With the Corona crisis on, and an impending recession, some things, however, haven’t changed, for example, the rivalry between cellphone giants Apple and Samsung.

Apple’s iPhone SE (£419/AU$749) goes on pre-order today, arriving on April 24, will be given a good run for its money by Samsung’s Galaxy A51 (£329/AU$645); both “budget” devices from these high-end manufacturers, teasing the $400 niche.

With phone shipments plummeting by 38% since February and expected to reach the lowest point in the decade, pricing is of the essence: both budget phones are more likely to sell more than Apple’s $1,100 iPhone 11 Pro Max and Samsung’s $1,400 Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Size matters: Small versus huge

The SE will be pocket-sized at 4.7 inches while the A51, aimed at video consumption and photography, will be a comparative giant at 6.5 inches.

Apple has the upper hand with carrier support

The iPhone SE would be the more widely available device among the two by far with the A51 being available only on Sprint and Verizon.

Samsung’s secret weapon

Storage will be Samsung’s nuke in this battle. The $399 iPhone comes with 64GB storage, but the A51 gives you double that at 128GB. Apple’s 128GB variant will cost $449.

A51 is expandable by 512GB. For reference, a 128GB micro SD card costs around $20. A 256GB iPhone, however, will cost $549.

Apple’s not-so-secret weapon

Apple’s USP has always been mystical, a chance for the user to identify as an Apple person, a kind of member of a secret iPhone tribe.

Samsung’s Perception Problem

The timing isn’t right for Samsung, with a fall in demand for premium cell phones, especially from a company that doesn’t have that great a standing with US users, unlike Apple.

But, here’s another take:

“[The Galaxy A51] adds further defense against the iPhone SE and also locks out that part of the market to other Android players for customers that want a well-known brand of mid-tier smartphone.”

~Ben Wood, chief of research for CCS Insight

So, we might see an all-out battle for supremacy among such mid-range Android smartphones.

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