When it comes to Android, there’s only one name you can “currently” take: Samsung. But it looks like Samsung lost interest in innovation after Huawei was banned while outpacing Android updates for Galaxy devices.
Huawei was banned in 2019, and since then the Chinese tech giant has been steadily losing the smartphone market due to lack of chipsets and Google apps.
Although the company continues to push to make a comeback to its home turf, the global market is still in a slump. The vacuum created by Huawei is being filled by various smartphone companies including Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, etc.
Prior to the US ban, Huawei was recording double-digit growth in the global smartphone market. The growth of the rocket rise is strongly contributed by the former subsidiary – Honor.
Around this time, Huawei reached new heights as an Android device hub, leaving Samsung behind in the second quarter of 2020.
According to Counterpoint and Canalys’ Smartphone Shipment Market Share Report for the second quarter of 2020, Huawei shipped over 54.8 million devices, while Samsung shipped 54.2 million. With this figure, Huawei beat Samsung for the first time for the first place.
As the ban begins to take effect, Huawei’s smartphone sales begin to decline due to low production and slow sales in the absence of basic Android services and Google apps.
After that, the company continues to see negative numbers in the chart, which knocked it out of the top 5 smartphone vendors for a year in a row.
However, this was an “opportunity” that Samsung might be looking for. The result of this whole scenario is a big market share void left by the Chinese tech maker, ready to be grabbed by Apple, Samsung and other Chinese companies.
Android and Samsung:
Yes! Android is an area that is not limited to Samsung as there are Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo and others. However, Android is currently showing interest in Samsung and there is a clear bias that you can see Google is doing with other phone makers.
Of course, Samsung is the market leader and largest natural distributor of Android and Google services. So why wouldn’t Google side with Samsung?
But it is clear that Samsung is gifted with this first position and its current prowess is unwavering even without new innovations.
Let’s review in brief:
In 2020, Samsung launched the S20 series and Note 20 series. These phones were equipped with cutting-edge large sensor technology, 64MP periscope space zoom and 108MP camera. On the other hand, Huawei was the first to launch Periscope Zoom with Huawei P30 Pro in 2019.
There was nothing unique about these Samsung devices from a design standpoint. However, these phones offer additional Android software support*.
Next, the Samsung S21 series was a design overhaul in terms of the camera system. The module is now linked to the frame, which looks ok but the rest of the specs remain the same. In 2021, Samsung killed off the Note series and brought foldable phones into the second-half flagship slot with Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3.
This year, this company launched the S22 series with the inclusion of an Ultra model that fills the shoes of the Note phone. How? The company has retained the design language of S21 and S21 Plus in the S22 and S22 Plus models.
Meanwhile, Samsung focused on the S22 Ultra and buffed it with plenty of specs on paper, and the failure of the Exynos chipset failed to impress consumers. While there were many consumers who went crazy due to the bugs generated from Exyno’s side.
Moreover, the Fold 4 and the Flip 4 are almost the same devices that shipped in 2021. Still, the only thing Samsung broke new ground was “more” Android updates.
One UI and Android:
Since 2020, Samsung and Android have increased their collaboration and partnership. This pushed Android further towards Samsung.
Earlier this year, Samsung confirmed to offer 4 years of Android (major) and 5 years of security updates. To some extent, that’s even more than Google’s own Pixel devices.
Among the numbers, Samsung’s Android-based software – One UI goes without major changes. There are no new improvements in One UI after Android 10. We are talking about animations, speed, smoothness, battery consumption, UI and every aspect you can imagine.
Even though we could call it copycat or steal, Apple has its own way of getting features from Android and mastering it with new innovations like Dynamic Island which is something unique even though it’s Android inspired.
Even with the latest – One UI 5.0, Samsung has kept One UI as it was with One UI 4.1, which is insane as it sounds.
EMUI and Harmony OS:
After the ban, Huawei jumped into the research lab and launched HarmonyOS in 2019, the company introduced the P30 and Mate 20 series the same year. Both have a different design and come with immense software and hardware capabilities like Kirin 980.
These phones made a remarkable impact in the global market and won the top rated phones of the year.
Even under the ban and out of GMS, Huawei launched the P40 series and the Mate 40 series. Both of these phones are not equipped with Android services, but they are the beast on their own and the design of these two flagships is beyond that of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Note 20 Ultra.
You mean foldable? Yes, Huawei also offers different types of foldables, even more than Samsung, including inward, outward, and rollover.
In the shadow of the ban and without 5G, Huawei has also launched some massive devices – the P50 and Mate 50 series which have truly innovative features in the aspects of cameras, software and design.
The difference in action came after the introduction of HarmonyOS 2 for smartphones. In 2021 alone, Huawei upgraded over 200 million devices to HarmonyOS, including over 100 models and it is one of the largest major software update rollouts in the world.
That’s not all, Huawei has gone a step ahead and loaded HarmonyOS with many new features that are way ahead of Android and even iOS. These include app snippets, new widgets, large folders and the almighty ‘Super Device’.
Want to know more about innovation?
Huawei has made HarmonyOS so compatible that it could even run on a 128KB memory device. You can imagine the convenience and compatibility this brings to consumers.
Do you think we’ll stop it here? NOPE!
With the introduction of EMUI 12, Huawei introduced HarmonyOS UI and installed it among global Huawei smartphone users. The result is much better than the latest generation of EMUI and older phones – the Mate 10 and P20 series were also able to install this new software.
Despite its unknown Android base, Huawei still applies new software tactics for outdated phones better than Samsung.
For more than a decade, Samsung has achieved a lot and it is commendable, but in the last 2 years, Samsung has become just a word that lacks new features or innovations. While Samsung would become a second-hand iPhone in the absence of competition from Huawei, backed by buddy Google for unrestricted Android access.