This is a Samsung’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing without a rival or an opponent. Luckily, there are plenty of those to go around nowadays, as veterans LG, HTC or Sony seem to be getting backup from rookies OnePlus, Oppo or Huawei.
Rookies when it comes to engaging in the big fights, the big leagues, because Huawei for one has been around since 1987. The past few years have seen the Chinese become bolder and bolder in their bid to capture mobile market share and the freshly unveiled Ascend P7 may be exactly what the doctor ordered to fend off chronic Samsungitis.
Meanwhile, fledgling OnePlus and Oppo probably don’t hold the resources to really eat away at Samsung’s adoration at the moment, but they can clearly establish the foundation on which to build on a bright future with their remarkable One and Find 7.
At the end of the day though, the million-dollar question is which of the three underdogs shall rise from the underground to take things to the mainstream and, possibly, emerge as Samsung’s number one Android heavyweight title contender? Today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow.
OnePlus One – the dark horse
- Incredible bang for buck, starting at $300 with top-of-the-line hardware;
- Shrewd marketing and advertising department, focused on unconventional publicity stunts (some smart, some not so much), as well as cheap yet profitable buzz-building techniques;
- Um, did I mention top-of-the-line hardware? I really should mention top-of-the-line hardware. Oh, I did? Then let me detail: quad-core 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 3,100 mAh battery, 13 MP Sony Exmor camera, 5.5-inch Full HD screen.
- No gimmicks, no BS, no fingerprint sensors, heart rate monitors, otherworldly display pixel counts (which only otherworldly beings can detect), just specs and features you actually need, can use, feel and notice.
- Location, location, location. I mean, distribution, distribution, distribution. Sure, we get you’re barely starting off, OnePlus, but your invitation-only sale model signals you’re probably a decade or so behind Samsung’s distribution juggernaut.
- Obscure name, no tradition, no history, no track record. Yup, believe it or not, some Android users care about things like tradition or history.
The bottom line: As things stand, OnePlus, led to fame by former Oppo VP Pete Lau, is definitely meant for greatness. Just not today. Not tomorrow either. Let’s hope they can keep it up for several years and reconvene then. For now, you have nothing to worry about, Samsung.
Oppo Find 7 – we’re young, we’re hip, we’re good, get used to it
- Essentially the same top-notch specs as the OnePlus One, with an edge in screen resolution, standard built-in storage and a microSD card slot. What’s that about Quad HD not meaning anything? Well, it doesn’t to me and it doesn’t to you, but some folks see numbers and that’s it. End of story, the Find 7 has an extra hook.
- An increasingly esteemed reputation in the industry, no blemishes on the company’s track record, healthy growth in its domestic mobile market of late.
- Solid financial status and, presumably, a richer marketing arm allowing Find 7’s promotion both via unconventional methods (viral videos, social media) and traditional publicity (billboards, TV ad campaigns).
- Though clearly better rooted in Android ground than OnePlus, Oppo remains an inexperienced young buck of the mobile décor compared to Samsung.
- Inconsistent pricing strategy, as all of Find 7’s predecessors started out fairly cheap, whereas the new guy costs a whopping $600 outright with 2K resolution. For anyone keeping tabs, that’s twice OnePlus One’s market value.
- Software. It’s not stock Android, it’s not CyanogenMod, it’s not even KitKat. Jelly Bean-based ColorOS? Skinning an aging copy of Google’s operating system is not the way to beat Samsung.
Bottom line: Maybe next year, Oppo, maybe next year.
Huawei Ascend P7 – a force to be reckoned with
- Reaching number three in global smartphone shipments while selling, what, 100, 1,000, 10,000 devices stateside a year is no easy feat and there’s no telling what Huawei is capable of once it takes North America seriously.
- Oh, hello there, Ascend P7. What’s that, Huawei is yet to confirm US availability for the 5 incher? You just wait and see. I mean, come on, if not now, then when? The P7 is a great package, supports LTE networks, is relatively cheap, phenomenally slim and thin and, in a way, it looks basically like an iPhone with Android. Every American’s wet dream, am I right?
- Let’s stay on the design a little while longer, shall we? No, not the iPhone cloning part. The dimensions. 139.8 mm long, 68.8 mm wide, 6.5 mm (!!!) thick. 5-inch display. Tipping the scales at 124 grams. Not sure if there’s such a thing as perfection, but this might be it.
- When will Huawei learn building a slab of silicon from the ground up is simply not smart? Not when your latest, greatest homebrewed processor, this Kirin thingy, is only as punchy as Qualcomm’s yesteryear flagship, the Snapdragon 600. And that Emotion UI 2.3 is ugly as fudge.
- The whole spying scandal hasn’t fully blown over yet, which is probably why Huawei isn’t ready to share US availability details. Damn you, NSA.
Bottom line: I know the Ascend P7 doesn’t look like your common high-end contender, with a mediocre chip, “only” 2 GB RAM and a mid-sized battery, but if we-know-who lets Huawei spread their wings, you’re likely to see exactly why the spec wars are so silly.
Now, as for our million-dollar question, I’ll abstain and instead pass the mic to you. Considering all the above, who do you think Samsung should fear the most?