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AH Primetime: Is LG Posing a Threat to Samsung’s Dominance?

May 15, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

 

Dare I say it in public – Samsung is becoming more like an ‘Apple’ every day – not happy to ‘play’ with everybody else in the same sandbox.  Therefore, of the two roads, they want to take the “one less traveled.”  The problem is, if you want customers to buy your products, you better be doing some real innovation or knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark designing while along that road.  Apple and Samsung both suffer from the same dilemma – the lack of innovation and excitement in their new smartphones.  The iPhone has not changed its basic design since 2007 – hell, it took an act of Congress just to get Apple to increase their puny 3.5-inch screen a half of an inch!  Samsung has not changed its basic design of its ‘S’ series as well – oh the edges get rounder or squarer and the screen size changes, but it is always the same polycarbonate shell and physical home button.

Another similarity that Samsung and Apple have is a loyal following – customers that will buy a Samsung each year or every other year simply because it’s a Samsung.  Samsung loves and counts on this loyalty each year – it is what helps keep them the number one mobile phone producer in the world.  This works for only so long – either you are blind as an iSheep or eventually you will start questioning your loyalty as you see new and innovative designs from other manufacturers.  A once loyal customer will eventually want to try someone else’s smartphone and wonder why Samsung isn’t doing this too.  That is exactly what is happening between Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and the upcoming LG G3 – these Korean rivals are going at it and LG is testing to see if Samsung has any ‘metal.’

In Samsung’s defense, when they were designing the Galaxy S5, neither the Snapdragon 805 nor the supply chain for QHD displays was available to them – so they put in the best processor at the time and immensely improved their own Full HD display, but was that enough?  However, what was stopping them from changing the design, the materials, and reinventing TouchWiz?  Instead, they threw in a seemingly crude fingerprint scanner and added a Heart Rate Monitor – oh yes, they did do some innovating in battery life, but where is the excitement.  Would it have really hurt Samsung to release their new flagship a couple months later so they could have used the QHD display and Snapdragon 805 processor – and maybe even a metal back?

From what we have read it looks like LG has been working on some exciting new designs, possibly with some metal involved and their own take on a fingerprint scanner.  The new LG G3 is rumored to have the QHD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a metal case.  If all of these features make it on the new LG G3, it will really give some pause to Samsung fans – why purchase a Galaxy S5 when you can have all of those specs in the LG G3.  One other nice, innovated feature is the idea of LG’s “Concierge” which is definitely an improvement over Google Now and Samsung’s S-Voice, where, like Siri, it will automatically tell you about a situation, rather than waiting for you to ask it a question.  Such as, “you may want to take an umbrella, rain is forecast for this afternoon,” rather than you asking, “what is the weather.”

Another big difference is that LG is happy to be an Android device – they are not trying to develop their own OS to replace it or even partner with it like Samsung is trying to do with Tizen.  While LG embraces Google and Android, Samsung is like a child trying to break away from the hand that originally fed them.  They want their own App Store, as if it could ever replace the Google Play Store.  They want their Gear smartwatch to run on Tizen and work with only Samsung smartphones, which alienates both app developers and sales from people that want to use a device other than a Samsung.  Why can’t they be like LG, which is going to use Android Wear on its smartwatch?  By Samsung alienating Android, they are in turn alienating customers.

Samsung makes some great smartphones – I use a Galaxy Note 3 and love the concept of the Phablet and S-Pen and all of the Apps that take advantage of the device…to me there is nothing out there that matches it.  But if LG would come out with a Phablet that has the built-in stylus, Wacom digitizer display and Apps that are ‘notebook’ like, I would definitely give it a second look, if Samsung does not up its game.  The rise of LG is going to test Samsung once and for all – the question is will they be up to the challenge or will they still be meandering down that less traveled road.

Please let us know on our Google+ Page what you think about Samsung and LG – will LG begin stealing more Samsung users away – is the Galaxy S5 Prime too little too late…as always, we would love to hear from you.