TV brands

Hmm… I’m having one of those mornings. I got up extra early as I knew I had a lot to do. After sorting out some web shop issues, in moving too fast through the dialogues, I mistakenly clicked on a “do you want to upgrade your version of software” dialogue, forgetting that this component is part of my set-up for production of the newsletter and my editorial. Of course, the upgrade failed half way through. That left my system unable to access the production tools I needed. As you can see, I managed to get the component working again, but instead of spending the hour or two of thought and idea processing that usually makes up my “clear” editorial time (part of the reason I like to start early), I spent it manually uninstalling the component, with all the joys and stress of multiple re-boots, registry hacking, looking for hidden files in the Windows system. Deep joy!

We lead on the front page with news of the mobile display market. As shown in Samsung’s financial results in this issue, the company seems to have really suffered from a surge by the brands that are just below them. Apple remains at the top, although there seems definitely a mood that the latest set of releases were somewhat under-whelming. However, the company has enough momentum in its ecosystem to keep users loyal for quite a long time. It doesn’t matter desparately that the client devices are not quite as exciting. One analyst that I read recommended that users buy older Apple products – they are not likely to want to switch to Android, let alone Windows.

The problem is different for Samsung which depends on Android. Samsung has tried to build apps and interfaces on top of the standard interface, but this has not been popular with users and the company has gone back to a more standard approach. The problem with that is the lack of differentiation from the rest. At the recent Gitex show in Dubai, I saw this in two ways.

First, I wanted to get a cheap dual-sim phone to use on my trips in areas where contract data is too expensive. I had planned to get an older LG phone repaired as the touch screen had gone, but it turned out cheaper to simply buy a new phone from Lenovo. It only took an hour or two to get it working the way I want and I barely noticed the lack of my high end Samsung. The Lenovo did what I needed – like many, I have found the small range of apps that I mainly use, so the joy of thousands of apps has long worn off.

The second event was at the show, when I was looking at the products from Prestigio. The company’s high end mobile phones and tablets look great. They have very high specifications and great design, but are supplied by a low overhead “branded distributor”. Clearly, Prestigio doesn’t have the volumes or channel of Samsung, but nevertheless, the products look really good.

So, Samsung is stuck. I have said over several years that I could see barriers in the company’s culture to the building of the kind of collaborative and competitive platforms that its competitors such as Apple, Intel and Google have developed. Samsung has not been able to do this, although its power in the TV market has got support for its SmartTV platform and it is making some progress with its SmartSignage. Without its own platform, the company will always be vulnerable to others.

Anyway, I’d better get back to trying to restore my PC to health!