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Dan Benjamin is joined by Haddie Cooke (5by5), blogger/writer's Christina Warren Benedict Evans (UK), and Horace Dediu (Finland), to discuss their thoughts on the September 10th Apple Event announcing the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, and more.
Duration is 1 hour and 30 minutes. It's one of the better discussions of the event and products that I've listened to.
Samsung sees that Apple is making an aggressive push into China, and will pump up the competition with powerful new 64-bit Galaxy products in order to keep Apple at bay.
Shin Jong-kyun, Samsung’s mobile business chief, confirmed that Samsung wants to expand its business in the Chinese smartphone market during a meeting in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul.
“Samsung understands that Apple intends to boost its mobile business in China, as well as in Japan, meaning that we should try harder in these countries,” said shin.
Apple will sell its latest iPhones through China Unicom and China Telecom while also talking with China Mobile, which has a customer base over twice the size of the U.S. population. In fact, Chinese regulators gave the final required license for the iPhone to work on China Mobile Ltd's mobile network this week.
Samsung plans to pursue the market with competitive products in hopes of swaying users from buying Apple's iPhones. For instance, Shin said the next set of Samsung Galaxy smartphones would feature 64-bit processors for more power and speed.
“Not in the shortest time. But yes, our next smartphones will have 64-bit processing functionality,” said Shin.
In addition, Samsung will hold a launch event for its latest 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 "phablet" in China.
Apple, on the other hand, just recently announced its iPhone 5S, which also features a 64-bit processor (the ARM-based A7). This will offer the market a high-end smartphone with enough power to run complex games and applications.
As of the end of the second quarter, Samsung was the top smartphone seller in China with 19.4 percent of the market while Apple’s share was just 4.3 percent.
Source: The Korea Times:http://www.siliconinvestor.com/readmsg.aspx?msgid=29112700 ###
The latest smartphone sales data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, for the three months to August 2013, shows Windows Phone has posted its highest ever sales share of 9.2% across the five major European markets¹ and is now within one percentage point of iOS in Germany. Android remains the top operating system across Europe with a 70.1% market share, but its dominant position is increasingly threatened as growth trails behind both Windows and iOS.
¹ The big five European markets (EU5) includes Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Windows Phone has hit double digit sales share figures in France and Great Britain with 10.8% and 12% respectively – the first time it has recorded double digits in two major markets.
Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, comments: “After years of increasing market share, Android has now reached a point where significant growth in developed markets is becoming harder to find. Android’s growth has been spearheaded by Samsung, but the manufacturer is now seeing its share of sales across the major European economies dip year on year as a sustained comeback from Sony, Nokia and LG begins to broaden the competitive landscape.”
Dominic continues: “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16 to 24 year-olds and 35 to 49 year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone’.
Across the globe
In the United States, Apple continues to grow strongly year on year and now makes up 39.3% of sales. This is set to spike in the coming months with the release of the iPhone 5S & 5C.
Apple and Android have recorded almost identical shares of sales in Japan – 48.6% and 47.4% respectively. However, news that the new iPhone range will be available on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, for the first time, makes it likely that Apple will pull ahead of Android in this key market.
BlackBerry’s troubles continue; the operating system now accounts for just 2.4% of sales across the big five European markets and 1.8% in the United States.
Smartphone % penetration in Great Britain stands at 67% in August, with 85% of devices sold in the past three months being smartphones. ###
T-Mobile grew to 13.2% of smartphone sales in the U.S. market in the 3 month period ending August 2013, marking its highest share of sales over the past year, and realized a growth of 1.1% points, reversing an on-going trend of year-on-year decline, according to data released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
The sales growth comes as a result of strong iOS sales and strategic discounts, based upon analysis by the company.
In smartphone sales, Android has retained its lead for the 3 month period ending August 2013, with a 55.1% sales share of the smartphone market. iOS follows with 39.3% sale share, an increase of 5.4% versus the same period a year ago.
