There is a lot of talk in cyberspace as to whether Samsung’s latest and great phone, the Galaxy s4, is an “iPhone killer”. Clearly, the Samsung Galaxy s4 has better specifications than the iPhone 5; 2GB of RAM, 1.9 GHz quad processing, a 13 megapixel camera, along with a 2 megapixel front facing camera. A high-definition display, and then some. The kitchen sink. Great stuff. But it is not going to kill the iPhone because the genius of the iPhone is not the specifications, or retina display, or any of that, it is the ecosystem.
Apple is consistent with iOS. Google is all over the place with Android. Samsung Galaxy s4 runs Android 4.2.2, I mean what in the hell is going on here? I’m still running Android 4.0. Some of you are still running Android 2.3 (not that there is anything wrong with that at least Android 2.3 is consistent). Apple does have its fanboys, does have a lot of apologists and has been known for marketing hype but they have good, durable products. Earlier Apple products with only 256 MB of RAM are still in use, and that is rarely the case with other ecosystems.
Samsung Galaxy s4 is marketed as a life companion. That is appropriate, considering that computing, in general, is about augmentation of tasks we normally did by hand, in the analog world. People do have this love/hate relationship with computing, so it makes a lot of sense, and smartphones are just one way in which we have allowed computing to take over telephony, which at one time was about communicating with actual human beings and less about hiding behind social networks and purveying people on YouTube.
Google means well when it comes to Android. Android Market was okay, Google Play is better; getting either to work on devices that are “rooted” (either they have Android but it is not completely open, or they don’t have Android but technically, should be capable of running Android), is a frustrating experience. The problem that Google has, is that there are a million places to go to get apps, and no one really needs Google Play anymore. Google would love to sell you music, movies, and television shows, but there are apps that allow you to download that stuff off of YouTube.
So Samsung is left in an odd place. Allow people to learn the ins and outs, and the idiosyncrasies of the platform on their own, or create a more polished experience. They chose the latter and offer apps, music, TV shows, and movies through their own store. History has shown us that this approach works best; Amazon used it, Barnes and Noble used it, and now Ubuntu and Mozilla are using it. No one really wants to deal with the Android framework; hide it out of view and just give me something that works.
Eventually, Android is going to have to clean up house. The old Android 2.3 smartphones that sell for under $100 are going to need to be phased out for more polished, modern, applications on the latest version of Android that work. Low spec phones need to be replaced with 2 – 4GB smartphones. But as good as the Samsung Galaxy s4 is, Windows Phone 8, and Blackberry 10 aren’t going anywhere. Even if the Samsung Galaxy sells enough units, in that more people own a Samsung Galaxy than own an iPhone, it still isn’t an iPhone killer, it just means that Android has won over the Wild West the old fashioned way; the JVC-VHS/BluRay/Sony Playstation way, through good old fashioned shock and awe guerrilla techniques where there are just so many, and the marketing buzz is so strong, and you can’t go anywhere without being confronted by the technology you have to give in. In the near future, the Galaxy s8 will sell for $800 while an old Galaxy s2 will sell for less than $100.