In terms of global market share, Samsung is No. 1 in flat-panel TVs and memory chips; it is No. 2 in mobile handsets; it is one of the top suppliers in other home appliances. It’s a juggernaut, but don’t be deceived Nokia was a rockstar once, Microsoft was omnipotent and now…well they don’t have the best days of their lives. But Samsung has them currently. As we speak, their market share and revenues are rising. We see this mostly from the tech perspective – their Galaxy line is a strong competition to Apple’s products and like it or not – that’s one of the best things you can tell about a mobile devices company these days. But as first clouds on the horizon appear, the company must introduce new strategies into its plan. There are a lot of potential hazards waiting for the company of this size.
Apple’s strategy under Steve Jobs was to have just a few products and focus all your assets on developing them and then promoting and selling. That would be hard to achieve in Samsung, the company has many product lines, that are profitable. In fact they produce so many things that we have to see the actual Samsung’s product line tu understand the size of their offer:
- Mobile Devices
- TV / Audio/ Video
- Cameras Camcorders
- Notebooks /Display
- Print Solutions
- Home Appliances
- Memory Storage
That’s their problem… too many products. But as miniaturization goes on, this opens new possibilities in integrating your products. I have never seen a company that has a truly unified user interface in all of their product lines, well except Apple, but they sell less than 10 types of products. Look at Sony, Samsung, Panasonic etc. They produce lots of electronic devices, but as soon as we learn how to use our new camera and go to set up our freshly bought microwave from the same producer it turns out… That we don’t know how to use it. This was a problem due to different user interfaces present on these products, but with todays prices of touch screens and chips we can just put a simple smartphone-like UI on each and every one of them, and a knob if you insist :) But that won’t last long as voice control interfaces are being introduced to devices and some companies start talking about mind-reading interfaces.
It’s not about creating the most intelligent fridge or TV on the planet it’s just a matter of integrating it with your tablet and smartphone. So you can check what’s in the fridge, from your smartphone when you’re at the store (really no NASA-like sensors needed just a 1 or 2 Megapixel cameras in the fridge would do and they cost… almost nothing). And turn of the oven from your coach if you don’t want to miss the game in the TV. Or even if you decide to go to the kitchen and check the soup or something, the mini-display on your oven or microwave, will show you what’s going on, on the TV. Cooking a big meal for the whole family? Why don’t you turn down the heating, to save some money, the cooking itself will generate a lot of heat. The AC will do that for you.
Writing about integrating your cameras with PC, smartphone & tablet is inappropriate as Apple and other companies are already showing how to get this done. But as technology became more smart, cheap and miniature we have put it into devices most associated with hight-tech: laptops, tablets and smartphones. Now it’s time to revolutionize the old folks: the fridge, the oven, the TV (that is probably being done right now, but we can only speculate how it is being done), the AC etc. And that is also a big market, it’s not as attractive as the mobile devices, because we don’t change the fridge every 2 years, but everyone has a fridge. And in 10 years everyone will have a fridge also, there is no expected end to these devices.
Such huge integration would require a lot of brilliant software design. A few smart apps and a great OS capable of connecting all your devices into a reliable ecosystem. That can be done with Android, but I wouldn’t bet on it. If Motorola acquisition is finalized, then Google may want Android to play a bigger role for Motorola and minor for the rest of the gang. I think that a company this huge deserves its own OS, so far the Bada OS isn’t a great success. The sooner they realize it, the better for them.