Is Samsung More Clever Than Apple?

Admittedly, one would look at that question, think about the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, and think not.

Admittedly, one would look at that question, think about the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, and think not.

And were Apple to make major home appliances as Samsung does, one might have additional confidence that its equipment would probably do a better job of keeping clothes clean on a regular basis, something that Samsung has also been going through the ringer about.

Apple had reportedly been working on a car. The code name: “Project Titan.” There were all manner of auto people reportedly working in Cupertino, from companies ranging from Ford to Mercedes. In its June issue Motor Trend did a story that included the work of a group of Art Center designers imagining what the Apple Car would look like.

Harman

Everyone was anxiously anticipating what sort of electric vehicle that Apple could pull off.

It was a big deal. Suddenly car fan boys and Apple fan boys could find something to agree on.

Then in late September it was reported that Apple was going to buy McLaren, the British supercar producer, a manufacturer that is as tech-oriented as any company anywhere from Detroit to Cupertino.

But then October the word was that Apple was laying off engineers who were working on the car. Perhaps, it seemed, the idea isn’t to make a physical car, but the software that would connect the car in a way that the iPhone connects almost everyone who isn’t using a Samsung device.

Which brings us back to the Korean company.

Which is buying Harman International for $8-billion.

Harman is the company best-known for his home and mobile audio systems. Harman Kardon. Infinity. JBL. Mark Levinson. Revel. And so on. According to the company, “More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with Harman audio. . .” and, importantly for Samsung, “connected car services.”

That’s right. While the magnificent audio systems get a lion’s share of the attention, the company’s engineers have been working diligently at creating software and sensors and the like that can lead to automated driving capabilities. Harman has secured space on the ever-so-important instrument cluster and it has been working to increase its share of space: beyond the audio head unit there can be all manner of functions to make a smarter, more connected car included.

Now while this may not lead to a “Samsung Car” the way there was thought to be an “Apple Car,” Samsung from the time the ink is dry on the acquisition documents is physically in cars.

Yes, there is Apple CarPlay showing up in cars at an ever-increasing rate.

But now Samsung is tied directly into the vehicle’s physical network.

And as it works toward increasing autonomous capabilities for cars, it has a revenue stream from all of those audio systems that Harman has created.