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Samsung Aims to be First-to-Market with Wireless Charging and Take the Apple-IBM Alliance Head On


After Apple iPhone 6 sales annihilated Samsung's profits in Q4, Samsung's executive teams know all too well that their new Galaxy S6 has to hit a home run at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. Their special event is scheduled for Sunday March 1, 2015. We've read about and have even seen photos of what the Galaxy S6 could look like and it's what some would call an iPhone 6-clone. We also reported on some of the heavy specs that could be on the way for the Galaxy phones. The big one will be wireless charging. Today, we're hearing about another leg of the Samsung story for the March event, and it directly relates Samsung's weak spot: software.


During Apple's latest Financial Conference Call event held on January 27 we heard Tim Cook talk about how the IBM Partnership is strong. Cook noted that in December the Alliance delivered the first 10 applications. He added that another 12 apps would be released this quarter including 3 new industries: Healthcare, Energy and Utilities and Industrial Products. He further noted that the alliance is on track to have over 100 apps by year end. And lastly Cook added that well over 130 major companies are expected to adopt the MobileFirst system using iDevices in 2015.


In November we posted a report titled "BlackBerry and Samsung Form Alliance to Challenge Apple-IBM." The focus of that alliance was about security for the enterprise and mobile devices for the enterprise more specifically. To strengthen Samsung's challenge against Apple and IBM, the latest rumor is that Samsung and Microsoft have worked together to provide new Galaxy S6 customers with a free Office 365 subscription along with other apps like OneNote, OneDrive and Skype being pre-loaded.


With Microsoft's Lumia smartphone not getting any traction in 2014, Microsoft is determined to get on board with Android in a big way and Samsung will be the first smartphone vendor to benefit from working with Microsoft's enterprise teams. Yet how that is supposed to compete with the depth of industry specific apps coming from the Apple-IBM alliance is beyond me. It's just another cheap Samsung gimmick. It might interest some students who already favor Samsung devices over the iPhone to begin with, but that's not the same thing.


Lastly, while we've already reported that Samsung was likely to be the first smartphone vendor to introduce wireless charging, the Korean Press confirmed it yesterday. Korea's DeligIT reported that "the new Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S Edge have built-in wireless charging for the first time in the world." They were told by a Samsung executive that "Our new products will be wirelessly charged without a case," which is the current way of wirelessly charging Android phones.


The Korean report further noted that "For wireless charging, reception (Rx) and transmitter modules (Tx) are needed. Until now, the Rx module has been mounted inside a separate case, while the Tx module being built into the smartphone. So for wireless charging, consumers had to purchase two accessories, in addition to the smartphone. The additional cost for separate accessories has been a major barrier to the popularization of wireless charging. Phones of Samsung Electronics have also supported wireless charging since the Galaxy S3 but failed to receive favorable responses from consumers for this problem."


So Samsung has built the wireless charging function into both their Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S Edge smartphones to complement their unibody design with inseparable batteries.


We posted a report back in 2013 titled "Samsung's Galaxy S3 Battery Problems now Plaguing the S4." Apparently Samsung wants to avoid any possible new battery problems marring their S6 and so the "inseparable battery" is the workaround to that problem while looking like a leader by providing a superior wireless charging solution.


Samsung has been working on a wireless charging system for years. We covered some of their work on this front in a detailed report in 2013 titled "The Cordless Home is now in Reach with Magnetic Resonance."


In the end, Samsung will endeavor to revive their Galaxy smartphone line-up in March in the hopes of stopping the profit bleed that their mobile division has been experiencing for the last couple of quarters. Samsung's longer term foldable smartphone solutions that may be able to breathe some new life into their smartphone line-up is still 12-18 months out at minimum. So whatever Samsung comes out with in March is unlikely to stop the iPhone 6 from crushing them again this quarter.


Androiders who are in the market for a new Galaxy smartphone will no doubt welcome the upgraded Galaxy phones, but the noise of a Samsung-Microsoft or Samsung-BlackBerry alliance taking on the Apple-IBM alliance is just empty marketing banter without a plan. Copycats love screaming at the mirror but little else comes of it.


As far as Samsung introducing the world's first wireless charging phone, well, I actually wish them all the best. I do. I'll be cheering them on in fact because Apple is working on a master plan that is likely underway at this very moment. Intel as you know is vowing that they'll be introducing their wireless/cordless solution in Q4 with their new processor Skylake. Intel also announced that Skylake-based laptops will be using wireless technology called Rezence for charging, and other wireless technologies for communication with peripherals.


So with Samsung rushing in and Intel coming on board with wireless charging this fall, Apple is likely not that far behind. If Samsung is able to competitively get under Apple's skin just a little and help get Apple's various teams fired up to get their solution out a little faster, then I'm all for it. That's what real competition is supposed to do.


However shallow Samsung's victory is to be, it'll be short lived and that's the fun of it for some of us. Samsung jumped up and down and got the press all excited about the Galaxy Gear smartwatch being the world's first smartwatch blah-blah-blah. And within 90 days of the Apple Watch's launch, Samsung's Gear will be flushed down the drain of history without anyone caring: Gear what?


I don't know about you, but I'm starting to rather enjoy Samsung's copycat syndrome play out so publicly. It's like playing a great video game sequel like Call of Duty. It may be a different war in a different country with a new commander. Yet in the end, your side wins and we get to do it all over again the year after. 


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