The Mobile team debates whether Samsung's latest offering will be enough to overtake Apple.
Zak Garner-Purkis says…YES
The wearable market is still in its infancy, currently the products currently available have nothing like the life changing functions that the first mobile phones or smartphones possessed. In such a space marketing and desirability become the key drivers in convincing consumers to buy. Whilst the Apple Watch has appealed to certain segments of the market the marketing has not been on the same level as other products. Samsung therefore has the opportunity to push its product harder and achieve a more mainstream appeal.
Then you consider the product itself, Samsung is further down the product development line than Apple. It has learned from the mistakes of the previous wearable devices and can use this to its advantage. The Gear S is no longer a slave device and functions without Android Wear, all developments which demonstrate the brand is learning from previous versions.
The manufacturer is also more likely to sell the device through the distribution routes that Apple has forgone on its wearable. Retailers such as Carphone Warehouse which have been made to wait for the Apple Watch will have a greater incentive to sell the Samsung devices as the Californian brand continues to drag its heels.
Samsung are the world’s highest selling smartphone manufacturer, and there is no reason why it cannot repeat this success in the wearable category.
Kezia Joseph says…NO
Apple have a track history of propelling a product or platform into the limelight. It happened with tablets, it happened with touch screen smartphones…and now it will happen with wearables. The manufacturer also has a history of going head to head against Samsung in the UK smartphone arena, and often comes out on top. Samsung may be the world’s highest selling smartphone manufacturer, but Apple is undoubtedly the most well-known smartphone brand and in a consumer facing industry, brand is usually everything.
Apple’s smartest move in the wearable space was pipping Samsung to the post. Apple turned consumer attention to wearables, boosted demand in the relatively unknown market and made sure that its brand name become synonymous with both fashion and technology.
In terms of distribution partners, Samsung have the edge and Apple’s Achilles heel may lie in its somewhat closed distribution approach.
Retailers may have a greater incentive to sell a Samsung device, rather than wait for an Apple wearable, but will consumers want to buy? Part of Apple’s lure is the build-up and exclusivity of their products, as opposed to Samsung’s market wide approach.
Can Samsung follows in Apple’s footsteps? Perhaps but carving out their own path in the industry will be a harder task. Android fans will flock to Samsung and, while there is no doubt that the manufacturer’s presence will have an impact on the market, Apple got there first, and the bar has already been set.