Little movement is seen among the other operating systems in the market. Windows saw 3.0% of sales in the August period, while BlackBerry was down to 1.8% of sales.
Verizon is the top carrier, with a 37.1% share of smartphone sales in the 3 months ending August 2013 (seeing growth of 6.9% points). AT&T maintained second at 21.7%, and Sprint third with 14.6% of smartphone sales.
The data is derived from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech USA’s consumer panel, which is the largest continuous consumer research mobile phone panel of its kind in the world, conducting more than 240,000 interviews per year in the U.S. alone. ComTech tracks mobile phone behavior and the customer journey, including purchasing of phones, mobile phone bills/airtime, and source of purchase and phone usage. This data is exclusively focused on the sales within this 3 month period rather than market share figures. Sales shares exemplify more forward focused trends and should represent the market share for these brands in future.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Global Strategic Insight Director, Dominic Sunnebo states, “When iOS first debuted on T-Mobile in mid-April, the majority of sales came from consumers upgrading from a featurephone to their first smartphone. However, looking at those who purchased an iPhone in the August period, 56% of those consumers came from another smartphone, including 38.5% from an Android device.”
For the 3 months ending August 2013, the iPhone 5 remained the top-selling smartphone at T-Mobile, with 17.1% of sales.
Still, the majority of phones sold on T-Mobile run Android, including the Samsung Galaxy series, and the HTC One, which saw deep discounts in August.
As part of T-Mobile’s ‘uncarrier’ strategy, smartphones are being offered at a smaller up-front cost, with the ability to pay off the rest of the phone over the next two years. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 were debuted for $99.99 up front, $100 less expensive than other major carriers with a 2 year contract. In August, both of these phones were offered at $0 down, and saw sales increase.
Sunnebo continues “The discounts seen in August may have been in response to AT&T and Verizon, which have followed suite with similar programs, debuting at the end of July and August, respectively. With these carriers once again on a level playing field, it will be interesting to see if T-Mobile can continue its upward trajectory.” ###
Taiwan's HTC Corp slid into the red for the first time in the third quarter, with sales hit hard by fierce competition in the smartphone market, supply chain constraints and internal turmoil.
Underscoring a dramatic decline for a company which boasts award-winning smartphones but has failed to develop a durable brand of handsets, it posted an operating loss of T$3.5 billion as sales for the quarter tumbled by a third from the same period a year earlier.
At a net level, it booked a loss of T$2.97 billion ($100 million), bigger than an expected loss of T$1.8 billion, according to Thomson Reuters SmartEstimates. That compares with a net profit of T$3.9 billion in the same quarter last year.
Its shares were down 2.3 percent in early trade.
HTC lacks the scale of bigger rivals Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and its troubles this year have only multiplied.
In addition to internal feuding and executive exits, sources have said that it is facing casing shortages for its HTC One Mini. It has also lost some patent cases and media have reported that three of its design executives have been arrested on suspicion of leaking trade secrets.
HTC's share of the global smartphone market has plummeted from a peak of 9.1 percent in 2011 to 2.6 percent in the most recent quarter, according to research firm Gartner and analysts have said it needs a wholesale reevaluation of its strategy in order to survive. ###
>> HTC Posts Wider-Than-Estimated Quarterly Loss as Sales Slump
Lulu Yilun Chen (Hong Kong) & Adela Lin (Taipei) Bloomberg October 3, 2013
HTC Corp. (2498), Taiwan’s biggest smartphone maker, posted a third-quarter loss wider than analyst estimates as its handsets lost market share to devices from Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co.
The company had a net loss of NT$2.97 billion ($101 million) in the three months ended September, Taoyuan City, Taiwan-based HTC said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with the NT$1.71 billion average loss of 16 analyst estimates and is the first on a consolidated basis since at least 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
HTC’s flagship One has failed to arrest sliding sales amid product delays and changes to strategy as it faces intensifying competition from Chinese producers including Huawei Technologies Co. The company, which wasn’t among the top five producers in the second quarter, plans to boost promotion with actor Robert Downey Jr. and add cheaper devices to revive growth.
