Samsung vs. Google
Samsung is clearly emerging as the leading Android smartphone vendor, and is likely to dominate all Android phones in the coming year. This creates a new dynamic, which may not work out so well for Google (and Android).
Samsung is likely to start pushing Tizen phones soon, to try to differentiate itself from the Android clones that will ultimately depress Samsung’s margins. It is also likely to launch a Windows tablet, in competition to Google’s Nexus tablet (which Google chose to make with a Samsung competitor).
A Google-Samsung merger or strong alliance would have been a formidable competitor to Apple. But the more likely scenario is Google and Samsung as competitors, in the same way that Amazon is now basically competing against Google.
Samsung has become the most interesting wildcard in the industry that Apple competes in. How Samsung creates a differentiated smartphone product, and how Samsung leverages its smartphone position to gain traction in tablets is going to be fascinating to observe in 2013.