Who Deserves the credit, Samsung or Google?
As a lover of technology, I’m always playing with new devices and have an array of smartphones that I use or test on a regular basis. My most recent acquisition was a Samsung smartphone and many times when I try using a new device such as this, I try to think about it not from the techie-perspective that I’m entrenched in but rather from that of a typical consumer.
The first thing is, if the typical consumer is not already using a “Samsung” device (I will explain further in the blog why I’m using quotation marks), then what would he be using? If he’s based here in the United Arab Emirates and already owns a smartphone, he (or she) would typically be using a BlackBerry device or possibly an iPhone. This is a stark contrast to most of the world where the typical smartphone user that “Samsung” would target would be an iPhone user. RIM’s BlackBerry platform has the largest marketshare in this region in the smartphone space due to the first mover advantage they hold, the popularity of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and the large variety of data packages that telecom operators here offer.
If the consumer was using a BlackBerry, the changing landscape would be immense for the consumer. Gone is the touchpad, BlackBerry button, a stress free data plan and the much-loved BBM (which has a penetration rate of 99% amongst BlackBerry users in the region). In return, the consumer would have a much richer App ecosystem, a world with no physical keyboards and a constant search for free Wifi in order to stop data costs petting out of control.
For a consumer making the switch from an iPhone, the change is slightly less dramatic. An iPhone user would already be used to a touchscreen and running after free Wifi wherever they could find it but what would make the “Samsung” unique is the better integration with Gmail, the ability to sync to a Google calendar, the ability play movies in virtually any file format to name just a few differences. The “Samsung” would come in different screen sizes and it would be a departure from the one flavour for all policy that Apple has had.
The “Samsung” has been making headway in the smartphone market but the question arises, is it successful because of what Samsung has put into making the product successful or what Google has done with the operating system? The reason I mention this because more and more I’ve heard people crediting their Samsung device for certain features that are inherent to Google’s Android operating system but due to Samsung’s leadership over other brands marketing Android, they’ve managed to take some credit on behalf of Google. It’s not to say that Samsung hasn’t made a major contribution to the success of their devices but the boundaries over what is their contribution and what is Google’s is a little more blurry as compared to Apple who design everything themselves.
So in case you decide to play with a Samsung device again, just ask yourself, do you like the fact that the product is a Samsung or an Android device.