Samsung’s mobile dilemma

Samsung dominates the market for Android phones. You’d think that would be a happy place, but as Jan Dawson explains at Techpinions Samsung’s business model shows signs of cracking.

Samsung operates in five domains

Samsung operates in five domains

Dawson says Samsung faces pressure as the smartphone market reaches saturation and competitors nibble the company’s low end business. There’s also pressure from Google to “tone down” software customisation.

For my money, Dawson’s point about customers losing interest in Samsung’s customisation is a big one.

During the recent Galaxy Tab S launch Samsung focused on dull software and content deals, many of them not applying to New Zealand customers, instead of promoting the device’s excellent hardware features.

10 thoughts on “Samsung’s mobile dilemma

  1. The competition have gotten better at hardware quicker than Samsung have tried to get better at a full ‘Samsung’ experience.

    They’ll fight it but I don’t think they should. Reduce the amount of low-end phones (so you can still get scale out of 2 models instead of low sales in 15) and really focus on the software (but not in a ‘this is how the competition does it’ – Ask your current users what they like/want!). No one was going to own the Android market for long, there is too many competitors all vying for it, the market isn’t mature enough for stagnation.

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    • The other problem with Android, from Samsung’s point of view, is that it is owned by Google. Samsung would have leverage over, say, Microsoft, it it licenced Windows Phone, but nobody has any leverage over Google.

      That effectively leaves Samsung’s software fate in Google’s hands. We all know what happened to people who banked on Google Buzz or Google Reader.

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      • Yes and as Google cannibalises more of Android into Google Play Services it makes Android further and further from it’s beginning tennets of open source and freely modifiable.

        I can’t say I blame Google from their end. They let OEMs play in their sandbox and all they did was bust castles down and let cats poop in it.

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      • My point, though, is that Samsung doesn’t have to stay using Android. It has other options. It could use the Ubuntu Touch that has been developed for phones or it could even develop it’s own OS based upon Linux itself. Absolutely nothing preventing it from doing that except peoples fixation on branding and the portability of Android apps across to the Linux based OS which I’m sure won’t be without some serious issues.

        Personally, I’d love to switch on my S2 and see the Linux penguin instead of the rather nasty android.

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    • My experience with buying a low end phone is that you’re better off buying a second hand top of the line phone. Chances are it’s going to be cheaper and be able to do more.

      Basically, just drop the low end phones altogether.

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      • “Just drop the low end phones altogether.”

        Unless you really do only want it to make phone calls and handle text messages, there are some nice ‘feature phones’ for around the NZ$100 mark.

        I guess ‘feature phone’ is just marketing speak for ‘non-smart phone’.

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  2. “They let OEMs play in their sandbox and all they did was bust castles down and let cats poop in it.”

    What a brilliant metaphor.

    I have to say I hated Android until I saw Google’s plain vanilla versions, then I realised it was the clumsy, overlays I hate.

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  3. “Unless you really do only want it to make phone calls and handle text messages, there are some nice ‘feature phones’ for around the NZ$100 mark.

    I guess ‘feature phone’ is just marketing speak for ‘non-smart phone’.”

    $100! This week in some catalogue I saw a Nokia feature phone selling for $12. If all you want to do is TXT and phone, you don’t need to spend $100. I also saw the Lumia 520 selling for $133 this weekend in another catalogue. Now that’s a very capable smart phone at an incredible price.

    Competition is good.

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