The Mobile 15: Our picks for the most innovative companies

14 Comments

Samsung Electronics

CEO: Oh-Hyun Kwon

Number of employees: 221,726

The business:

Samsung Electronics is a highly diversified company, ranging from mobile devices to televisions to household appliances. The company is also one of the largest chip producers in the world: no. 2 behind Intel in 2011 as measured by revenues.

The backstory:

Samsung was always part of the mobile phone world, and in 2007, it took over the second sales spot worldwide, passing Motorola. However, this was just as Apple’s iPhone arrived and the shift from feature phones to smartphones began. Over the next several years, Samsung changed focus and started to see smartphone success with its first Galaxy S phone in 2010. Since then the company quickly moved through the ranks of top smartphone sales to oust Nokia for the no. 1 spot.

The innovation:

Much of Samsung’s Galaxy phone line has an iPhone-inspired look and feel, but the company has pushed beyond a simple copy with advances in both hardware and software. Early adoption of Near Field Communications (NFC) chips allow Samsung phones to be used for wireless payments. The use of a digital stylus — and smart software that takes advantage of it — for note-taking and image editing or creation is becoming more prevalent in Samsung’s mobile products. The company also sensed an early trend for large, high-resolution displays on smartphones, blending the lines between handsets and connected tablets.

The plan:

Samsung clearly has struggled in the courts. A judge recently found that the company had infringed on a number of Apple’s patents and ordered it to pay damages of $1.05 billion. However, Samsung shows no signs of backing off its push for advancements in hardware and software, particularly where rivals have not. Larger but still portable smartphone and advanced stylus software will continue to keep Samsung near the top of the smartphone market.

—KCT

14 Comments

Jim M

Including Nokia and **not** Qualcomm renders your list laughable, and from the entire staff to boot ? No need reading any further and further questions the value of anything Gigaom.com?

Jim M

DJ

With Windows 8 just around the corner its bizarre that Microsoft didn’t make the list.

Alphonse

Alcatel – Lucent and Nokia? You’ve got to be kidding me…Why not add RIM and MySpace too..

Surya Narayanan

Sadly you have not looked at the emerging markets hard enough. You would have found very interesting examples including Safaricom’s m-pesa which is by the larger than Western Union Money Transfer. Please look to create a more inclusive list..

mobithinking1

It would have been good to consider the social impact of innovations. There are so many innovative mobile companies out there, but if they don’t make people’s lives better then do they really answer the “so what?” test. M-PESA is a great example of a mobile innovation that has changed millions of people’s lives and is helping to create a vibrant mobile ecosystem. Its influence can be seen in every mobile wallet/banking/payments initiative the world over.
If you don’t know M-PESA, read this: http://mobithinking.com/country-guides-home/guide-mobile-web-kenya

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