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A.T. Faust III
| February 15, 2012
"iTV" Threat Proves Samsung Fails To Understand Importance Of Innovation
Samsung is terrified by Apple. The Korean electronics giant is proving once again that it just can’t grasp Apple’s ideas about simplicity, innovation, and mass appeal. Long more a copyist than an incubator, Samsung missed the boat on the tablet space, and it’s talking a big game as Apple preps to make a splash in the TV market. Sound familiar? I wrote the above about a month ago, fresh off Samsung's "iTV"-induced hubris overload. I was prompted, now, to use it again, as the Korean electronics giant today revisited its prior stance in the wake of Tim Cook's rumor-fueling Goldman Sachs keynote. Here's what Sammy's AV product manager had to say on the subject (via Pocket-lint):
We've not seen what they've done but what we can say is that they don't have 10,000 people in R&D in the vision category. They don't have the best scaling engine in the world and they don't have world renowned picture quality that has been awarded more than anyone else. TVs are ultimately about picture quality. Ultimately. How smart they are...great, but let's face it that's a secondary consideration. The ultimate is about picture quality and there is no way that anyone, new or old, can come along this year or next year and beat us on picture quality. So, from that perspective, it's not a great concern but it remains to be seen what they're going to come out with, if anything.Seriously, Samsung? This position is asinine on so many levels, and, if true, is sadly indicative of history repeating. When faced with Apple's imminent mobile entry in 2007, inaction and indifference kneecapped RIM and Microsoft to the point where, five years later, both companies have yet to recover. Instead of learning from that past, Samsung is boldly going where others have gone before, proudly and stupidly wearing that same red shirt and idiot grin. Keep in mind: Apple won't be manufacturing their own TV panels (just like they don't manufacture their own LCD displays), and there are a wealth of other award-winning TV makers out there -- LG, Sharp, Sony, and more -- whom the Cupertino company might contact and contract. Additionally, picture quality is not the "ultimate" deciding factor for most TV buyers. You know what is? Price. That's why VIZIO is so popular. And that's why the hardware margins in the television industry are so pitifully slim. Duh. After all, most people will readily agree that the iPad doesn't sport the finest tablet display (pixel for pixel) on the market. And every Android fan immediately points to the superiority of Samsung's Super AMOLED screens over the iPhone's decidedly impressive Retina display. In other words, you don't have to have the best tech to be competitive (even though Apple usually sets the bar pretty high on the spec sheet) -- you just have to have the simplest, most elegant, most comprehensive and compatible all-in-one package available. And it's that very ease-of-use, that "smartness," that Samsung -- with its clunky, stumbling TV interface -- just doesn't get. Look, if the Apple "iTV" has a screen 95 percent "as good" as a competitor's set, but offers as eminently revolutionary and refined a navigational experience as the rest of the iOS line (at anywhere near the same price point per screen size), I'll pick it every time. And so will everyone else.