General Samsung / Android thoughts


(Simon B) #1

The thread regarding Samsung Pay went wildly off topic (partially my fault!) so I’m splitting some of the posts here.


(Simon B) #2

Personal opinion, very much not indicative of company views or anything like that…but IMO Samsung are trying to have their cake and eat it too.

Either you put all the resources that Google have done into building your own OS, get developer support, create a unique place in the market, and go all in on it and try and make it work, or not.

It’s a two-horse race, like it or not. Samsung could never dump Android, because Tizen is not a good replacement. They’d kill themselves overnight.

The Tizen watches are peripheral devices.

App support isn’t a big issue on them, since they are mainly used for notification mirroring and basic fitness tracking (this is also true for watchOS and Wear OS also, but they have additional app support should people choose to use them)

So Samsung can have a little play around to feel what it’s like to control the whole ecosystem. Probably feeling a bit threatened by Google having a hardware division now (in fact, it was allegedly Samsung that pressured Google to sell Motorola years ago).

But ultimately Tizen will never have wide-scale developer support. For the simple reason that it’s not worth the resources for companies to develop for three operating systems. It’s the same argument that used to come up before Microsoft killed Windows Phone - whether we would support it, and the answer was no.

If Samsung thinks they have made a better wearable OS than Google, then send some engineers to Google to work on Wear OS or make some significant contributions to AOSP. That’s what other OEMs do.

Android is supposed to be a partnership between Google and OEMs. That means giving as well as taking. Unfortunately Samsung often just treat it as taking someone else’s hard work, slapping their own stuff on top and pretending they did everything. They are perfectly content to try and build a monopoly by piggybacking off of the hard work of others.

And that’s why Android enthusiasts largely don’t buy Samsung devices.

We buy Pixels, OnePlus, Essential, Moto (less so with Lenovo in charge) and Sony (who have contributed loads to AOSP).


Does Monzo support Samsung Pay yet?
#3

I think the interesting thing about Tizen is that its real purpose is for leverage with Google. While there is a credible alternative OS that the biggest Android OEM can use, Samsung has additional power in negotiations. And, of course, it is a potential lifeboat if they did want to go it alone - but that would be quite the nuclear option, I think.


#4

Sorry to double post, but I was wondering if you’d consider a blog post on the devices that are used by Monzo customers? I was trying to find an example (but failing) - something that lists the most popular devices, OSes, and what (if anything) that tells you, including trends over time.

(If it doesn’t tell you much, it might not be all that interesting a blog post, but hey…!)


#5

You have facts to back that claim?

What is an android enthusiast nowadays? From what I remember Android enthusiast like customisation and choice ( expandable memory, having headphones jacks, the option to use a fingerprint). I stick by that, and that’s why I have a note 8.

Now it seems it’s all about being loyal to a phone that gets software updates quicker. I’d ilso like to add that in the past some of these features were also available on touchwiz before a major android OS update (e.g split screen).

As for their watches, I chose tizen for stability. They just need to look out for their own Samsung models alone unlike wearOS. It’s kinda like the argument Apple users have against androids fragmentation.

At the end of the day there are alot of excuses being thrown in this comment feed. Some may say valid some may say not. But I am looking at one of your close competitors that state they support Apple pay, android pay, Samsung pay and even Fitbit Pay.

I’m sure you can understand why people are expecting Monzo to be capable of this also. Saying the user share isn’t big enough doesn’t make sense to me, because the share will never grow if these people see other companies offer what they want/need.


(Simon B) #6

It’s an opinion based on facts, rather than a definitive fact. That aside, I strongly believe it to be true.

As a Day 1 Android user (T-Mobile G1, 2008) and a former moderator at AndroidCommunity (which, in the early Android days was the biggest Android news site and forum), I would consider it to be the case.

These days, AndroidPolice is inarguably the largest resource, staffed by the most passionate Android enthusiasts. So we can look at a few of their polls to get an idea:

  • In a poll asking if readers would be buying the S9 or S9+ when they were released, 65% of voters said No. 27% of users said they either already had or were planning to, and 6% of users said maybe.

  • Comparatively, in a similar poll for the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, 44% of users said Yes, 30% of users said Maybe and 26% of users said No.

