Good things generally happen when two innovative companies collaborate, as is the case with Samsung, which yesterday unveiled its highly anticipated new Galaxy S4 smartphone, and fellow Most Innovative Companies honoree SwiftKey.
SwiftKey, which designs popular third-party keyboard apps for Android, partnered with Samsung to bring its powerful, predictive technology to the S4's on-screen keyboard, meaning the S4's native keyboard will learn to predict what users will type. Its keyboard tech is one of several flashy new additions to the S4, including a handwriting recognition feature also seen in the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet.
Samsung has long been known for chasing Apple's dust in the consumer electronics space. (On our 2013 list, the company is #17 to Apple's #13.) But it's also known for its practice of "focused innovation"—the laser-sharp focus on improving what it knows how to do, and imitating what it doesn't. Building on the precedent set by the iPhone—rather than building something completely different—has allowed Samsung to turn itself into the worldwide smartphone market leader. Samsung's ability to improve upon competitors' products where appropriate—functional native keyboards, for one—is what will keep it competitive in an industry where "different" has yet to captivate consumers. (We're looking at you, BlackBerry and Nokia.)