The Next Apple-Samsung Battle: TVs

Dec 18, 2011
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The Next Apple-Samsung Battle: TVs

If you’ve been paying attention to the mobile market over the last several months, you know that Apple and Samsung are at each other’s throats over alleged patent infringement. And with lawsuits flying worldwide, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the war between the firms will spill over into next year.

The issue is that both Samsung and Apple are excelling at providing high-quality mobile products to customers. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are nearly universally beloved by users, and Samsung’s smartphone line and tablets are among the most celebrated in their respective markets. Simply put, Apple and Samsung are probably the two most impressive mobile device providers in the business.

But I don’t think those battles will end at the mobile market. In fact, I think next year, Apple and Samsung will be waging a new war in a new market: TVs.

According to the latest rumors, Apple is planning to launch a new television next year that would integrate iCloud and apps, and aim at eliminating the need for users to connect external set-top boxes (save for the DVR). And although the Apple TV will be priced quite high -- Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munsters says it could be twice as expensive as a comparable set -- I’m among the many folks who can’t wait to get my hands on it.

When Apple finally launches the set, it’ll be going head-to-head with Samsung, arguably the best HDTV maker in the business. Like Apple, Samsung sells its top sets -- the D8000 series -- at a premium, and backs that up with a host of desirable features, including outstanding picture quality, a built-in application store, and access to the Web via included Wi-Fi. What’s more, the company’s televisions are undoubtedly the best-looking televisions on store shelves.

Does that sound familiar? It should. By the sound of things, Samsung is currently doing much of what Apple has planned. And there is a good chance that, if the Apple TV takes off, we might start seeing the companies engage in a bitter battle for outright domination of that market.

[aquote]There are some Apple fans that say Samsung doesn't have a shot[/aquote]

Of course, there are some Apple fans that say Samsung doesn’t have a shot. After all, they say, Samsung has been facing difficulty taking Apple on in the mobile market, and to think things would be any different in the television space would be ridiculous.

But I’m not so sure I agree. The television market is much different from smartphones or tablets where people invest a few hundred bucks to get a new product every year. Plus, Samsung has a large installed base in the television market already, and is widely viewed as a leader in that space. That won’t suddenly change because Apple is coming around.

The way I see it, next year could be a big year for the television industry. And Apple and Samsung, vying for control of that space, will be gunning for each other. It should be very interesting to see which of those two companies will win out.


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