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Why Samsung’s Device strategy will not be a sustainable one in the long hop?

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates by Manas Ganguly on June 20, 2012

Samsung has been on the ball with the rise of Smartphones globally. The SIII  pre-ordered 9 million units and Samsung stands pretty much ahead of the competition with Apple some space behind it. However does Samsung have firm ground under its feet as far as Smartphones is concerned? In my view the Smartphone success story for Samsung is very device led and is not very sustainable in the long run. The following are the reasons of my belief

  1.  In fact, Samsung’s superiority in this space stems from its competency across screens – LCD, LED,OLED, AMOLED, Flexible OLED, Super AMOLED.  It essentially leverages its strength in TVs to the mobile screen. True the Galaxy S series phones are possibly the first super phones, but is Samsung missing the consumer and the usage bit? Sample this – Samsung has an astonishing range of devices from 1.4” screens to 11” screens. In Tablets, Samsung has 7”, 7.7”, 8.9” and 10.1” screens for Android and will soon come out with a 11” screen for Windows8. The many screen tablet strategy serves to only confuse the consumer in lieu of greater choice. Most importantly, there is no underlying proposition that  Samsung over-archingly provides across its high end devices except perhaps a large screen migration from one device to other. 
  2. Apple on the other hand has 2 devices each in smartphones and tablets and while it competes on the hardware, it also leverages the app eco-system, the voice recognition technology, the iCloud, iTunes store and a seamless transition (between iPad, iPhone, iTV, iTunes) to build the customer story. That to me is a base which can be used to Apple’s advantage in providing a consistently great experience across all screens and keep building on it. Samsung’s range is made of individually great devices, but no commonality underneath the surface.
  3. Samsung is also on divided stakes on Android, Windows8, Bada OS and Intel powered Tizen. That is good in as far as de-risking perspective. However, Samsung is being dependent on atleast 3 app eco-systems which is a challenge as far as a consistent consumer experience is concerned on Samsung per se.
  4. Samsung would obviously ride on the Android/Windows cloud and the other properties of diverse platforms but there is no singular property which would provide the consistent Samsung experience across the range of devices (Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops, TVs). Compare this with Apple where the iCloud and the iOS form the bedrock of a great consumer experience.
  5. While I personally fancy the 5 inch Galaxy Note for the handwriting feature, what amuses me is that Samsung has not really taken this feature across its other smartphones and tablets.
  6. As the device space becomes increasingly competitive – (remember how HTC One is snapping at Samsung’s edge), the above mentioned factors provide donot quite provide a platform for Samsung for an all encompassing media and mobility experience.
  7. Stickiness and great experience are key to building profitability and that is one area where Samsung shall always lag Apple – in terms of generating profits inspite of a great portfolio of devices.
  8. Even while Sony is itself bleeding from a thousand cuts, it has a few interesting properties around media and entertainment (Sony Entertainment, Sony BMG, Playstation).  Amazon has a firm media selling competency in terms of books, videos, music. Apple is the best itegrator of online and mobility experiences. These are larger customer propositions than just the device. Samsung rides on the device strengths which are at best competitive but not compelling.

Love to hear your views about my belief – that Samsung will never really open up a large lead (assuming it is able to maintain a lead over Apple)

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