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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 Amazon.com, 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
• 2GB RAM
• 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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RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Lord 666 on 2/26/2013 7:54:50 PM , Rating: 2
Actually your theory "more players, more options" goes out the window by the sheer fact Google is having the meeting. Samsung has nailed down the Android execution of device deployment, marketing, and end user experience. What other mainstream vendor has done so?

Taken to an extreme, too many inferior choices dilutes the Android brand. Honestly, Google should be happy with what Samsung has done. I would even say that Samsung has too many inferior choices other than the Galaxy and Note series.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By retrospooty on 2/26/2013 8:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
Competition isn't good and raising the bar to try and match the best performing player isn't good by the sheer fact that Google had a meeting that we really don't know the purpose of?

I don't get the logic. We as consumers can't lose with that. How is it in any way a bad thing for us?


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Lord 666 on 2/26/2013 8:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
Competition is great as long all parties are equally attempting to innovate and improve. With Samsung running away with the show, its not really competition, but more of an NFL team versus a HS one.

Taking the NFL analogy one step further, I see this secret meeting more of a "come to Jesus" chat between Google and other OEMs that aren't named Samsung to raise the bar. Imagine if the NFL had two good teams and 30 crappy ones. No one would be interested in watching and another brand would innovate make the NFL obsolete.

BTW, the current RAZR series made me put down the BB after all these years. I see the three current Android situation as only three OEMs; Samsung, Google, and Google owned Motorola.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Reclaimer77 on 2/26/2013 9:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh HTC and LG have some fantastic Android phones. You're overstating the situation a bit imo.

Yes in a perfect world everyone would have an equal share of the pie. But in the real world, Communism doesn't work.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Pirks on 2/26/2013 9:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
HTC and LG have some fantastic Android phones
And you forgot real nice Sony Experia line why? Ya lamo :)))


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Pirks on 2/26/2013 9:34:39 PM , Rating: 1
fuck. I meant Xperia of course.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By retrospooty on 2/26/2013 9:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? Seriously the best phones lately are the Xperia Z the LG Optimus pro, The HTC one, oppo and huawei have some great ones too. Samsung is playing catch up at this point. The S4 looks like another face in the crowd and a late one at that... Then again, wait for the Google/Moto X.

If you ask me Samsung's success has really made the others raise the bar. Every single 1 of those phones above is smokin'


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Spuke on 2/26/2013 10:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seriously the best phones lately are the Xperia Z the LG Optimus pro, The HTC one, oppo and huawei have some great ones too.
That HTC One is SERIOUSLY good. That camera is ridiculous. I had no idea.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Mint on 2/27/2013 7:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
I'll have to reserve judgement.

Bigger pixels with lower resolution doesn't intrinsically have better image quality under low light than pixel binning, unless sensors lose a lot of photons at the borders (which I don't think is true). Under bright light, resolution wins, especially if you want to crop with these zoomless lenses.

If the OIS works well, the One's camera will be in the running with the Lumia 920, but I don't see how it's "SERIOUSLY good" at this point.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Reclaimer77 on 2/27/2013 9:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
HTC lost me with their idiotic decision on the One to arbitrarily remove Android buttons that I've been accustomed to for years. What's next, one button? Sounds like the Apple philosophy to me, and I do not hold to that. Don't they realize that's one of the best parts of owning an Android phone? The convenience of those keys!

Why? Just why did they do this? It made an otherwise great phone a total deal-breaker!


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Reclaimer77 on 2/27/2013 9:30:24 PM , Rating: 1
And to elaborate this happens EVERY time I look at an HTC phone. There is always one thing they completely fuck up for some reason that keeps me going back to Samsung. Just fucking get it right HTC! How hard is it? Was it really more important having a non-functional big fucking ass HTC logo at the bottom where the goddamn search button should be? WAS IT!!!

/I should lay off the hooch while blogging...


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By Mint on 2/27/2013 8:27:43 AM , Rating: 2
I assume the S4 will stick with the removable battery and microsd slot that has been a staple of the S series, so that's one distinguishing point.

I do agree with you that they're making everyone raise their game. The multiwindow mod to Android is a big deal as well.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By synapse46 on 2/27/2013 11:49:42 AM , Rating: 2
I like my S3 very much, but I must admit that my girlfriends optimus G is a superior product. Initially she had battery issues, but this was alleviated by disabling some unknown carrier services. Now the LG gets the same battery life as my S3 running a custom rom and kernel. The screen on the LG looks better than the S3 and is also substantially more efficient, loosely gaging from battery stats.

I think a large part of Samsungs success is from advertising and better command of their supply chain over other android phone manufactures.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By ven1ger on 2/27/2013 5:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
Just because Samsung is the top Android maker doesn't mean that the field isn't open for others to put out competing products. Samsung is producing some of the best products but at a premium price, others could easily come in with lesser features, not everyone needs the best, and inexpensive. I don't see much problem have tier one devices makers like Samsung, HTC, LG and others improving and offering their best at premium prices, but I can also see tier two or tier three device makers producing quality phones. Not everyone needs the best camera features or the most pixels, and there are those picky about the size of their devices, so there is a lot of room for a variety of device makers to offer up different options.


RE: Android is winning (C) Tony
By robinthakur on 2/27/2013 11:05:56 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, but it is little things like When Google mandated that the Menu button gets swapped for a multi task button. Samsung didn't implement it on the Galaxy 3 because they didn't want to do it, and there is no way to fix this in software (easily) unlike on the HTC One. Little things like this give precedence to how Samsung would behave if it could get its way. Of all the companies that might become monopolies, Samsung is the one I fear most as whenever I've had issues with their products, (fridge broke down, TV stopped switching on, dust under the camera unit on a SGS3) the support and service is shockingly rude in the UK.


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