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Somewhere Tim Cook and Stephen Elop are laughing

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google Inc. (GOOG) is holding an emergency summit at the 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.  At the mobile industry's top trade show, Google is reportedly meeting with Android phonemakers like HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) and Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) about fighting back to prevent Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) from gaining too strong a dominant position in the Android market.

I. One Company to Rule Them All?

Samsung currently accounts for 40 percent of Android sales -- more than any other company.  It's also easily the most profitable of any Android device-maker.

Some analysts think Google is fearful that Samsung will leverage its powerful position to try to get a bigger cut of Google's slowly growing mobile ad revenue stream.  Sources claim that Samsung currently gets around 10 percent of the revenue from clicks on its devices.  A bump to Samsung's take-home percentage could help offset per-device payments it has to make to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) for intellectual property licensing.

Google hopes to make $8B USD in 2013 via mobile advertising on Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and Android.

Andy Rubin
Andy Rubin reportedly warned Android phonemakers not to let Samsung get too powerful.
[Image Source: The Next Web]

At a closed-door event, the WSJ reports that their source was in attendance and heard a presentation by Android Chief Andy Rubin.  Mr. Rubin allegedly praised Samsung's success, but warned that it could be a "threat" if it furthered its dominant position.  Google is reportedly eyeing offerings like HP's $169.99 USD upcoming Android slates.

Samsung in 2012 was the biggest smartphone shipper, shipping 215.8m smartphones, almost all of which ran Android.  By contrast, Apple "only" shipped 136.8m iPhones.  Samsung hopes to ship 390m smartphones in 2013.

In 2011, Samsung only accounted for 15.6 percent of Android tablets, but in 2012 it advanced to 27.9%, becoming a major player according to Interactive Data Corp. (IDC).  Samsung passed, Inc. (AMZN) in Q4 2012 to become the largest Android tablet seller (Amazon uses a modified Android build in its "Fire" tablets).  Samsung just revealed the Galaxy Note 8.0, a hot tablet that is vying with Apple's iPad Mini.

II. Samsung Could Seek Alternatives

If Samsung reacts badly to Google's efforts to keep it in check; it could jump ship to one of a couple rising platforms.  It already has made Windows Phone devices and has a good relationship with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT).  Alternatively, it could opt to test the waters with a Mozilla OS device (Samsung's South Korean counterpart LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) is doing precisely that).  And then there's Tizen, a mobile Linux kernel that Samsung is co-developing with Intel Corp. (INTC).

For now, Google and Samsung are united by their common enemy: Apple.  Samsung will launch its counterstrike against the iPhone 5 on March 14 -- the Galaxy S IV.

Samsung Galaxy S IV
In March Google and Samsung will collaborate on the massive Galaxy S IV launch.
[Image Source: AndroidSpin]

A leaked spec sheet has been circulating which claims the hot handset will pack:

• 4.8-5.0-inch 1080p display
• Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
• 1.9GHz Qualcom Snapdragon 600 processor
• 16/32/64GB storage options
• Removable SD card slot (up to 64GB)
• 13MP rear-facing camera, w/ "Orb" technology for compressed panorama shots
• 4G LTE support
• Multi-purpose / Dedicated camera button
• Bluetooth 5.0
• 3100 mAh battery

Will the Galaxy S IV be the last major effort between Google and Samsung?  It's possible, but at this point it's likely the pair's ties that bind are stronger than those that separate.

Source: WSJ

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Samsung won't jump ship
By UpSpin on 2/26/2013 5:23:02 PM , Rating: 3
WP 8 is no alternative, because Samsung isn't allowed to do what they did with Android. They can't just add a Wacom digitizer and make the OS pen compatible, or use their Exynos SoC, or increase the display resolution, or change whatever they want to offer something special no one else has. Everything has to get done via MS, a no-go for Samsung.
Firefox OS is no alternative yet, and in the next few years. Too few apps, too few support.
Tizen, probably more a replacement for Bada and thus used in low-cost phones than for Android used in high end phones.

Samsung is a big company, but you shouldn't forget what Google adds to Android and the other newer OS are missing. One of the best mapping and navigation software, Google Now, cloud solutions and Google further improves Android with a rapid speed 'for free'. Samsung can't just replace all of them with their own solutions (see Apple maps fiasco)

But there's a threat. Samsung is the only tablet manufacturer with good pen implementation on Android. Luckily their other tablets are mediocre compared to Google and others offers. In the smartphone market they are very succesful because of lots of advertising and a good Galaxy line. If they get a too huge share their propietary app-store will get more popular, which harms the remaining Android devices. They might create a fork of Android, which harms the consistency.
But Google hit Samsung hard with the Nexus 4 in the high end sector. (mid-range phones is still Samsung only territory). The HTC One lookg great. The LG Pro great. Google-Motorola leaks promising. The leaked specs of the next Galaxy don't look impressive yet.

RE: Samsung won't jump ship
By Milliamp on 2/27/2013 2:42:18 AM , Rating: 2
In terms of cost the Nexus 4 is considered more mid range than high end. The Nexus 4 is $300 off contract and the S3 was $600 to $650 at launch depending on 8G or 16G model.

The main reason the Nexus 4 competes with the S3 is just because it is newer.

The Droid DNA and Motorola Razr Maxx HD are decent phones out now that compete with the S3.

The Sony Xperia Z and the HTC One are more recent high end phones but they aren't available yet.

The HTC One looks close to the S4 but it loses some points with me on the 2300 mAh battery vs the 3100 likely in the S4. At the end of the day the difference between a 1.7GHz Stapdragon 600 (in HTC) and 1.9GHz in S4 isn't that significant.

It is still early in the year so there is still time for the other manufacturers to attempt an answer to the S4 before the shopping season after October.

Now that 4.7 to 5" 1080p screens are the standard (the One is 468ppi) it will be harder for vendors to differentiate on specs. The 2G of memory in the next gen phones is 4 times the combined GPU and CPU memory in the PS3 or Xbox 360 (512M).

The batteries in each generation of Galaxy phones (S1 to S4) were:
1500, to 1650, to 2100, and 3100 mAh. Mathematically the next number in that series would be around 5300 mAh.

Because hand size and eye sight remain mostly constant (ie, do people need 8 inch 1500 ppi phones?) and because battery technology evolves slowly I would say from this point forward there are definitely diminishing returns throwing more hardware into phones.

RE: Samsung won't jump ship
By ritualm on 2/27/2013 3:54:12 AM , Rating: 2
The batteries in each generation of Galaxy phones (S1 to S4) were:
1500, to 1650, to 2100, and 3100 mAh. Mathematically the next number in that series would be around 5300 mAh.

Battery capacities - and consequently, device sizes - are on an upward trend because there had been next to zero commercialized breakthroughs to battery technology of late. Meanwhile, both the relative and total system performance and power requirements keep going up, thus requiring bigger batteries just to keep talk/standby battery life numbers constant.

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