Samsung has easily commanded the market share that Google’s Android flourishes in, but it’s just a matter of time until Android could be an afterthought of the Korean company. Power is all Samsung has derived from the Galaxy S line of smartphones thanks to an array of features, including TouchWiz built atop Google's Android. And the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S IV is exciting for all parties involved. Sales will ensue. At least for right now, Google and Samsung have a myopic relationship - when Samsung wins, Google gets more devices in the wild spreading their services. Like a flower in Spring, Android is pollinating the mobile market, and using Samsung as the breeze for delivery.
But which direction is the wind coming from? In other words, Google and Samsung might be working harmoniously for the time being, but it's not out of the ordinary to question which company has more influence over Android's future.
So, what happens if Google questions Samsung's stance? Has Android been diluted to simply mean Samsung, or even worse, TouchWiz? Imagine Google’s driverless car going awry, and that's what Android would be like without Samsung.
If you’re Samsung, you’re thankful you have an operating system to build your skin TouchWiz upon. Your end product is completely optimized to take full advantage of the Android source code. To top it off, you get to add minute “features” atop TouchWiz (that user interface some people call Android). You’re quite literally backed by a google of developers to update your plethora of devices, which is why you update your devices as frequently as you do. You've got the support of the largest open source mobile operating system in the mobile market, and thanks to them, you're chipping away at your number one hardware competitor - the Apple iPhone. Life is good, and extremely biased, towards Google...if you’re Samsung.
And if you’re Google, almost your entire Android success story is inked in Korean characters. Why bother translating, when there are so many zero’s after that dollar sign? No matter the consensus or reception of the next galactic offering, Google will continue to deliver their services to millions of users courtesy of Samsung’s Galaxy S IV, and the rest of the Galaxy line. Sales have become an afterthought to Samsung, much like Apple knows the iPhone will sell. Naturally, Google and Samsung were meant to be the antithesis to whatever Apple’s iPhone offers, but who controls the offensive? There is an indisputable amount of brand loyalty tied with Samsung’s Galaxy brand which makes Samsung the best distributor of Android powered devices, right?
They’re two peas in a pod. Spaghetti and meatballs. Peaches and cream. Lemons and pancakes. Chopsticks and rice. The two have the globe covered in their prowess.
Some would say that Google’s acquisition of Motorola’s Mobility sector will help the Mountain View company leverage their resources by controlling the distributor. We’ve seen a recent Motorola-Google device leak, and the influence Google has had since the acquisition is clear. The problem is, Google isn’t just restarting the old dog in Motorola; they’re restarting themselves, too. Motorola is not the name of the game, and while I don’t doubt that they can turn Motorola into a competitor, Google’s own Nexus brand is further than an afterthought - it’s completely forgotten when Samsung's devices are in town.
What Google has done with Android, primarily because of Samsung, is astounding. Google has developed Android into the silver platter of their services, all the while pitching the necessity of connectivity, user experience, and control. It’s clear that Google is riding on the quality in delivery of its services with Android, which can primarily be attributed to Samsung’s smartphones.
HTC, LG, and Motorola have also played a hand in Google's goal of getting more Android devices into the wild, but it has only been in vain. The general consensus surrounding Samsing is that no one can catch them on two battlegrounds: brand recognition and sales. Only one other device has managed to gather this much momentum with a brand and product, and that is the iPhone. What shortly followed was an avalanche of activity surrounding what was next for the Cupertino company, and when it would be released. If Google wants to drive the Android offensive, they'll need more fire power than the current crop of Nexus devices. How much longer can the people of Mountain View watch as the dog wags the tail on it’s own accord? From what, can Google confidently suggest that their plan in the mobile space is derived from, other than Samsung’s success?
Samsung has the market cornered with Android, and Google hangs in the balance. Google has managed to concoct its own premium brand with Google Nexus devices, but to say they have struggled with sales would be understated. Google has seen minute success from its line of Nexus devices due to aggressive pricing and developer support. We’ve watched as the Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10, each made by a different manufacturer, seldom sold. You could pinpoint it down to a lack of distribution and poor management of Google’s Play Store, or even point the finger at suppliers (I’m looking at you, LG). Yet, it doesn’t matter what the real reason was. They’re not making enough ground required to obtain the brand awareness and brand loyalty that Samsung has amassed with the Galaxy S line of devices. It's threatening to Google's own Nexus brand. It's threatening to other manufacturers like Apple, HTC, and LG. And the worst part about it is that it's about to get much, much harder for anyone to gain attention with the announcement of the Galaxy S IV. The Galaxy S series has become the face of Android, and the antithesis to iOS.
While sales of Nexus devices have struggled to make a dent in the mobile and tablet marketplaces, Samsung has completely walked away with the Android trophy and the Galaxy line.
The Samsung Galaxy S IV will be Google’s best chance to secure domination of the mobile operating system market for the indefinite future. Analysts predict sales figures of 10 million in the first month - impressive, to say the least. And Google will just sit back and watch as its search services and app portfolio rake in forecasted revenues to the detriment of their own Nexus brand. Hakuna matata.
What do you think the ascendancy of Samsung means for Google? Does Google have any control of the success of Android, or does it all ride with the next best thing from Samsung? As always, your comments are appreciated.