Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Google reins in Samsung's Android aspirations

In Q1 of last year, we reported that Google feared it had created a monster in terms of the dominant Android OEM, Samsung. After witnessing the changes that Samsung wrought in the UI of its upcoming Galaxy Note Pro (Magazine UX), Google has decided enough is enough. The company, Recode wrote on Wednesday, is reining in its biggest Android partner.

Not only does Google want Samsung to stick more to the homegrown Android UI, it wants the Korean giant to stop shipping apps that duplicate standard Android apps and clog up the internal storage of the device. Does anyone recall how much angst occurred among end users when they discovered just how much internal storage was available on a 16GB device.

These device-clogging apps, like S this and S that, ChatOn, and WatchOn, may get the axe going forward, although it's unclear exactly which ones will be culled from Samsung's ROM image.

Earlier this week, Google and Samsung announced a patent cross-licensing deal. These additional changes were most likely part of the meetings, too. One source, speaking to Recode, said that relationship between Google and Samsung has gone through “a huge change, a sea change in the last few weeks.”

Exact details are not confirmed, but sources with knowledge of the discussions say that not only will Samsung consider ditching or altering its Magazine UX interface for future devices, new Samsung devices will focus on Google's own software for things such as music, movies, and more rather than the OEM's own in-house-developed apps.

It's unclear if Google gave Samsung any concessions to get this deal done, but in the past Samsung has built Nexus devices for Google (Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 10), so perhaps we will see more smartphones from the vendor (the Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones were built for Google by LG).

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