“HTC needs to figure out if it just wants to focus on the high-end market or the mid- to low-end segment, and right now it is missing out on both,” said Wang Wanli, a Taipei-based analyst at CIMB Securities Ltd. “In the fourth quarter many new products are in the pipeline, including iPhone, Samsung and Huawei, HTC only has one new model so they won’t see a strong pick up.”
Shares of HTC fell 0.8 percent to NT$132 as of 9:51 a.m. in Taipei. The stock has lost more than 80 percent of its value in the past two years.
The operating loss in the third quarter was NT$3.5 billion and sales were NT$47 billion, the company said today. Analysts had projected an operating loss of NT$2.2 billion on sales of NT$ 54 billion.
HTC, the first maker of phones using Google Inc. software, in July forecast an eighth straight drop in quarterly sales as it struggles to compete with Apple and Samsung.
The company was ranked ninth in the global smartphone market during the second quarter, with 2.8 percent share compared with 5.8 percent a year earlier, according to data from Bloomberg Industries and IDC. That compares with 31.7 percent for Samsung, 13.2 percent for Apple and 4.8 percent for Lenovo Group Ltd. (992)
HTC was a contract manufacturer before it began promoting its own brand in 2006. The company had a short-lived reign at the top of the U.S. market in the third quarter of 2011, when it accounted for 24 percent of smartphone shipments, according to researcher Canalys.
The company in February 2012 said it had “dropped the ball” on products, pointing to weaknesses in design and engineering. The HTC One, which was supposed to herald a reversal of fortune, has so far failed to stop a slide in the company’s sales since the phone’s introduction was delayed to the same timeframe as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4.
HTC lost the early momentum of unveiling its HTC One in February prior to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 as a shortage of camera components forced it to delay shipments. ###
The Commercialization of IT in the Enterprise: A Bob Egan Interview ...
... titled "The Future of Enterprise Mobility" conducted by Kevin Benedict the Head Analyst of SMAC (Social, MOBILE, Analytics and Cloud) at Cognizant Technology Solutions.
The 1st 10 minutes of this 29 minute interview focuses on the demise of Blackberry. Kevin then discusses some initial issues with iOS 7 he has experienced with his iPhones and the conversation moves on to cloud computing. It's definitely worth a listen.
The video above is part 2 of 2 interviews with Bob from Kevin's 'Mobile Expert Video Series' and part 1 was posted to the Nokia board here along with an excellent article on the challenges Microsoft faces with the integration of Nokia Devices and Services once it clears regulatory approvals. That original post is here: Message 29099528
Anout Bob Egan: Bob is a Mobile Industry Analyst, Executive Advisor and Wi-Fi Pioneer. He is the CEO and Founder of the The Sepharim Group, a mobile industry research and enterprise consulting firm. He was formerly a CEB Research Head and Advanced Technology Director at DEC and then VP of Mobile at Gartner. The origins of The Sepharim Group date back to 2002 when Bob Egan built the successful consulting boutique and industry analyst firm – The Sepharim GroupMobile Competency. With the acquisition of Mobile Competency in 2005 by TowerGroup, Bob spent the next six years as the CRO for their MasterCard division (now owned by CEB). In 2010 Bob formally founded The Sepharim Group to renew his commitment as a leading expert and trusted executive advisor for all things mobile: sepharim.com
In re the demise of BlackBerry which Bob discusses with Kevin in the video above, Bob recently wrote an article titled "Requiem For BlackBerry" for Forbes and I've posted it on our Blackberry board here:
GSMArena's Best of the Best 3 Way Shootout: Nokia Lumia 1020 v. LG G2 v. Apple iPhone 5s (Part 1) ...
