Is Samsung price fixing? The Washington Post certainly thinks so:
“That sentiment has intensified in recent years, a period during which Samsung has obstructed price-fixing investigations — drawing only minor fines — and seen its chairman indicted for financial crimes, only to receive a presidential pardon ‘in the national interest,’ as a government spokesman put it.”
Maybe Google should amend “Don’t be evil” to “Don’t be evil, but don’t be too choosy about what your partners get up to”.
The Economist gives a fantastic insight into what makes Samsung successful. Hint: it’s not being innovative in terms of technology:
Samsung’s successes come from spotting areas that are small but growing fast. Ideally the area should also be capital-intensive, making it harder for rivals to keep up. Samsung tiptoes into the technology to get familiar with it, then waits for its moment. It was when liquid-crystal displays grew to 40 inches in 2001 that Samsung took the dive and turned them into televisions. In flash memory, Samsung piled in when new technology made it possible to put a whole gigabyte on a chip.
When it pounces, the company floods the sector with cash. Moving into very high volume production as fast as possible not only gives it a price advantage over established firms, but also makes it a key customer for equipment makers. Those relationships help it stay on the leading edge from then on.
The strategy is shrewd. By buying technology rather than building it, Samsung assumes execution risk not innovation risk. It wins as a “fast follower”, slipstreaming in the wake of pioneers at a much larger scale of production. The heavy investment has in the past played to its ability to tap cheap financing from a banking sector that is friendly to big companies, thanks to implicit government guarantees much complained about by rivals elsewhere.
Now consider this in the context of how it’s worked in the smartphone market. “Fast follower”, indeed.
Google exec hints Android 5.0 will launch in the autumn:
Speaking to Computerworld, Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google, suggested Android 5.0 will launch in the fall. He stated “In general, the Android release cadence is one major release a year with some maintenance releases that are substantial still.”
Since its launch, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has got just one percent of the overall Android market. It’s currently shipping on a handful of phones, with a few tablets also announced. Few existing phones or tablets have got upgrades, beyond the “Pure Google” Nexus devices (and if you have the Nexus One, you’re out of luck).
How will the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 compare to the iPad 2? Seth Weintraub at Fortune highlights four points where the Samsung scores well compared to the iPad:
- Runs on HSPA+ ’4G’ networks at up to 21Mbps without sending it back to the shop
- It somehow weighs less than the iPad 2 Wifi at 599 grams with 4G equipment!
- It has an 8-megapixel rear camera with auto focus vs.<1 megapixel fixed focus iPad and 5 megapixel on XOOM
- Dual surround sound speakers.
Looking at those, my first thought is “good luck with battery life”. The same weight (it’s a gram less) plus HSPA+ is going to hurt the battery life quite a bit.