Samsung isn’t building an ecosystem with its new range of wearables and its range of Galaxy and Note smartphones. It’s building a web which you’re flying straight into.
It’s interesting to think about the popularity of Samsung these days. Not just in Australia, but around the world. Right now, Samsung is being sued by Apple in more than a handful of different countires. Some speculate that the reason Apple sued in the first place four years ago is because it was jealous of Samsung’s impending success, and would do anything to keep its products off global shelves. Now Samsung regularly issues press releases saying that it has sold and continues to sell hundreds of millions of phones around the world.
Samsung continues to release smartphones and tablets in just about every form factor, and it’s on the cusp of having a successful wearables business too with the Gear 2 and Gear Fit. Add that brilliant mobile business on top of Samsung’s successful home entertainment and home appliance divisions, and its no wonder the company as a whole clears an astronomical $413,768 of revenue in a sixty second cash grab, and stashes $55,003 of that in pure profit.
People used to point fingers and laugh about the geeks that lined up around the block at Apple stores. Samsung was collectively one of the pointers, and with its schoolyard jibing brought more out into the proverbial schoolyard to yuk it up at the expense of the creatives in Cupertino.
Very quietly, however, Samsung has infiltrated popular culture to the point that it now has a devout following of its own.
Samsung has managed to cast itself as above the fray occupied by traditional Android vendors like Sony and HTC. You no longer carry just another Android phone with the Note or the Galaxy: you carry a Samsung phone. By sinking billions into above and below the line advertising, Samsung now represents the biggest tech cult in the world.
The company that once used to point and laugh at Apple for having customers who would buy anything it told them to now has a cult of its own who will do exactly the same. Samsung could have released the new Galaxy S5 with its new version of Touchwiz and a few updated specs, and it still would have sold hundreds of millions of units. But it didn’t.
Samsung is like a Sun: a young yet massive star that pulls in tonnes of matter and still keeps growing. It’s growing astronomically and shows no signs of slowing down. It has hundreds of millions of people wrapped around its proverbial finger, and over the next few years will slowly close the its fist, making it nigh on impossible for those already in the ecosystem to leave.
Samsung’s move towards its own, in-house operating system — known as Tizen — is inevitable. By making its own stuff in-house, it won’t have to pay money to Google on every phone it sells. That revenue will stay in house, and will rise exponentially when people spend more and more money in the Samsung Apps store rather than in the Google Play store.
What you probably don’t know is that, as a Samsung user, you’re already in the web. Samsung has you: it offers app exclusives that people actually want to download through its own Apps store, it offers wearable devices that feed data back into a closed ecosystem, and it’s slowly evolving its Touchwiz UI away from the prescribed design language of Android into something completely different.
In a few years, you may not even be able to buy a Samsung flagship phone with Android on it, and then, the web is inescapable for users who have spent years sinking everything they had into the brand.
There’s a new cult in town, and starting from now, it will never let you go.