Therefore, on the site widely considered to be the best resource for Android enthusiasts :

33% of polled users said they either would or might get a S9 or S9+
and
74% of polled users said they either would or might get a Pixel 2 or a Pixel 2 XL.

From that, you can certainly conclude that the site with the largest amount of Android enthusiasts shows that said Android enthusiasts are over twice as likely to buy a flagship Google phone than a flagship Samsung.

It’s inarguable that Samsung sell more units (although, this is hugely swayed by low-end and mid-range phones - when I worked in phone retail, 9/10 Samsung units sold were units with an retail price of less than £200) - but they largely aren’t selling them to Android enthusiasts.

As others have pointed out, Tizen is Samsung’s leverage. But it’s a pretty weak leverage, since it’s not a replacement for Android.

All of this aside, this has very little to do our decision to not support Samsung Pay right now - that’s purely down to resources, priorities, and the amount of customers that would benefit from it.

It’s also worth mentioning that when we compiled large amounts of user requests on what they needed in order to make Monzo their main account, support for Samsung Pay isn’t something that came up a lot. There were some requests for sure, but largely people requested things that we didn’t support at all, and as mentioned, Samsung phone users aren’t completely locked out from NFC payments because we support Google Pay, which many of our Samsung users are more than happy to use :slightly_smiling_face:

We would love to ultimately support all payment options that our users want to use. However, it’s a non-trivial amount of work, and so must be balanced out with things we are working on that will benefit far more of our users.


#7

so if not to Android enthusiasts, to Joe Public, non-techie users. Surely the ideal candidate for future customers if you seek to reach a billion, rather than retain your image of being niche for techie types and Apple fans!


(Simon B) #8

Those people do not know or care about the feature difference between Google Pay and Samsung Pay.


(Richard) #9

I think that’s a bit extreme - a lot of Androids mass market success was down to sales from Samsung devices at the beginning - they’ve certainly helped Android become what it has today without all the benefits of getting to play store sales etc like Apple do.

It’s also not like Google isn’t getting what it wants. Google deals with data and that’s what it’s getting - it’s mining your photos, getting your search history, finding out where you’ve been. It knows everything about you from a device you take everywhere with you. It’s a perfect marketing tool.

Id also say Tizen isn’t the leverage - the real leverage is that Samsung could fork Android and go its own way. Exactly what Google did with WebKit so it’s not like Google doesn’t do this behaviour - it’s a business after all.

Ultimately out of all the tech companies Google is not perticulary one I would defend on their practices nor is it a company I’m passionate about. Android is a way for them to get the data they need. They’re not losing out and the relationship between Samsung and Google can no way be seen as one sided.

Me personally I’d be happy to more away from Android but I do like the hardware in Samsung phones. Google being part of Android is actually one of the reasons moving to iOS somewhat appeals to me.


(Simon B) #10

I don’t think anyone has forked Android and made a success out of it phone wise (at least in the West, maybe in China) - you saw what happened with Amazon and their Fire Phone.

Doing that means basically removing everything most consumers want from Android - no YouTube, no Google Maps, no Play Store, no Gmail.

No doubt that Samsung shipping a lot of units has helped Android. But things like cloning Apple’s UI and getting the pants sued off of them for it has also hurt Android and the perception amongst the public. There was literally nothing wrong with the UI Google built that was present across the early versions of Android - what Samsung did with the original Galaxy S and TouchWiz was indefensible in that regard.

Trying to monopolise the supply chain has hurt Android (there was at least one flagship Snapdragon that they literally bought all of, it was months before another OEM could ship with it).

And the biggest thing for me and for most that consider themselves Android enthusiasts is simply that they don’t support AOSP and the developer community. Yes, Google gets data, but Android as a concept exists separately from Google even if they own it - if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be open source, it would just all be proprietary. Other partners are happy to be partners, and to give back, and to not try and monopolise the platform. Samsung claims to be a partner but is more like a frenemy.


#11

This poll does not prove much. for the following reasons:

  1. First poll should have included the poll option " no i am happy with my s7+, s8, s8+ or Note 8". the “no” results could have included people that did not see the s9 as an improvement from their current galaxy phone (look at the first comment on that blog post you linked). Even I would have voted “not interested” because at the time of announcement i recently bought my note 8. There will always be people that say “the improvement isn’t good enough” in response to the release of the next version of their current phone. i said the same to the note 9.

