Apple’s Focus on the iPad Gave Samsung an Opening
By Jim Lundy
It is all over the press. Apple isn’t cool, Samsung is. It is amazing to see the power of advertising, because that is what is going on today. Three things have happened in the last twelve months that are driving all of this new found focus on Samsung.
1. Samsung launched a US $200 Million ad campaign focused on the Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. In the campaign, Samsung ads make fun of Apple users. The spending by Samsung increased almost 10x from 2011 to 2012 for the first six months of each year.
2. Apple shifted much of its advertising focus from the iPhone to the iPad. Note that after Apple launched the iPhone 4S, it ran a huge ad blitz featuring Suri. Now, with the recent launch of the iPad Mini and Microsoft’s big ad blitz of the Surface, Apple is fighting a two front war. It isn’t surprising to see it focus on the Tablet space, given how formidable a competitor Microsoft has always been. For the holiday season in 2012, Apple ran iPad ads.
3. Apple won a $1 Billion Patent Infringement lawsuit against Samsung, which seemed to only inflame the Samsung executives.
Put aside the battle for the mind of consumers and the classic fast follower approach that Samsung is using, there are still vast differences between the two providers. For enterprises and for business users, the differences may mean the difference between a working device and not. It also depends on your preference and how much you are willing to tinker.
Apple owns its OS, Samsung depends on Google
People don’t think of this as a big deal until it is time to upgrade the device. We wrote a blog about this last month and highlighted that it takes up to three months for carriers and handset manufacturers to upgrade to the next version of Android. As we indicated in that post, phones are one thing, but when you are trying to maintain a fleet of Tablets, it can become a big nightmare. On top of that, who do you go to for support on the OS?
We will note that Samsung now has its own App Store, but many users still go to Google Play, the main store for Android devices.
The Tinkering Factor is a Code word for Software Bugs
There is more tinkering required with Android devices than iOS. We can debate this, but for core functions, the facts have been trickling out. The most serious issues that seem to affect Android based devices, including Samsung, are wireless connectivity issues. Microsoft Windows has had this issue for years and users get frustrated when they have to troubleshoot their device that won’t auto connect to a wireless connection. Most of the reviews never mention the fact that there is tinkering required. The Droid Guy does a nice job of highlighting some of the Android issues users have to deal with.
Our bottomline is that Mobile Ecosystems are the criteria to look at. The strength and health of the ecosystem is critical. Apple still leads Google in many of the factors involved with Ecosystems, but Google is catching up (see recent First Cut). Devices will come and go and if there is any lesson here, it is the fact that Apple created consumer demand by adding interesting new features to their phones. Samsung is doing that now and is proving to be a formidable foe.
Editors Note: Aragon Research has an 87 page Strategic Report on Mobile Ecosystems. It is available here (client access is required).