Samsung planning far-reaching Android software changes under Google pressure?
Samsung users are only all too aware that the software Samsung delivers on its Android devices can be a bit “heavy.” On top of the TouchWiz changes, you’ve got all of Samsung’s custom apps – and together, this adds up to a ton of stuff; just look at how Samsung fared in that phone-free-space breakdown we examined last week. But could this soon be changing? Word arrives today that Google may have convinced Samsung to tone things down, following the CES launch of its Magazine UX on the new TabPRO and NotePRO tablets.
Reportedly, Google was dismayed about how Samsung’s vision for what an Android interface should look like was diverging from Google’s own. Supposedly, the companies have since come to an understanding that will see Samsung either making serious changes to Magazine UX or taking a step as drastic as dropping it altogether. Additionally, Samsung would stop putting so much focus on its own app store and other services, while committing to feature Google’s alternatives.
That would be a radical change of course for Samsung, which so far has gone to great lengths to create a value-added alternative to stock Android. The concept of turning its back on all that is a little hard to believe, but news from just a few days ago about a big patent deal between Samsung and Google does make it seem plausible that other details like these could have been on the table, as well.
Even assuming that this story is accurate (and that’s far from confirmed), there’s still one big unanswered question: what does Samsung have to gain by cooperating to such an extent? Arguably, it’s large and successful enough to play by its own rules, so there may well be some big carrot Google was dangling, the details of which have yet to come to light.