We’ve been hearing talk that Samsung is looking to release its own cloud service, currently known as ‘S-Cloud’, in order to compete with Apple’s popular iCloud. If the rumour turns out to be true and if Samsung is able to provide a solid cloud-based product then this is certainly good news for Samsung owners.
So far we’re not too clear about just what kind of stuff S-Cloud will offer. It could be a music and video service, or perhaps support photo streams. There are a myriad of things a new cloud service from Samsung could bring to its users.
However, one problem with a manufacturer-specific cloud like this is that it will likely only work on Samsung devices and desktops. While that may sound fine when you compare it to something like iCloud, which only works on iDevices and offers a more limited service to PCs than Macs, it’s a bit different when you’re talking about a relatively smaller range like Samsung’s. More comparable would be something like putting Android up against iOS, rather than Samsung vs iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.
If Samsung’s cloud is only available on Samsung products then it will likely be a more scaled-down operation in terms of size. This does offer the benefit that it will cost Samsung less to maintain and thus could allow for a more in-depth service. On the other hand less devices means that you’re appealing to a smaller audience and as such returns may be lower, hindering Samsung’s ability and motivation to offer a premium cloud.
Of course all of this is purely academic right now and only time can tell what Samsung will bring out and what kind of service it will prove to be. The main thing we’re concerned over isn’t so much the idea of specifically a Samsung cloud, but with this increasing trend towards forced brand-loyalty in the tech market. While we have no problem with customers sticking with trusted companies or manufacturers that they feel have provided them with great service and products, what we don’t like is the idea of being obliged to stick with that brand even if you feel like a better product has come out from a different source.
Using the current iCloud setup as an example, you may have an iPhone and a Mac at home and now you’re looking to add a tablet to your collection. Where you may once have considered grabbing yourself an Android tablet you’re now much more likely to go with an iPad because of your pre-existing presence in iCloud. Syncing all of your products together under one cloud sees a great many more benefits than if you went with a more diverse option.
Another example is a person who loves iDevices, but doesn’t want a Mac. This customer can receive the benefits of iCloud to some extent, but will find a lot of the functionality is lost to them simply because they went with a different kind of desktop.
If you do decide to go with unifying your devices you’ll end up with all of your iDevices and your Mac synced flawlessly over iCloud. What happens if you want to switch handsets once your phone plan is up? You might find during your 24 month contract that the iPhone isn’t suiting all of your needs and want to switch to Windows Phone or Android. But now you have a Mac and an iPad both hooked up to iCloud. You already bought the iPad over an Android variant for the cloud service, so switching phones now would make that decision pointless.
The problem would be the same if you replaced iDevices with Android, Windows Phone or even just specifically Samsung gadgets. You can essentially choose to stick with one manufacturer and maintain a unified and easy experience across all of your technology, or go for a more fragmented experienced with disjointed gadgetry that refuses to play nice with its competing brands. At the end of the day it’s almost as if you’re being punished for wanting a wider range of technology in your life.
We don’t really expect operating systems like Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android to get along when it comes to the cloud. We doubt we’ll ever see proper iCloud integration on an Android device or vice-versa, but when manufacturers within an OS start making their own clouds our brows begin to crinkle.
Android and Windows Phone are both great platforms that offer a wide range of functionality. The phones within each of these platforms work well together, as they’re all part of the same big OS family. But when you start segregating each manufacturer within an OS in to different camps, each with their own cloud services and fan-base, then the OS as a whole begins to lose cohesion.
Not only does each brand of phones now have a barrier between it and the rest, but the users who own said devices may now find it harder to move to a handset outside of their current manufacturer. If you’ve spent 2 years setting up your Samsung cloud just the way you want it, you’re probably less likely to consider an HTC or LG device, even if the hypothetical devices in question are superior to the Samsung option. In this scenario sticking with Samsung means that you don’t have to start on a new cloud service from scratch.
As we’ve stated many times in the past we like customers to have as many choices as possible. We try our best to remind consumers that there are always other viable options out there and just because your current experience is good that doesn’t mean you won’t be more suited to a different product next time around. Trying out new products is a great way to mix things up and keep your technological experiences fresh. It also keeps manufacturers from getting lazy, as they have to keep providing items of the highest possible quality in order to ensure they’ll maintain your patronage.
The kind of forced brand-loyalty that we’re beginning to see puts those walls that we strive to knock down straight back up again by simply making it too much of a hassle to switch between brands and refresh your tech life.
We admit that we’re overreacting a little and that right now things aren’t really that bad. But we have noticed this little trend to be on the rise and it does have us moderately concerned. What if a customer doesn’t want to stick with Samsung, or HTC, or Apple for their next device? Variety really is the spice of life and while a lot of folk are fine to stick with the same familiar products others like to mix things up a little every now and then. We’d prefer our choices to be limited only by what we do and do not want, rather than the lengths we’re willing or unwilling to go to in order to set ourselves up with a new cloud network and be stuck with a more fragmented device experience.