(Credit: Brian Bennett/CNET)
As you’d expect, today’s Apple WWDC keynote drew big crowds of Apple fans eager for hardware and software news. Yet, you might be surprised that even the most devout Android enthusiasts were watching along to see what the “competition” was doing.
After two hours crammed full of products and services, we came away with some wonderful stuff. What we didn’t get, though, is a new iPhone or any promise of when one might come. And while that’s surely disappointing for some, it opens the way for a sunny Android summer, dominated largely by Samsung.
Outside of Apple, there are few handset manufacturers able to garner such stratospheric buzz for the release of a new smartphone. Part of it has to do with Android’s sheer volume of handsets (there’s almost a new one every week), but also no other company has mastered Apple’s art of building hype. Samsung, however, is on to something. While nearly every other Android device generated just a bit of Internet buzz, Samsung’s Galaxy S III stands to generate iPhone levels of excitement.
Indeed, no other Android phones thus far has produced months of speculation and rumors or this level of enthusiasm. Sure, they were popular, but the Motorola Droid, the HTC Evo, and the first Android ever, the T-Mobile G1, didn’t exactly send people into a frenzy or the rumor mill into overtime.
Thanks to a unified brand and singular form factor across five major carriers, however, things look pretty rosy for the Galaxy S III. The handset, which features cutting-edge smartphone technology and a sprinkling of Samsung’s own innovation, will have people talking this summer just as they’ve been talking about it already for several months. And with the next iPhone not expected until fall, Samsung could steal away a number of iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 owners who are off their contract and waiting to upgrade.
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What’s more, as one of the biggest sponsors for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Samsung will be investing millions of dollars to show off its new baby. For consumers living in the United States, the timing of the event falls within days (or weeks) of the phone hitting various carriers. If done right, Samsung will have users flocking to their respective wireless provider, asking for “the one on TV.”
Consider also the silence from Samsung’s competitors. Of its two main competitors in the Android wars, Motorola has been nearly silent since the Droid Razr Maxx hit, and HTC hasn’t broken the bank rolling out the One X. Depending on what you believe, the One X might be the only handset worthy of knocking the crown from the Galaxy S III, but it’s only available with AT&T and Samsung is playing a better marketing game.
To really see Android’s response to Apple, we’ll have to wait for Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, which kicks off in two weeks. With Jelly Bean and a Nexus 7 tablet rumored for the three-day event, Google is poised to build on Android’s momentum. At the moment, however, nothing has as much momentum right now as the Galaxy S III. And until the next iPhone is a reality, I don’t see anything coming over the horizon that looks to get in Samsung’s way right now, including offerings from other Android handset makers.
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