  2. The second poll. Pixel2 had a lot more major improvements vs pixel 1, compared to the changes in s9 vs s8. So loyal pixel 1 users could be voting in yes. Like the reverse of what I mentioned in point one.

  3. Also you and I know that for some strange reason there are wars between fan boys for different Android phone brands. There are people who go above and beyond to say their dislike for a competitor. This can skew either report. Someone commented “#TeamPixel” on the post. Enough said.

i need a survey with randomly chosen participants and a decent sample size.

I think “more than happy” is a bit of a stretch, seeing as it’s the only choice they have if they want to stay loyal to Monzo.

However, I fully understand your lack of resources reasoning and i know no amount of commenting here is going to change your priorities.


(Simon B) #12

It isn’t as bad as this any more, but for me this was a real low point.

There were phones shipping a few years back with inferior Samsung clones of all the Google apps (Why would anyone choose S Voice over Google Assistant, or Milk over Google Play Music? Bizarre)

Massively unnecessary. Luckily most consumers just didn’t use the Samsung ones and so development got canned on many of them.

One of the great things about Android is that no matter what phone you buy from what manufacturer, you’ll have access to all of those Google apps. If you store all of your notes in “S Note”, and then you decide in two years you really dig the new Sony or the new LG, you’re outta luck.


(Jack) #13

This is one of the main reasons I switched from android to iOS in the past. Was fed up of what I classed as “bloatware”.

I appreciate it’s not an android issue though. It’s a Samsung issue, but at the time I presumed it was like it across the board.


(Simon B) #14

The Pixel poll didn’t have this option either, so it’s a fair comparison.

That is a subjective viewpoint that is also without statistics :slight_smile:

To prove what, though? I am not sure you truly believe that Android enthusiasts prefer Samsung devices. The entire nature of being an Android enthusiast is that you want to use the software in it’s purest form, straight from Google, with Day 1 updates.

I think it’s totally fair to argue that users who prefer headphone jacks, expandable storage and styluses (stylii?) would prefer flagship Samsung phones, as you mentioned in a previous post. But I wouldn’t consider those needs to be qualities of an Android enthusiast.


#15

As the icon suggests, the S note was made for the Note lines, to draw/write notes. Google keep was primarily made for typed notes and also doesn’t support the button on the stylus for a quick eraser.


(Simon B) #16

Yep. That’s exactly one of the reasons that Samsung behaviour has hurt Android as a whole.


(Simon B) #17

If I buy a Sony Xperia do I automatically get to keep my S-Notes? If not, the point stands.


#18

So you believe to be an Android enthusiasts mean wanting day 1 updates, not preferring android over apple in general? Are you sure thats what it means to be one?

Even the “Android enthusiasts” stack exchange page has questions and answers relating to Samsung, cyanogen, Sony phones.


(Simon B) #19

Are you sure that it isn’t?

Ultimately it’s an opinion - supported by facts in the poll stats above.

Might not be a perfect poll, but if you have some evidence that Android enthusiasts prefer Samsung flagships over Pixels, I would like to see them :slightly_smiling_face:

As for your mention of Cyanogen and Sony… Yes, Cyanogen was an Android version beloved by Android enthusiasts, because it was started by Android enthusiasts on the XDA forum in the early days of Android. In fact, the Cyanogen project was intended to keep things as close to stock AOSP Android as possible, and started by rolling ROMs for Android devices that weren’t getting updates any more. So yes, Android enthusiasts loved Cyanogen. When Cyanogen turned from a hobby project into a capital-funded business, and decided to take on Google, rather than work with them as they had been doing (see former Cyanogen CEO Kirk McMaster’s comment about putting a bullet to Google), Android enthusiasts deserted them, and the company fell apart. By the way, I ran several versions of Cyanogen across the G1 and T-Mobile G2 import.

Sony is also respected by Android enthusiasts - because they keep their software clean, they don’t duplicate Google apps, and they hugely contribute back to the AOSP.

So, two out of the three companies you just mentioned from Stack Exchange actually support my wider point :slightly_smiling_face:


#20

What I listed were example tags from that site. There are also recent tags for Xiaomi , HTC and Hauwei…

Also…

  1. Why did these android enthusiast like Cyanogen, did they provide day 1 updates?
  2. Does Sony provide day 1 updates , from google?