Apple spent a fortune a year ago attempting to keep a Samsung Android tablet off of stockist’s shelves.
The Korean electronics giant is the only clear threat to Apple in tablets. Samsung is also the leading challenger in the smartphone market. By now it could be selling more phones each year than Apple. Samsung also accounted for a large slice of the components inside older iPhones – although that relationship is now changing.
Earlier this week I spoke to an industry insider who told me we haven’t seen anything yet. He says Samsung is readying a slew of post-PC products for release early in the New Year. They won’t all use the Android OS. He says they could redefine the market for mobile devices. I find that believable.
Samsung is having an each-way bet developing kit based on Android and Windows 8. Telecom NZ is about to offer the brand’s Windows Phone 8 device.
Although Samsung makes desktop and laptop PCs, the company is an also ran in the old school computer business – at least outside of Asia. This, ironically, makes the company well-placed to profit as tablets and smartphones displace PCs.
The company is huge, it has more sheer heft than most traditional technology brands. Samsung is arguably the world’s leading Asian brand and the company long ago eclipsed Japanese rivals like Sony – it accounts for about one fifth of the South Korean economy.
Those Korean roots could pose a problem for Samsung on the world stage – there’s a murkiness in the country’s chaebol system that can bite businesses on the backside.
Samsung has a reputation for patience, for playing a long-term game. And it thinks strategically. My industry insider friend tells me it is about to become much more important on the world’s technology stage. He could be right.