Samsung is jumping ship, shifting from Google’s Android OS in favor of Microsoft’s Windows OS.
The changeover was on display at the European electronics trade show in Berlin this week, when the South Korean mobile leviathan unveiled two new Windows-powered gadgets.
Showcasing a gleaming new 10.1‑inch tablet running on Windows RT and a 5.8‑inch Windows 8‑based smartphone, the company announced that the devices will be on sale later this year, although no prices or dates were released. But mobile advertising agencies are gearing up for a busy season in lieu of the announcement.
Why the shift from Android? Just mentioning those two names in the same sentence hints at the answer. As the Wall Street Journal reports, last week’s U.S. federal court verdict was bruising for Samsung not simply because it landed a walloping $1.05 billion for damages on the firm, but because it wiped an eye-watering $12 billion off the share value, as investors got twitchy over the possibility of another lawsuit centering on its flagship smartphone.
Samsung seems to believe that the ruling has spotlighted Android users in general. Google stock prices have also dropped because of the association with Android, although expert analyst Wayne Rash has dismissed the court ruling as the nonsensical verdict of a bewildered and confused jury.
Android has undoubtedly been good for Samsung, enabling it to overtake its rivals Apple and Nokia in the global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2012, when it claimed a 32.6 per cent share to Apple’s feebler 16.9 per cent and Nokia’s comparatively paltry 6.6 per cent. Well over half of the company’s $6 billion second quarter profits came from the sale of smartphones.
Despite this, the switch to Windows leaves Samsung with a steep climb ahead – opinion amongst analysts appears to be that, with demand for Windows 8 products remaining so low, there’ll be little sign of any near-term gains.
The switchover to Microsoft isn’t total, however. An Android-based successor to the Galaxy Note is in the pipeline, continuing the fusion of phone and tablet into a “phablet” device. This was the device that stuck in Apple’s craw and prompted litigation, largely because it believed Samsung blatantly copied the design from the iPhone and iPad.
Whatever else happens, mobile advertising is about to see some very interesting times.