Strange Days: Google + Samsung

First came the news of Google and Samsung doing an extensive patent cross-licensing deal.

Then came the rumor of Google planning to sunset its Nexus hardware.

Now there’s word of Samsung being willing to throttle back on its proprietary additions to Android.

And on top of that Lenovo planning to buy Google’s hardware business. Same-day update: Confirmed by Google.

This is a huge earthquake.

For all intents and purposes, Samsung “owns” Android through the massive marketshare it has earned by flooding the market with its phones and tablets.

Google couldn’t keep ignoring that.

Nor could Google ignore the countless number of dollars Samsung has spent — and is willing to spend — to sell its Android devices. It’s placed dedicated Samsung areas in Best Buy, for example.

And it’s also extended Android via MultiView and its near app-burying Magazine UX.

I can’t help but to think that Samsung has gained Most Favored Nation status with Google and Android.

Dumping the Nexus brand for “pure” Play devices is a bone to its other large Android partners — such as HTC, Asus, and others — allowing them to be “blessed” by Google approval. But only when they use the flavor of Android that Google favors. Yeah, that’s a bone. It basically further downgrades whatever proprietary additions they’ve made to Android (such as HTC’s Blinkfeed).

This new cooperation between Google and Samsung leaves many unanswered questions.

It’s not in Samsung’s best interest to dump MultiView and its Magazine UX unless Google has replacements for them.

Could it be that Google has finally seen the light of adding multiwindowing of some kind to Android itself?

As for Samsung dumping its own media stores … well, that makes overall sense for the market itself. Samsung could not have been selling much media and having multiple stores on their devices — their own, plus Google’s, plus whatever other arrangements they had — is only confusing to customers.

Tizen stills lurks out there. But as soon as I heard of the initial agreement between Google and Samsung, I immediately thought Samsung would throw Tizen under the bus. Despite the rumor of Tizen coming next month to Mobile World Congress, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tizen via Samsung suddenly disappears.

Does anyone out there aside from Microsoft and Nokia adherents see room for a third mobile operating system?

I don’t.

People have already made investments in either iOS or Android. And yes, while there’s still growth to be had in the mobile marketplace, I don’t think it’s going to shift in vast numbers from iOS and Android. I think iOS and Android will create that growth, not anything else.

I have to wonder what impact this will have on all the tablet makers in China. Intel has been adding them to its CPU camp. And Intel is a Tizen partner. Would Intel try to get them to move to Tizen, or would Intel be satisfied just adding them as CPU customers?

Very strange days.

Same-day update: And on top of everything else, this: Samsung devours over 60 Carphone Warehouse stores in major European push


Filed under Android

5 responses to “Strange Days: Google + Samsung

  1. Keishon

    Well, I sold my Nexus 7. Not that you asked but I plan to stick with Apple, too, for the long run. Admittedly, you can’t ignore Samsung since they are a fixture in Best Buy stores and many others but I’m just not tempted. I know this is all off topic, my apologies.

    • mikecane

      Huh. Why did you get rid of the N7?

      • Keishon

        I really LIKED N7 but ended up replacing it with a competitor that came out. I thought I wanted to go all Android at one point with the phone and tablet but changed my mind. *shrug* And Mantano Reader – an app I loved is now available on iOs. SO, there you have it.

  2. Keishon

    I must rescind my endorsement of Mantano Reader iOS version due to a certain feature that you cannot cut off: page turn animation.

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