I wish we lived in a world where the leader of any particular market, industry, niche, or whatever else was constantly changing. That the struggle to create awesome things was always ultimately rewarding to the companies that succeeded in this regard, and that their hard work paid off in dividends almost immediately. I'd love to see a constant back-and-forth within the Android army, as companies like Sony, Motorola, HTC and LG have all created devices that should honestly put them ahead of the pack at one point or another.
But that placement would always be up in the air. Never permanent, or a given. Just looking at this year alone, HTC would have probably had the longest run as the Android leader with its One launched earlier this year. And then devices like Sony's Z1, Motorola's Moto X, and LG's G2 would have swooped in to replace HTC, and take their rightful place at the head of the pack due to their own hero devices.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Instead, it's actually quite hard to usurp a leader from their position, especially if they keep making things. Even breaking into the wireless industry, and trying to climb up to a spot that's close to "third or fourth place" is difficult -- just ask Microsoft and BlackBerry.
I want to keep our attention on Android for now, though.
The Android army is where most of the action happens these days, after all. There are so many companies within, all creating devices that run Google's mobile operating system with subtle (and not-so-subtle) tweaks to differentiate themselves against the competition. If there was a place where a back-and-forth battle for supremacy was going to take place, this would be it.
And yet, we don't see it. Despite the fact that LG and HTC have created some of the best Android devices to date, it doesn't seem to be enough to even make a dent within the juggernaut that is currently at the head of the Android army.
Just look at our Official Smartphone Rankings. For the People's Choice, we've got only one Samsung-branded device with the Galaxy Note 3 placed snugly at the third spot. Ahead of it? LG and HTC. Below it? LG. (And Apple, but yeah.) And yet, Samsung doesn't seem to be all that threatened. Just by having the Galaxy Note 3 in the list seems to all but solidify their position at the head of the Android army.
We've been asking if Samsung has surpassed HTC as the king of Android since 2011, and I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious these days. There are reports that Samsung holds the majority of Android activations around the world, and I think that's a report that Samsung would happily agree to. The thing is, I don't think it's going to change anytime soon.
Why? Because next year is the year that Samsung is said to be changing the physical design of their devices. Basically, all the rumors and speculation point to Samsung finally ditching plastic for their flagship devices and moving towards metal, like we've seen with HTC recently. If that's true, and if Samsung is indeed focused on creating better software for their smartphones with changes to TouchWiz, that kind of revolution to their mobile business could equal even more stability in their top spot.
If the One series, dating back to the One X and all the different variants, and looking ahead to the successor of the One next year, can't reposition HTC at the head of the pack, what hope is there? Moreover, if LG's G2, which is a device I've seen praised by just about every potential customer I've seen touch it, can't propel LG to the front of the pack, what will?
It's beginning to look like Samsung would have to trip over themselves, and stop creating devices that people want. Nothing is impossible, and next year will certainly be an interesting turning point for the company, I think. I know I'm excited to see what happens in 2014.
Do you think Samsung can be removed from the throne of Android, or do you think as long as they're making devices they'll be safely positioned there at the head of the army for the foreseeable future? Do you think HTC and LG, or even Sony or Motorola, have a chance at removing Samsung? Let me know what you think.