There are so many issues surrounding Samsung depending on who you speak with – some will say, “poor Samsung” and others will say, “screw Samsung”…and that is the way things go when you are in the number one position of anything, be it smartphones, TVs, gaming systems or even football teams. Everybody hates the perennial winner and everybody loves the underdog and it is just a fact of life as companies or sports teams try to differentiate themselves from the others, and when that number one starts to falter, many will jump on the bandwagon and help to give it a push over the edge.
It is also an established fact that nobody likes anything forced on them and nobody wants to be told what to do – Apple is an excellent example. Because they control the hardware and software, they can do whatever they want to – right or wrong – and their buyers are so accustom to it they will buy into whatever Apple is trying to sell them. It is every company’s dream to be in that situation, and Samsung, who sells a lot more smartphones worldwide than Apple, cannot understand why they cannot be in that dominate position as well.
Samsung made its smartphone money on the back of Google’s Android operating system, and now they are trying to insert their own operating system, Tizen. But, unlike Apple’s iOS that started the whole smartphone revolution against weaker opponents (by some standards) Symbian, Palm OS and BlackBerry OS, Samsung is trying to break away from the most dominating OS in the world, Android – kind of like a child slapping their parents on the face and then walking away…it just is not that easy. Not only that, but Android has all of the great Google mainstays – Google Maps, Gmail and the Google Play Store and all of those apps – that Samsung cannot just quickly recreate on their own…it takes years.
What has hit Samsung so hard is that their profits have plummeted in 2014 – some of it was caused by the poor reception of their Galaxy S5, but most of it was caused by their inability to sell their highly profitable Galaxy phones to emerging nations and smartphone hotbeds like India and China. New upstart Chinese companies like Xiaomi, are building high-quality smartphones and undercutting Samsung’s prices…so much so that Xiaomi has taken away Samsung and Apple’s dominance in China, becoming the number one smartphone manufacturer in China by bumping Samsung to number two.
Samsung immediately thinks it needs to differentiate itself from other Android-like phones out there, giving the consumers something better or unique that would draw buyers to pick a Samsung over another Android smartphone, like Xiaomi with their own UI. Samsung decided to develop their own Tizen OS, but the problem is, it is very much like Android, but without the core Google support products. You could pick yourself up a Samsung running Tizen and would probably think you were using a Samsung device running Android with a TouchWiz overlay…not to mention the users’ objection to Samsung breaking away from its ‘roots.’
Another way to increase profits is from unique services, so Samsung tried their hand at some Android ones, such as ChatOn – their answer to iMessage, WhatsApp, BBM, Hangouts and other messaging services…that is being shut down worldwide after only a long year. Then there is Samsung’s Milk Music – going up against Pandora, iTunes, or Google’s All Access and their newest Milk Video a limited streaming video service to go up against the likes of YouTube? What is Samsung thinking? It is as if they are trying to build a better mousetrap…it just ain’t going to happen.
Tizen is far from dead and should make its appearance on some low-end devices in those emerging markets in 2015 – but to what advantage I cannot see. Tizen can also work to control “smart home” appliances, from light switches to refrigerators and washing machines. Samsung and others, believe this will be ‘the next really big’ in the future. Tizen also continues to power Samsung’s smartwatches, other than their Gear Live, which uses Android Wear.
With the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus selling so well, it is tough to predict if Samsung’s powerhouse Galaxy Note 4 or new Galaxy Note Edge will help them during the fourth quarter of 2014 or the first quarter of 2015. One thing is for certain, when it comes to their next Galaxy S6, it looks like Samsung has finally received the message loud and clear about design and specifications of its flagship phones – gone is the plastic and in comes the metal. 2015 should be an interesting year for Samsung and its customers and hopefully they will not alienate too many more by trying to be like Apple. If they want to sell smartwatches, create messaging, music or video services, you have to let all Android devices use them, not just Samsung…one Apple is enough.