GSM Arena just published a rather comprehensive 12 section comparison of what they consider to be the best Model that Android, iOS, and Windows Phone have to offer. It makes for interesting reading. In the introduction they state:
One thing's certain, the Apple iPhone 5s, the LG G2 and the Nokia Lumia 1020 just don't mix. The three platforms are usually targeting a completely different set of users. But each of these gadgets is the best of its species and that's the cross section of everything the industry has to offer at this point. ... It's not like each of those phones is only as good as its weakest spot, but it's not as straightforward either as simply praise this one's camera, that one's app store or the other one's full-HD screen. This can easily get out of control and into a three-ring circus, but we're gonna give it a try anyway.
>> Apple iPhone 5s vs. LG G2 vs. Nokia Lumia 1020: War of the worlds
Introduction (page 1): You know what they say - three is a crowd. On a second thought though, no one here's got romance on their mind. The three-horse race has had its highs and lows, but it's the playoffs and we got a front-row seat. It's not about heroes and villains anymore, everyone's a bit of both. Each phone here will look at the other two and see the worst of both worlds. Now, can we keep a cool head and try and see the whole picture?
... < Very BIG Snip ... see text at link above > ...
Final Words (page 12):
Are these the top three phones you can get? Well they certainly are in the running, but that's not the point here. It was a panorama instead of the best the three smartphone platforms have to offer. Luckily for the three - Apple iPhone 5s, LG G2 and Nokia Lumia 1020 - they are so different that they are not really in direct competition for the same buyers. We probably don't need this disclaimer, but it was worth pointing it out. ... < Big Snip > ... Each of these three smartphones has their strengths and weaknesses, and while the best always lies ahead, these three are like a snapshot of how far the three competing OS have come and they will surely stay at the top for a while. Shame such an impressive combination of features has to be split three ways. On a second thought, thank goodness the smartphone future is multiplied by three. ###
Winners, Runners Up, and 3rd Place Summary Matrix
In the articles text the GSMArena Team compares the 3 smartphones in 13 categories and in each category picks a Winner, a Runner Up, and a 3rd Place contender. I've summarized each contender in the matrix below awarding 3 points to the Winner, 2 points to the Runner Up, and 1 point to the 3rd place contender, then totaled the points awarded. A different result would, of course be obtained if each category was weighted to suit personal preferences.
Nokia Apple Lumia 1020 LG G2 iPhone 5S ========== ===== ========= Exterior and Build 2 1 3 ----------------------------------------------------------- Display 2 3 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Battery Life 2 3 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Software 1 3 2 ----------------------------------------------------------- Benchmarks 1 2 3 ----------------------------------------------------------- Image Galleries 2 1 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Video Players 2 3 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Music Players and Radio 2 3 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Loudspeaker 3 1 2 ----------------------------------------------------------- Camera Features 3 2 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Still Photos: good light 3 2 1 ----------------------------------------------------------- Still Photos: low-light 3 1 2 ----------------------------------------------------------- Video Recording 2 1 3 ========== ===== ========= Total Points 28/39 26/39 20/39
In a follow up post I'll clip the text of each category's summary of GSMArena's justification for ranking the contenders but there is a lot of meat for each summary that I have not included and its worth a review in the original text.
Winners, Runners Up, and 3rd Place Contenders in 13 Categories
In the articles text the GSMArena Team compares the 3 smartphones in 13 categories and in each category picks a Winner, a Runner Up, and a 3rd Place contender. The summaries in each category are excerpted below. I've summarized each contender in the matrix below awarding 3 points to the Winner, 2 points to the Runner Up, and 1 point to the 3rd place contender, then totaled the points awarded. A different result would, of course be obtained if each category was weighted to suit personal preferences.
• Exterior and Build
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. To be clear, it's the handling and premium feel that we rate in this one. The iPhone's design may've been used on a few generations already, but it's still relevant, to say the least. Apple's flagship looks, as usual, more like an elegant accessory than a working tool. And it's not just the looks, the iPhone 5s is built to perfection, with great attention to detail. You can easily say the same about the other two as well but theirs is a classic example of looks being second to power and performance.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The polycarbonate unibody has enough of a premium feel and, while the handling might be awkward at first, the solid build and the fact that Nokia integrated such a vastly superior camera tech into a phone's body, help it clinch the second spot.
