UPDATED 10:02 EDT / SEPTEMBER 02 2011

Diversifying Beyond Android: Samsung and HTC Take on the World

Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility raised concerns across the industry, as this might mean the search giant would be favoring Motorola devices for new Android releases, or be the first to get Android updates which led some to think that current Android supporters might soon shift to other platforms or launch their own.

Samsung and Bada – the power play

Two Android-supporting mobile manufacturers fueled the flame by releasing new smartphones that aren’t Android-powered.  They are pushing to be known not just as a hardware manufacturer but also as a software manufacturer.  They have already seen how OS affects the sales of devices.

“We must pay attention to the fact that [information technology] power is moving away from hardware companies such as Samsung to software companies,” said Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

Samsung unveiled three new smartphones running Bada 2.0, including the Wave 3 that features a 4-inch AMOLED screen, 1.4GHz processor, a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and connects either through Wi-Fi or HSPA that will sell for approximately $445. There’s also the Wave M, which will be the first to feature ChatOn, which is Samsung’s IM service for group messaging and content sharing.  Then there’s the Wave Y, which has a 3.2-inch display. The Wave M and Y will cost less than $200.  Their aim in using this platform is to accommodate various applications created by developers as well as provide an interesting new space that offers unprecedented enjoyment to its users.  The Wave series will have access to the 13,000 apps available on the Samsung Apps store.

HTC and Windows Phone – Mango

HTC also unveiled two new smartphones that run the new version of the Windows Phone.  First up is the Titan, which features a 4.7 4.5 inch LCD display, a MSM8255 single-core 1.5GHz processor, an 8 megapixel camera with autofocus, dual LED flash and 720p movie mode, a front-facing 1.3 megapixel camera, 16GB of internal storage, and support for DLNA, Bluetooth 2.1 and WiFi.  Then there’s the Radar that features a 3.8 inch LCD display, MSM8255 single-core 1.5GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB internal storage, 5 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1 and WiFi.  Both smartphones are based on Mango, the next update for Windows Phone.  The phones will be available by October, making them the first devices to run the new platform in Europe.

Microsoft is said to be investing millions of dollars in training sales staff of phone companies worldwide to encourage them to sell devices running its Windows Phone operating system to catch up with competitors’ sales.

“HTC will be hoping the heightened awareness of Windows Phone as a result of Nokia cosying up to Microsoft will help kick-start interest in these new phones after the dismal reception of Windows Phone this time last year,” said Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight.

With Android patent suits on the rise, fear that Google’s consolidating its own manufacturing efforts, and a clear move away from hardware in the long-term, aligning with the right software maker is key for the future of handset manufacturers, and diversifying beyond Android is just another way companies like Samsung and HTC are hedging their bets.


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