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19 Jun 12 Is Samsung looking to leave Android?

Galaxy S III from Samsung.
(Credit: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics’ new CEO called for the company to
redouble its focus on software, which could hint at a move away from
Android and toward its own
proprietary operating system.

Samsung has long desired to push its own integrated hardware
and software experience, investing in its Bada operating system and
selling devices in select markets. But the popularity of Android, which
powers its most successful smartphone and
devices, including its flagship Galaxy
phone, means the company can’t exactly quit the

Samsung has been steadily investing in its own proprietary
software, an initiative that new CEO Kwon Oh-hyun fully supports.

In his inaugural speech, Kwon said the company needs to have
particular focus on serving new customer experiences by strengthening
its software capabilities, user experience, and design, according to
the Wall
Street Journal

A completely integrated product would allow Samsung to have
full control over every detail of the device, and wouldn’t leave it so
dependent on an outside company for the latest software. In addition,
its own platform would allow it to stand apart from a sea of devices
running on the same software.

The ideal scenario for such a model, of course, is Apple,
which builds its own hardware and software with iOS. On the flip side,
companies such have Research In Motion, Palm, and Nokia have struggled
with their own proprietary software. Palm has largely disappeared,
while Nokia switched to Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system,
with the struggling RIM the only one attempting to stand apart with its
BlackBerry operating system.

The pressure is likely on for Samsung to develop its own
operating system now that Google has officially acquired Motorola
Mobility, which means its partner will also be a competitor with the
potential to access earlier versions of Android. Google has said it
would continue to be neutral when it comes to Android, while Samsung
has said it is looking forward to the legal cover Motorola would bring
to the Android community.

Privately, Samsung executives have said they expect to compete
with Google on the device front, making it increasingly important to
differentiate. While Samsung already customizes Android a bit with
TouchWiz, the company could do more to veer away from the standard
Android user experience.

Whether that’s a good thing is unclear. Many Android fans
prefer a “stock” experience, which leaves the software alone. But
handset manufacturers believe they need to set themselves apart to
avoid getting lost in the sea of generic-looking devices.

Samsung could take it a step further and move toward its own
operating system. As the largest smartphone manufacturer in the
world–outselling even Apple–it certainly has the heft and reach to
pull it off.


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