How much Samsung really means to the Android world

The Galaxy S4, a name you can recognize (in Times Square, even). Credit: Photo by E-Plus Gruppe Fotostream/Flickr

Why Samsung stands so many heads and shoulders above its Android competition.

Sometimes, in the weird role we have collectively called “blogger,” it is your job to offer your take on things. Like question mark headlines, or brand new “smartwatches”.

Sometimes, though, you come across other writers’ work, like a wolf finding another pack already feasting on an elk. And all you can do is point to that thing that’s happening over there and say, “My goodness, they’re doing something right.”

Such was the case when I came across this Ars Technica piece on Samsung’s importance to the rise of Android. Casey Johnston has it just right, and she has the history, numbers, and analysis to prove it. I wish I had thought to write that.

It’s from March 13, just before Samsung debuted its Galaxy S4 phone, adding even more attention-oriented features and gee-wow stuff like face and eye-tracking technology, and solidifying Samsung’s name brand even further. Here are the key points:

This quote:

As its competitors sprayed Android handsets over the retail scene like buckshot with micro-variations and diverse UI skins, Samsung quickly focused and put most of its effort into creating and promoting a flagship line of handsets. The company set aside support for increasingly niche features like hardware keyboards or confusing, subtle model tweaks in favor of focusing on one quality handset.

Samsung’s growth is Android’s growth: At least until Samsung differentiates itself from Android so much that it’s officially a fork. But in the meantime, check out these numbers:

In overall mobile phone sales during the third quarter of 2011, Samsung was outselling competitors Motorola, HTC, and RIM by more than seven to one. Android had gone from powering 20.5 million handsets sold in the third quarter of 2010 to 60.5 million during the same period in 2011.

This chart:

ars_samsung_sales.jpgOriginal chart via Ars Technica.
Samsung versus iPhone sales

As noted by many tech pundits, Samsung did not mention “Android” even once during their Galaxy S4 unveiling. But by growing a distinct phone and “phablet,” innovating features, and giving customers Just One Phone to talk about, Samsung is showing us how money can be made in the often murky Android marketplace.

Again: Read Casey Johnston’s original Ars Technica piece. It’s some great elk-chewing. Ahem.

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