Mobile Device War: Samsung Tablet vs iPadAs an avid mobile device user, I’ve been struggling with my Samsung tablet for the past 3 months.  While the experience hasn’t been all bad, I found myself just recently saying that I needed to go back to an iPad. In fact the Samsung tablet vs iPad war has been a growing trend, and newer Android devices are further fueling the fire.

What I own right now is an “adequate” tablet, with sub-par battery power, and a sketchy user experience.  I am not writing this post as a fan of any particular OS.  I think if I had an Android tablet before they started to get cheaper, maybe my experience would have been better.

TechCrunch released an insightful article that articulates a related trend in the mobile device market. In a word, Samsung tablet along with all the multiple Android devices are chasing each other to the bottom, while iPad, being the only iOS tablet, has been maintaining quality and margin while watching the others climb over each other to compete.

Does the battle between Android devices give Apple an edge?

Apple’s advantage is that they are able to maintain high margins and extract a great deal of profit out of the device market.  For example, out of $649 charged for the higher-grade iPhones, Apple is estimated to be taking $442 in profit.  These margins hold because Apple is the only provider of iOS hardware, while the numerous Android providers continue to beat each other up. This trend is starting to show up in Samsung’s numbers. Operating income for Samsung is down 21% in the last quarter due to these competitive pressures.

Competitors in China, willing to flood the market with cheap devices have been a major headache for Samsung.  They have to deal with a chaotic battlefield that includes cheap Windows devices, cheap Android devices, and a new Blackberry that, in desperation, is willing to use whatever it has to win or even keep customers.  Add to that the fact that as people shift from one OS to another, they tend to shift more towards iOS, whereas Apple holds onto its customers at a higher rate than any other vendor.  Analyzing Windows vs. Blackberry vs. Apple vs. Android, you can see that Windows is not growing, Blackberry is dropping, and Apple is picking up more of those “switches” than the others.

Innovation is Android’s Best Weapon

Apple, of course, is not immune to innovation.  Upcoming releases of premium hardware offerings and a hopeful improvement in the Android OS could see a spur in both Samsung and other Android device sales.  The success or failure of Apple to produce new, exciting products in Q3 and Q4 will be a big factor this year.

Most analysts predict that there will be potentially record breaking demand for both Apple’s new larger-sized devices and their upcoming release of the iWatch.  Some believe that a very good iWatch could lead to further conversion and get people to use both devices types, living a more “integrated” lifestyle.  Apple could also be challenged in the device margins given their manufacturing decisions , challenges with materials, and pressure from Chinese manufacturers on a limited amount of natural resources for items such as screens and chips.

Samsung Tablet vs iPad War Is a Boon For Consumers and Marketers

Through all this innovation and vendor competition, the true beneficiary is the mobile device consumer. The Samsung tablet vs iPad competition has continued to fuel a market where smartphones and tablets, of both OS’s, are flying off the shelves. Consumers dissatisfied with one vendor have a plethora of other devices to choose from. Marketers have a unique opportunity to take full advantage of this market. Regardless of which vendor wins the device war, with MobileSmith, marketers can create multi-platform native apps to engage mobile consumers and keep their organization on top of the mobile game.

Robert Hancock is Vice President of Sales at MobileSmith. He oversees MobileSmith’s sales, business development, and customer service functions. Robert has over 15 years of experience building, developing, and managing marketing and sales organizations of technology companies including tenures in senior management positions with Outstart, ASPE, and Redwood Software.