It was back in April that we learned that Samsung would be taking Chat On, their proprietary chat client, cross platform. Samsung, then believed to be one of the only smartphone OEM’s that were making a profit in hardware. Almost immediately, the BlackBerry naysayers took to forums stating that this was the end of BBM. The giant Samsung, with it’s Chat On app, would destroy BBM.
Looks like they were wrong doesn’t it?
Eight months later, Chat On is done. Samsung, it turns out, is not the profit machine that it was thought. In fact, Forbes has even taken to giving Samsung that all too familiar title of “beleaguered mobile manufacturer”. Forbes seems to think this is a sign of bad things to come for Samsung.
The closure of ChatOn damages the South Korean company by removing distinctiveness, diluting the lock-in to Samsung’s cloud, and destroying consumer confidence.
Starting with distinctiveness, every Android smartphone manufacturer needs to stamp its own identity onto the handset. Why should a user buy a Samsung Galaxy over a Sony Xperia, an HTC One, or any of the other myriad handsets? Design and hardware is one area, but there a slow trend towards a homogenous look with Android handsets. That leaves software.
I agree it’s a sign. But an entirely different sign than what the Forbes article is pointing to. I agree with the above quote in one aspect, that with so many manufacturers making android devices, they do need to differentiate themselves from one another. However, with the direction that Google is taking with Android, all devices will soon be the same in terms of interface. The spec war has basically met it’s end. Not due to a lack of advancements, but because the spec war has made it nearly impossible for OEM’s to make a profit on handsets. Software will make a difference. But Chat On? No. I’m sorry. That won’t be the differentiator.
You see, Forbes has seemingly forgot one pretty major bit of recent news. Samsung has partnered with BlackBerry. We are still waiting to hear what all this will entail, but what do we know? BlackBerry will be able to do something that Samsung was unable to do themselves, which is secure their Android phones. And I have a feeling there will be much more to come from this, and the end of Chat On, may just be a sign of what’s to come. Because, quite honestly, why do you need Chat On, when you have BBM?