Full disclosure #1— I own Apple stock. Full disclosure #2—I have gone back and forth between iPhones and Android phones and like them both equally—though I find them differently useful. And the saddest disclosure of all—I actually owned a BlackBerry z10 for all of a month.
Okay, so now, to the issue at hand. Rumors (and a few purportedly leaked internal Samsung strategy memos) indicate Samsung’s long game is to build market share and brand preference with handsets running Google’s android, then switch new models to a home-grown mobile operating system OS. See here. For Samsung, I have one word of warning: “BlackBerry.”
First, if you didn’t know (and why would you?) the blackberry OS is actually amazing software. It is built on top of a rock-solid, fast, industrial strength real-time operating system (RTOS) called QNX—which was purchased by RIM. The QNX kernel (the main chunk of code that runs the show) has proven itself in industrial and mission-critical installations for years. The BlackBerry hardware/software combination is great at multitasking and resisting the kinds of crashes that occasionally lock up your iPhone. So what will Samsung bring to the table BlackBerry didn’t? Likely…nothing. Samsung has made some very nice Android handsets over the years. But never has anyone remarked how innovative they are. Nor, how forward thinking. Even the Galaxy Gear wearables they have been releasing are, at best interesting ideas, rushed to market and poorly executed.
So, Samsung, be wary of mistakenly thinking your well-earned success makes you immune to the public’s limited demand for OS platforms. Generally, every market supports two major players, and everyone else battles for scraps. Just ask BlackBerry how that game is going for them.