Depending on who you ask, the reason people love the Samsung Galaxy S4 is because it features the power of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Android OS; or the one factor holding Samsung back is the fact that it features an undifferentiated OS like Android. As the manufacturer of the single best selling line of Android devices, Samsung is positioning itself to have an increasingly persuasive voice with Google. This is even more notable when you consider that at the recent release party that Samsung threw for the Galaxy S4, Android was not mentioned.
Furthermore, Samsung is developing its own ecosystem that may position it to more directly compete with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). This development becomes harder to overlook when you consider the steps Samsung is taking to bring its own OS — Tizen — to market with Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) chips. Ultimately, as good a partner as Samsung has been, these two are on a collision course to conflict.
Ecosystems are the new driving force
While there has always been an inexorable connection between software and hardware, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has created and executed the current paradigm for consumer electronics with its iOS ecosystem. Going back to the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, CNET’s Matthew Moskovciak wrote:
The “ecosystem” concept started bubbling up last year at CES. Back then, companies like Samsung and Vizio were talking about creating tablets that talked to their TVs and app stores that could integrate their mobile devices into the entire living room full of devices. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is the model, of course, having already closed the loop on what Steve Jobs originally dubbed the “digital hub” back in 2001.
Similar to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS ecosystem, Google’s Android is well established. The Samsung foray into this space is less developed, but is growing rapidly. Specifically designed Samsung Apps allow users to manage their media files between various Samsung devices, and, while they can be accessed by other Samsung devices, they are not accessible on other Android devices . As the company describes it: “The Samsung Media Hub app brings all-star entertainment to the Galaxy S smartphones and the Galaxy Tab. The app is preloaded on your device so you can instantly enjoy a diverse selection of movies and TV shows that start playing while they download.”