Photo: Associated Press
Samsung is having huge success with its Android devices, particularly over the holidays, to the point where we should talk of “Samdroid” like we do “Wintel,” says mobile analytics company Flurry in a very interesting blog post. In 2009, the biggest Android OEMs were HTC and Motorola, and Samsung had only 4% marketshare. In 2010, Samsung became number 2 with 27%, and number one HTC went down from 67% to 32%. That’s pretty impressive, and a hell of a growth rate.
What’s more, during the last holiday period, not only did Samsung’s Galaxy S dominate new activations, but it also had the number three spot with its Galaxy Tab, its Android tablet which is the best-selling Android tablet and the only tablet in the top 10.
That’s certainly a huge success, but should we start taking about “Samdroid”?
Our take: no, or at least not yet.
The big difference is that “Wintel” wasn’t an alliance between an OS and an OEM, but between an OS and a microprocessor maker. Microprocessors are extremely hard technology, and Intel built its dominance through incredible technology (and more than a touch of marketing savvy, for sure). And there were technological reasons for Microsoft to favour the x86 format that Intel pioneered that aren’t there for Android OEMs.
The OEM market is different. It’s much more competitive and margins are much thinner. A “Samdroid” alliance might happen in theory if Google decides to solve its Android fragmentation problem by favouring devices of a certain form factor, presumably Samsung’s. But it’s much better for Google to keep OEMs divided, roughly where we are, i.e. with a handful of big players with similar marketshare, rather than favour one over the others, where that big player could then make demands. What’s more, Android’s edge against its competitors is how many partners embrace it. If Google starts playing favourites, other device makers will abandon ship.
But in any case, Samsung certainly had a hell of a 2010. Congratulations.