Third place: LG G2. Certainly not by a mile, though - the LG smartphone is probably the most practical of the three, delivering the highest screen estate to footprint ratio and an ample battery. The lack of any controls on the front to spoil the looks also means that while not as pretty as the other two, the G2 is certainly not a smartphone you'd mind being seen in public with.
• Display Comparison
Winner: LG G2. LG G2 has the biggest, brightest display with the highest resolution. Quite expectedly the G2 screen is really sharp with the excellent 424ppi ratio and its color reproduction is more accurate than Lumia 1020's AMOLED. All those wins are enough to compensate for its unspectacular performance in direct sunlight.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The AMOLED screens are still among the best on the market and the extra punch they provide is preferred by many. It is bigger than the 4-inch Retina and with better contrast. This is, along with the larger size, is enough to easily overshadow the iPhone 5s victory on the sunlight test.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The 4" Retina is a great screen with excellent image quality, but when you put it next to the much ampler displays of the other two, it just can't compete. It's no longer at top of the food chain when it comes to density either, so it only has the top-notch sunlight legibility going for it in this battle.
• Battery Life: Talk time, Web browsing, Video playback
Winner: LG G2. Despite a very respectable performance by the Nokia Lumia 1020, the LG G2 is the clear winner here. It outscored the Lumia 1020 on the call test, beat it on the web browsing test by a mile, and it also remained on par with it when playing videos.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumia 1020 overall battery endurance rating is just an hour less than the LG G2, however it's a long way behind when it comes to web browsing and calling endurance and only marginally better in video playback, which is what really matters to power users (and those are usually the ones shopping flagships). The Lumia 1020 has to be given credit for offering the most efficient stand-by of the trio, though.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. Posting the lowest endurance rating and showing that irritating stand-by drain bug, the Apple smartphone is some way off its competitors here. Its excellent web-browsing endurance that puts the Lumia 1020 will provide some consolation, though.
Winner: LG G2. The Android OS is highly customizable and with functionality that the other two can't come close to. It has an open file system, file manager, best multi-tasking and huge developer community. Its last standing problem was the sub-par performance, but that stopped being an issue when the 4.1 Jelly Bean release came out.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. The iOS 7 might have lots of restrictions, but it is very easy to use, looks great and gives you access to the world's top-grossing app and content stores. It's got excellent after-market support, too, with each iPhone getting timely updates for at least three years.
Third place: Nokia Lumia 1020. An awful long time has passed since the last major update of the Windows Phone 8 OS and for a platform this young this is pretty bad news. The app catalog also pales in comparison to the the other two platforms. Software-wise the two major selling points of the smartphone are the complete MS Office suite and the offline navigation, but those are just not enough to give the Lumia 1020 anything but third place here.
• Performance Benchmarks
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s topped most benchmarks and with iOS 7 designed around it, it provides the best experience for general use, gaming and web browsing.
Runner up: LG G2. The LG G2 lost a few synthetic benchmarks, but works smoothly all the same. We did expect four 2.26GHz cores to stack up a little better against the two 1.3GHz custom Apple cores though.
3rd place: Nokia Lumia 1020. While the gap between iPhone 5s and LG G2 is almost negligible, the Nokia Lumia 1020 is tangibly behind both in terms of 3d and web performance. Yes, the UI and apps run smoothly, but the old chipset is limiting to developers.
• Image Galleries
Winners: Apple iPhone 5s and LG G2. The iOS and G2 galleries share great looks, awesome sharing features, and great organization. Photo Stream is an awesome perk of the iPhone 5s, but it's balanced by the very enjoyable experience that is browsing photos on the 5.2" screen of the G2.
Third place: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Windows Phone gallery offers less sorting and viewing options and looks stale.
• Video Players
Winner: LG G2. Quite obviously LG G2 has the most capable, feature-rich and powerful video player among the three.
