LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – Every year Samsung attends CES it seems like they try to guess what Apple is going to do with TV. One year they announced a TV that has Netflix and other apps built in. The next they included swappable processors and voice controls.
This year, Samsung’s bet is that if Apple ever decides to make a TV it will be able to predict what you want to watch. It will help you find out where to buy an actor’s clothes. And it might come in a soccer goal shaped frame?
Well, the soccer goal frame is just Samsung putting their own pizzazz on a product rather than a prediction of what Apple might do. It’s weird and horrible but still has touches of true beauty. It encapsulates Samsung perfectly.
Here’s a company that knows how to manufacture high quality displays better than anyone, but they don’t know how to design a perfect TV for humans. They’re able to see trends and quickly copy and improve on them, but they’re unable to predict where consumers want them to innovate.
Samsung has gotten really good at copying Apple’s smartphone, tablets, and laptops, but when it comes to TVs, Samsung’s on its own. So rather than designing a simple flatscreen TV with easy-to-use features the way Apple would make it, Samsung gives customers disfigured products that are attached to floating cases and packed with features that no one would use – like a refrigerator with Evernote.
Rather than thinking about whether or not a product actually makes sense, Samsung worries whether you’ll be able to tweet from your ice dispenser.
Until Apple actually enters the TV market, Samsung will be running around directionless. So rather than waiting, Samsung has chosen to just throw TV software features at the public and hope a few of them stick. You can get S-Recommendations, and voice navigation. You can add apps. You can get a quad-core processor. You can get a floating TV stand and with a TV that tells you where to buy Don Draper’s clothes. You can even get a Samsung TV with “dual view” technology that lets two people put on glasses that will show them two completely different videos so they can bond while watching separate shows together.
It’s amazing. It’s madness. It’s what you get when Samsung can’t just follow Apple’s lead. And to the cynic in me, it’s beautiful.