Michael Simon, writing for PCWorld:
When Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 20 earlier this month, the biggest surprise wasn’t the faster screen, smoother S Pen, or more powerful processor. It was the promise of three “generations” of Android updates, a first for the company.
Now Samsung is expanding that guarantee to even more phones. While the company originally said the guarantee would only apply to its highest-end “S, N, and Z series devices starting with the S10,” Samsung has added its latest A-series phones to that list, so the Galaxy A51 and A71 will be sure to get Android 13 when it arrives in 2022.
This is very good news for owners of recent Samsung smartphones, and for future customers. When it comes to Android updates, Samsung now has the same promise than Google with its Pixel phones: 3 years of updates. Outside of the cameras, this guarantee is one of Google’s most important selling points when it comes to Pixel phones, so this announcement from Samsung will definitely matter, especially for the very successful A-series.
From a distance, it seems that Samsung is embracing its commitment to Android — on phones as least — as well as its relationship with Microsoft. Outside of the obvious technical perks of working closely with the two giant American companies, you may wonder: “Why now? Why not last year?”
I believe this commitment to Google Android is a new marketing tool in the Android smartphone world, dominated by Chinese manufacturers, where Huawei, after its “breakup” with Google, is now struggling to convince buyers outside of China that buying a Huawei phones is OK when it comes to future software updates, and availability of apps without access to the Play Store.
Samsung, after seeing its marketshare slowly getting eaten by Chinese companies like Huawei, BBK, Xiaomi, and others, now has the advantage of being able to tell its customers: “with us, you don’t have to worry,” and I believe this is a tremendous advantage for Samsung outside of China, where Samsung is barely existing anyway.
Brilliant analysis on the App Store situation, in the light of the Epic’s lawsuit, from Ben Thompson:
This lawsuit is also a reminder that Apple has a lot to lose. While the most likely outcome is an Apple victory […] every decision the company makes that favors only itself, and not society generally, is an invitation to examine just how important the iPhone is to, well, everything.
Indeed, this is the most frustrating aspect of this debate: Apple consistently acts like a company peeved it is not getting its fair share, somehow ignoring the fact it is worth nearly $2 trillion precisely because the iPhone matters more than anything.
This whole lawsuit and App Store situation is much more complicated than it seems on the surface, yet Thompson once again manages to explain the situation very well, while making his observations crystal clear and well documented; subscribing to Stratechery was hands down one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2020.
I don’t know how this whole thing will end, but I’m pretty sure none of it would have happened if Apple — anticipating how the ways people consume digital goods would change — had lowered its percentage of commission from 30% to, say 5% for in-app purchases, 8% for subscriptions (0% for the first payment, and 3% after the 1st year), and something south of 15% for regular app purchases.
Alan Gibson, in a short but astute blog post about how Google more or less owns the web as its own platform:
Chrome’s ability to dictate web standards will only get stronger over time. Safari and Firefox have been able to apply some shame to Chrome on things like disabling third-party cookies, but soon it’ll just be Apple left with a voice.
But Google doesn’t even need Chrome to dictate standards since it controls the Web’s front door. AMP, a technology no one asked for, is now on over 70% of all marketing websites for no other reason than Google said so.
I think on the contrary a lot of publishers asked for something like AMP. They had terrible and slow websites, no time or ressource to work on a new one, and Google gave them a simple solution on a gold platter: “use our technology and it will help you get more traffic from mobile devices,” an offer they couldn’t refuse really. This dependance on Google, both for traffic, technology, and money, cannot be good for media but here we are.
This blog post also reminded me of the existence of this excellent tweet.
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