I’m going to beat a drum here and apologies if you’ve seen, read or heard it all before, but Apple as a business have enough cash to give each employee nearly $2 million. And it’s an absolute outrage that they will not use a MicroUSB port on their devices, so condemning customers to buying Apple-licensed proprietary technology just to recharge their device. The benefit to the customer of having a charger lead containing an Apple piece of identity code is… it won’t explode when you’re charging up the iPhone? The benefit to Apple? Money. Thanks, Apple, for your innovation. Thanks.
Now far be it for me to accuse Samsung of copying Apple, so presumably great minds think alike but we’ve news today that Samsung is trying to do something similar with the Galaxy S6 device(s). It’s working with partner companies to include a proprietary authentication system into accessories. Essentially, Samsung wants identification chips built into [all] accessories (and will sell these to accessory manufacturers) in order to “differentiate the functions of original products.” In the case of the flip cover, only a case with the original Samsung ID chip will be able to display information in a window or presumably along the edge. These identity chips will use NFC and perhaps without the right coding the smartcases won’t work. My concern is that Samsung are trying to copy Apple’s control of their accessory market and will include NFC ID tags on many items. I’m sure we won’t be in the situation where the S6 won’t work correctly with certain technologies built around an open technology, such as Bluetooth speakers, but if Samsung Mobile continues to struggle this might be seen as a way to ramp up margins. Unfortunately, Samsung’s track record isn’t great when it comes to matching Samsung-branded accessories with Samsung-branded smartphones, such as most of the Galaxy Gear smartwatches. These required a modern Samsung device to work.
I should say at this point that I’m not averse to companies wanting tighter control of the quality of their accessories for their devices right until the point where I see the cost of official accessories. It seems that it’s not enough to sell a smartphone for hundreds of dollars on a 20% margin, but instead customers are asked to pay upwards of $50 for a case that allows some of the cleverer features to be used. I hope that Samsung doesn’t try to use their own NFC tag encoding as an excuse to increase prices for customers or worse, they try to encode chargers for their devices only. Instead, I’m hoping that Samsung can get back to the basics of building a great smartphone that works well with all manner of companion applications, services, products and accessories, without forcing us to just buy Samsung. Because that really flies in the face of Google’s “Android: Be Together. Not The Same.”