hype surrounding the new phone, Yankee Group surveys indicate there still isn't the passion for the S4 that there is for the iPhone.
"We fully expect the Galaxy S IV to be an excellent flagship phone for Samsung, but Yankee Group doesn’t see the S IV allowing Samsung to gain ground against Apple in the crucial U.S. market," Howe added. "According to Yankee Group’s 2013 US Consumer Survey, March, only about 15 percent of consumers intend to buy a Samsung phone within the next six months, while 40 percent intend to buy Apple iPhones within that period. That’s actually a slight decline from the December quarter. Further, Samsung isn’t generating the same kind of brand loyalty that Apple owners have; in that same survey, only 61 percent of Samsung owners intend to buy another Samsung as their next smartphone; that contrasts dramatically with 85 percent of Apple iPhone owners intending to buy another iPhone. Unless Samsung works very hard to change consumers’ minds in the next six months, we actually see Apple gaining ownership share on Samsung in the U.S. in 2013 rather than the other way around."
Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.