Yesterday at five in the afternoon in Las Vegas (11 pm in Spain) Samsung presented a lot of news at CES. At this fair the Koreans tend to focus on throwing white range, some other computer and also technology of the future that we will see (or not) within a few years in our homes. They made full in bingo. We also expected Android devices and did not disappoint, Google’s operating system was not the protagonist but their absence and the presentation of the Samsung Galaxy Ecosystem made us lift the eyebrow.
We know that, at the Mobile World Congress, we will see many Android devices by Samsung and that CES wasn’t the best scenario to present. Everything in order if it were not for the announcement of its own ecosystem suggests that the relationship with Google is not at its best and the short term objective is the same who left the show a few years ago: rely on less than Android and further develop its own independent island. At the moment they are succeeding.
Love to frustration in a few years
Las Vegas, 2013. Samsung presented the T-900 (not to be confused with the Terminator T-800). A refrigerator connected to the network using a Tablet embedded with Android applications. It was not the most elegant solution, but it allowed access to applications like Evernote to manage the shopping list. The idea didn’t end quite Jell and once spent CES interest in this component was blurring to stay on nothing.
Three years later Samsung is back with the idea of the smart refrigerator and now puts a 21 inch screen on the door. Do you use Android? No, the first information about this model made us think that yes but after the presentation is confirmed that the operating system controlling this hub was Tizen, platform that we have seen on devices like TV sets or the connected clocks.
The truth is that Android is not ready to operate even if no operating system is actually in a refrigerator. The advantage that has Samsung with Tizen is that development is itself (although theoretically Tizen is a society independent of the Korean company) and they may mould everything that it takes to have an interface and optimized applications to operate in a kitchen appliance.
Samsung wants to leave out of the game to Android is no surprise nor much less a conspiracy theory. They are clear that today the platform does not conform to his plan for the future and they want to eliminate the dependence with them to develop on their own and create that Samsung Galaxy Ecosystem which yesterday boasted at CES. Samsung a few years ago was synonymous with Android, now not so much.
The frustration of Samsung with Android has become patent up to three times. The first began with the televisions: Koreans have never bet on Android TV nor by a version of AOSP adapted to TVs as they have Haier or Philips for example. They insisted on having its proprietary platform, and after several changes of course finally decided by Tizen last year. This year they maintain that bet without any doubt.
Few companies can afford the luxury of creating its own ecosystem and also succeed in the market. Samsung is coming but still find it difficult to pull some barriers.
The connected clocks also are another example of the anger of Samsung with Android. The category of the smartwatches began to generate much noise two years and a half. At that time nobody (Android Wear was announced a year later) had a universal software solution. If you wanted this accessory, he played you make the platform and get a life. Something that is not easy to do well. Samsung cost him with Tizen and their Gear, four devices specifically to get an operating system for watches that worked.
While Tizen grew at that time, Google launched an attractive solution for users and manufacturers: easy to use, with many options and economic since the companies had only to produce hardware. The problem with Android Wear is its narrowness: Google leads the development with an iron fist and is difficult to make changes. In the end, all the smartwatches are identical on the inside and the only thing that makes the difference is the finish, battery and price.
Samsung didn’t want to spend for Android Wear ring and multiple limitations. He decided to go his own way and the proof of this is found in Gear S2: a clock with many more options than that they would have in a watch with Google software. In fact, ideas such as the giro by Crown here would be unthinkable. Then it is true that the end result could be improved (the category is very green in general) but in IFA statement against Android was evident.
Thirdly, we have the tablets. Two years ago Samsung presented at CES the Galaxy Tab Pro: Finally the dream of productivity It came with Android in the heart of the system. The idea was very good, but as we saw in our analysis these tablets are far from what Samsung wanted us to sell. Slow, poor integration of apps, little value added… what makes Samsung? Back to back to see that Android does not meet your expectations.
Year 2016 and Samsung recovers the Pro family with the goal of bringing tablets to work. Goodbye to Android, Hello Windows 10. Koreans look the other way and are inspired by Microsoft Surface Pro and iPad Pro to bring us a device with the best approach to the generation of 2014. In my opinion a successful change but, again, a form more than distance himself from Android and demonstrate that rupture.
Smartphones, the last bastion of Android
If Samsung with its Galaxy Ecosystem demonstrated us yesterday that they want to rely as little as possible from other systems, There is a site on which Android endures irreducible: smartphones. Yes, also released tablets this year but the true strength to Google are Galaxy smartphones. Their smartphones continue to have much pull, not in vain is still in the top 3 manufacturers that most sold in the world.
Samsung has flirted with Tizen with affordable smartphones but still has not dared to bet on him in a more ambitious phone or throw it in a larger market. So far, their approaches have been timid and it seems that they will remain thus during a season. Now launch a flagship like the Galaxy S with a new platform could be a very risky move for them.
Google has clear its position in mobile devices is very powerful. Windows Mobile 10 does not start and the only one who dares to threaten to Android is CyanogenOS. In fact, this could be a way out to depend less of Google services and give more value to that Galaxy Ecosystem. We have clear to today is that Samsung is not that great partner of Google and Android.