Runner up: Lumia 1020. Windows Phone 8 offers USB mass storage and supports a lot more codecs than its iPhone rival. Even if you get a more versatile third-party player for iOS, the iTunes-dependency is still an issue, which the less than lightning-fast cloud transfer cannot quite make up for.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The latest Apple flagship definitely has the worst video capabilities among all three smartphones. Its video player hasn't been improved in ages and should definitely be higher on the priority list for the iOS 8 development.
• Music players and Radio
Winner: LG G2. The G2 music player might not be the best looking, but it offers customizable equalizer presets, handy search and sorting options. The G2 also comes with an integrated FM tuner.
Runner-up: Nokia Lumia 1020. Nokia Lumia 1020 comes with a free music streaming service, just like the iPhone 5s. It also comes with a skilled music player with equalizer presets. What it has over the iPhone though is a regular FM radio.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone offers free music streaming, the music player is quite the looker with its simplistic design, but it lacks customizable equalizers or other value-added features and the 5s has no FM radio.
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. It's a simple game of numbers here and the Nokia smartphone wins it.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. Three second places in the three tests secure the iPhone 5s the silver medal here.
Third place: LG G2. Consistently the quietest of the three.
• Camera Features
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The manual controls of the Nokia Lumia 1020 are of interest to photo enthusiasts, while the lossless digital zooming will benefit casual users. The audio is great too and Nokia has some of the best hardware OIS. The one major complaint is the slow shot-to-shot time.
Runner-up: LG G2. The LG G2 has goodies like dual-shot, VR Panorama, Time catch shot, face effects and audio zoom, not to mention the hardware OIS - even if you use only half of them, that's still more than what the iPhone offers.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s has a great camera but it's the embodiment of the point-and-shoot mentality. Apple still ignores things like selectable image resolution, let alone adjustable image properties like white balance or saturation.
• Still Photos: Good Light
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 1020 produces amazing 5MP photos and that's that. The full resolution shots look good too, but 5MP is quite enough for virtually all displays. It still pays to shoot full res shots as they allow you to enjoy zooming, cropping and reframing on the phone later on.
Runner-up: LG G2. The LG G2 photos have accurate color rendering and the higher resolution allows it to capture more detail than the iPhone 5s.
Third place: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s features an improved camera over the iPhone 5 and photos do look very pleasing to the eye, but having 40% fewer pixels than the G2 (and no supersampling to rely on), takes its toll.
• Still Photos: Low-Light
Winner: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Nokia Lumia 1020 had the best shots with and without flash hands down. The OIS could have helped a bit more, but the 1020 is the clear winner here.
Runner up: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s does very well for a 7.6mm thick smartphone that doesn't have the benefit of a huge sensor, a bulky xenon flash or optical image stabilization. Photos without flash were a bit underexposed, though.
Third place: LG G2. The LG G2 beats the iPhone 5s when the flash is off, but its single-LED flash proved too weak to be in any help in our test scene.
• Video Recording
Winner: Apple iPhone 5s. The iPhone 5s videos look great and though they lose some field of view (due to the digital stabilization). Our only major complaint here is the audio, there's no excuse for mono sound.
Runner up: Nokia Lumia 1020. The Lumia 1020 has more detail in low-light and the best audio of the three by a mile, though the image processing and compression could use some work. It may be the runner up here, but it's a close call.
Third place: LG G2. The LG G2 video is good, but the focus hunts too much, the exposure is way off and it doesn't have as much detail as the other two. A firmware update or two with some fine tuning to the processing, along with the 60fps mode might help it climb higher, though.
Summary Matrix of Winners, Runners Up, and 3rd Place Contenders in 13 Categories
I've summarized how the contenders placed in each of 13 categories in the matrix below awarding 3 points to the Winner, 2 points to the Runner Up, and 1 point to the 3rd place contender, then totaled the points awarded.
