If Samsung is the anti-Apple and with their success in the smartphone space you have to consider them a strong alternative, then they have to have a strategy which allows them to emulate Apple in order to be as successful. By this I mean, Apple has the amazing ability to sell a range of products which are highly similar and yet each is in its own category.
You want an inexpensive music player for the kids? The Apple answer, an iPod Touch. They become teenagers and need a phone? The Apple answer is the iPhone. They need a gaming device on the go and something to help them read books for school, etc? The Apple answer is an iPad.
The efficiencies here are truly awe-inspiring… They use similar processors and other components – especially the iPod the iPhone.
Samsung, in order to compete on the top and especially bottom line needs to do the same. They need to sell millions of music players – entry level devices which are considered iPod Touch alternatives.
Although the company has tried before, their recently announced Samsung Galaxy Player 3.6 and 4.2 are supposed to be the devices which cut into Apple’s growing marketshare.
As Walt Mossberg points out however at 480x320 the 3.6 has inferior graphics to the iPod Touch but the flipside is it comes with a charger, earbuds with a microphone, expandable memory and the flexibility of Android (assuming you see this as an advantage.) All this and you save $50 over the similar Apple device. Mossberg further opines the Samsung feels more flimsy than the iPod Touch but Samsung counters that the 4.2 will be a better competitor – priced at $199.
I haven’t followed Samsung’s media players and moreover they haven’t received much press. So already there is a troubling lack of momentum in this product line. So the challenge for the Korean company is they need to make a device far cheaper and better for them to receive mass adoption. Moreover, at this point many people have gone down the iOS ecosystem road with iCloud, iTunes and myriad chargers and accessories. You have to do something dramatic to win them over.
One Direction singing What Makes You Beautiful
A celebrity endorsement perhaps? Would the cast of Jersey Shore be good ambassadors for the product? I am semi-serious here but I do think pop sensation One Direction could be one strong candidate to consider as they give you the youth market as well as the general pop space and they are new enough that an endorsement probably wouldn't be as expensive as a more established band. Not that Samsung hasn't shown a propensity to spend as much money as needed and more on marketing.
Moreover, if Samsung, Google and the rest of the Android community doesn’t act quickly – it may be too late to compete in the media player and tablet space.
On the flipside, Samsung is able to leverage its truly breathtaking display technology developed for TVs across its entire line of consumer products. This is one of the reasons the Galaxy S II smartphone is so impressive - it uses Super AMOLED technology which is gorgeous.
See a video interview between myself and Tom Chun Director and head of Wireless Terminal Strategy at Samsung discussing the ability to leverage TV technology across consumer electronics products
But with Apple rumored to be coming into the TV business, now is the time for Samsung to look to diversify with more serious and competitive offerings so they can match Apple product for product.