Samsung cannot blame Apple’s iPhone monopoly for a lifetime of horrible software program

The US authorities says Apple is holding again smartphones. Utilizing techniques that make its rivals appear worse, relatively than making its personal telephones higher, Apple has unfairly harm rivals like Samsung and Google, says the Justice Division. Whether or not or not the federal government is correct, one factor is evident – Samsung has been making horrible software program for years, and it might’t blame Apple.

Amongst all the main smartphone makers, Samsung noticed the risk from Apple’s iPhone sooner than most. Among the many greatest cellphone makers of the day (2007), Blackberry execs dismissed Apple as a shopper play, and Nokia caught to its ageing and unfriendly software program. Solely Samsung modified course rapidly to fulfill the iPhone.

Nokia N95 closed

The Nokia N95 was the good cellphone ever earlier than the iPhone got here alongside (Picture credit score: Future)

Sadly, Samsung thought the iPhone was all about options. It by no means understood that the iPhone’s actual development was making these options so extremely straightforward to make use of with intuitive software program.

The primary Samsung competitor to the iPhone was the foolish little Samsung Intuition, a function cellphone working Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, with a better-than-average internet browser, music participant, and even easy apps. It was horrible, particularly in comparison with the iPhone. However it seemed like an iPhone, in the event you squinted good. It was a poor alternative, but it surely checked many of the identical containers.

With Android got here a win, but it surely was the fallacious win

Samsung’s first Android telephones had been equally horrible. Earlier than the Galaxy got here alongside, we obtained the Samsung Behold, which was the worst smartphone I ever used. It stacked that TouchWiz function cellphone interface on high of Android. On a spreadsheet of options, the Behold might match the iPhone row-for-row, however really utilizing the cellphone was a horrible ordeal. 

When the Samsung Galaxy telephones got here alongside, they represented the primary win for Samsung, however this victory solely pointed the corporate extra firmly within the fallacious path. What made the unique Galaxy cellphone nice, particularly in comparison with the iPhone, was the OLED show. Apple didn’t undertake OLED for its iPhone show panels till the iPhone X. Samsung’s OLED Galaxy telephones gave the corporate a win on paper, and that’s the one win that issues to Samsung.

iPhone X

The iPhone X was the primary iPhone to match Samsung’s OLED show (Picture credit score: TechRadar)

Why is OLED higher? Initially, OLED seems implausible, particularly on a small show the place you may see the distinction in distinction up shut. Colours pop on an OLED show, and since black areas are utterly darkish, the distinction degree approaches infinity. Second, OLED gives some minimal battery saving, because the darkish elements of the display usually are not drawing any energy. In follow, it’s a small benefit, perhaps 5% per day, but it surely’s measurable.

Samsung had a spec win. It gained with a function the iPhone wouldn’t match. It nonetheless used horrible software program, nonetheless a model of the identical horrible TouchWiz interface that it used on the Samsung Intuition function cellphone. Even with {hardware} that might compete with the most effective, Samsung was hobbled by software program that was born within the days when telephones had been plastic toys.

Fifteen years of spec enhancements and unhealthy software program

Over the subsequent 15 years, Samsung would observe the identical sample. It could aspire to beat Apple when it comes to specs and {hardware} options. It could win on paper. It could launch telephones with increasingly more.

First we obtained telephones with bigger shows. We obtained a stylus in-built, regardless that all of us knew styli had been useless. We obtained extra cameras, zoom cameras, then house cameras. We obtained glass that curved, then glass that folds. Options upon options. No enchancment to the software program.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 side angled closed

Samsung could make telephones that fold in half however not good software program (Picture credit score: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

In all these years, Samsung by no means made its software program higher, not higher than Apple. We heard about each superlative spec, each clock-beating feat, however as a lot as reviewers griped and complained about unhealthy, complicated, and overwrought software program, Samsung by no means budged. It by no means improved considerably.

Samsung was in a position to surrender shiny plastic telephones, detachable batteries, house buttons, and all the things else, simply to beat the iPhone. In some way, it by no means cared sufficient about bettering its software program. Or else, it by no means thought beating Apple at software program can be attainable.

Perhaps Apple is profitable as a result of … it is higher?!

There are a lot of the explanation why Apple has the large market share it claims, and Samsung lags far behind within the US. I’d say that Apple merely makes a superior product. The iPhone, and I imply each iPhone from the least to the greatest iPhone, is best than the Samsung Galaxy S24. Until you’re shopping for the best possible Galaxy S24 Extremely, you’re shopping for an inferior cellphone. 

The reason being software program. Apple’s iOS 17 software program isn’t simply higher, it’s a complete expertise. The options and the {hardware} and the software program all work collectively seamlessly. Generally it works so properly it might be scary.

iPhone 14 Pro with purple contact poster on screen for author

Admit it, iOS 17 simply seems cooler than something from Samsung (Picture credit score: Future / Philip Berne)

Samsung’s Galaxy telephones are good despite the software program, simply barely. Its greatest Extremely telephones are so filled with helpful options that we should forgive the horrible interface, clogged menus, and overwhelming house screens. Nevertheless, in the event you don’t discover these options helpful, or in the event you by no means discover these options in any respect, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Extremely gained’t be a cellphone you get pleasure from, not like the iPhone.

Regardless of the Justice Division decides to do about Apple, I hope Samsung turns a blind eye, as a result of its issues don’t have anything to do with Apple’s market energy. Samsung has had the identical issues for years, and if it expects sympathy for falling to date behind, it should repair its horrible software program first.

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