Nokia Apple Lumia 1020 LG G2 iPhone 5S ========== ===== ========= Exterior and Build 2 1 3 Display 2 3 1 Battery Life 2 3 1 Software 1 3 2 Benchmarks 1 2 3 Image Galleries 2 1 1 Video Player 2 3 1 Music Players and Radio 2 3 1 Loudspeaker 3 1 2 Camera Features 3 2 1 Still Photos: good light 3 2 1 Still Photos: low-light 3 1 2 Video Recording 2 1 3 ========== ===== ========= Total Points 28/39 26/39 20/39
Summary: As Samsung built up a global audience for its Android phones and tablets, it pushed internal development on its own Galaxy features and functions. Now that third-party developers can code for them, Samsung is gaining more control over its flavor of Android.
As much as Google likes and touts that Android is open, that freedom may come with the cost of some control over the platform. Amazon may have started the first truly successful “fork” of Android, but Samsung is going after the whole place setting.
Samsung kicked off its first Developers Conference on Monday and based on the keynote message, I wouldn’t be too happy if I were Google. This is no small effort from Samsung, which sells the most Android devices by a large margin compared to its peers. An announced 1,300 event attendees are on site in San Francisco and heard that Samsung is releasing five new SDKs for various devices ranging from phones to tablets to televisions.
To give an idea of what Samsung is doing, just look at the new Mobile SDK: It supports Samsung’s pen, gestures, multiwindow and motion features with 800 APIs available to developers. If that number doesn’t grab you consider what Samsung said about opportunities for developers. Simply by adding the digital pen to a phone in the first and subsequent Galaxy Note handsets, more 1,800 pen-enabled apps were created. And the company sells two televisions every second. Clearly, Samsung is trying to entice developer attention for its platform.
Wait, isn’t Samsung’s platform Android? Absolutely! Samsung has effectively built an individual, closed environment of apps and features on top of the open Android. Amazon has done much the same with its Fire OS on Kindle Fire tablets but the approach was a little different.
Amazon didn’t start out with Google Android, but instead used the Android Open Source Project — software without core Google apps and services — for the Kindle Fire. In contrast, Samsung used the full Google Android software to build up a huge global audience and now it’s going to make sure it, not Google, owns those customers. I barely heard Android mentioned in the keynote, in fact.
Samsung’s approach doesn’t just end with its popular phones and tablets though.
As my colleague Janko Roettgers reported earlier, Samsung’s new Multiscreen SDK applies to another Samsung product — televisions:
“The new SDK, once adopted by developers, will make it possible to press a button on your phone to launch an online video stream, or even a game, on your TV. Sound familiar? That’s not really a coincidence — but Samsung thinks that it can one-up its competition.”
That last phrase is central to what I heard during the Samsung Developer Conference Keynote. Samsung has clearly become successful and profitable by pushing Android devices as well as adding its own add-on features and functions. That’s clearly not good enough for the company now because Android by itself can only take it so far and doesn’t give Samsung total control over its own destiny. In addition to the above mentioned SDK’s, Samsung also offered ones for Multiscreen Gaming, Smart TVs and KNOX, the company’s enterprise grade security software.
At this point, Samsung is taking advantage of its dominant position as the Android device leader to become the “de facto” Android phone and crush any remaining competition. And I’m not sure what Google can do about it save for pulling more and more key functions out of the Android software and instead make them standalone apps in the Google Play store. Even if it does, the damage is already done from where I stand: Samsung has built its mobile business on Android and can now push forward with less “help” from Google.
As long as Samsung remains a helpful partner in the Android ecosystem and properly licenses Google apps and services for devices, it’s not as if Google can wrest Android away from Samsung. And Google has zero control over the extra features that Samsung has added to devices such as digital inking with the S-Pen, S-Voice for text input, Samsung Wallet for payments and gesture-based navigation using sensors.
The overall strategy Samsung has employed so far is clever: Build up a massive global audience for products using someone else’s software while also creating your own apps to start taking the place of integral Android features across smartphones, tablets, televisions and even smartwatches. Thanks to Android, Samsung hasn’t needed to develop an operating system of its own. Why should it when it can slowly transition developers and users to create software for its own hardware? ###