At the launch of the Vega Racer 2 last week, Pantech's CEO Park Byeong-yeop said that he believed that his company is ready to compete with Apple and Samsung. He told reporters attending the event that "even though Samsung and Apple are powerful players, the product quality of the Vega Racer 2 is second-to-none" — a bold claim, considering Samsung's launch of the most powerful Android handset yet just a couple of days later. However, he said that its commercial success could be hampered by the shortage of the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processor that the phone uses (an issue that's also delayed the Asus Padfone) and that Pantech has revised down the sales estimates accordingly.
It's interesting in particular to see Pantech struggle to source the chips: Qualcomm owns a 10.7 percent stake in the handset manufacturer, which it obtained as part of a debt restructuring program in 2009. The chipmaker also has a small share in HTC, and we've not yet heard of any supply issues with the LTE HTC One X that's powered by the MSM8960. While Samsung's market dominance is always just one product away from being shaken, Pantech's ability to assert its own seems unlikely in the foreseeable future with a brand that's currently almost unknown outside its South Korean home.