Google Inc (GOOG), Samsung, Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Smartphone Saturation

So, is it me or is Samsung not getting the ink it was expecting? The firm recently launched it’s latest and greatest smartphone, the Galaxy S4. Well and good. However, what I’m seeing in the press (of which I used to be an active member, if you recall) is less than wild praise. Some of the things I’ve been reading include things like “inane features you’ll never use” and “ho-hum.” Not what I’d bet the company hoped for in reviews from major media outlets.

Still, it gets me thinking about smartphones. Clearly the coming thing – still – but also as clearly a fractured market that is beginning to see people get a certain level of numbness in terms of what the devices can do and what’s expected of them. The technology is advancing too quickly, with major releases from all four major players coming at a pace that seems dizzying. Just when one ‘latest best’ thing is out there there’s another one – sometimes by the same company – hot on its heels. It’s enough to make consumers just lose touch with the whole process.

That might be what’s beginning to happen. The explosion of different devices (and the apps that they can run) is making things that would have been miraculous just five years ago seem humdrum, and things that are miraculous today don’t raise eyebrows because people are too future-shocked to be willing to commit to the excitement. Only the hardcore fans really get involved. The rest of us just get on with our lives and have reached the point of ‘it does what I need it to, why should I upgrade’?

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Google Inc (GOOG)

The Galaxy S4 runs on Google’s Android platform, of course, just as it’s predecessors have. But, to me it’s more interesting to note that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is cashing checks on an open source platform that can move from device to device. If the Galaxy S4 doesn’t take off like some hoped and Samsung loses market share to one of the other players, Google won’t lose that much as the company isn’t tied to one specific set of hardware. Sure, there would be losses but the search engine doesn’t have all its chips on the table. Good for them, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was worthy of investment before, and it will be worth buying even if no one ever buys the Galaxy S4.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)

The main competitor for the Galaxy S4 is the iPhone 5, of course. Samsung and Apple have been locked into this war for a while; it’s anyone’s guess who wins and what the market share will be when it’s over. It’s still my opinion that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the cool factor working for it but that can’t last forever. However, even Apple is showing some cracks as the speed at which new versions of its iPhone come out will eventually wear out the need in the market to purchase them. Still, I’d buy Apple stock now while it’s cheap. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s got a lot of catching up to do against its true value. It can seem pricey, but it would be more costly to avoid it when it gains $100 per share again.