Both Reuters and Bloomberg are independently reporting that Google is pushing to repel Samsung from its duplicate Android ecosystem and promote Google apps instead. A “correspondence” between the two companies was seen by both sites, which pushed Google to promote Samsung to the Play Store and Google Assistant on the Galaxy App Store and Samsung’s Bixby Assistant. Google was apparently ready to open its wallet and pay Samsung.
Bloomberg’s explanation of the negotiations is quite vague, stating that the deal would “promote Google’s digital assistant and the Play Store for apps.” [Samsung] Device. “Later Reuters reports are much more specific, with Samsung saying” considering dropping its Bixby virtual assistant and the Galaxy App Store from its mobile devices. “Reuters further noted that” Google is swinging more attractive words than Samsung. The previous deal if it backfires with its app strategy. “A portion of Google’s immense web for Android protection is sharing the revenue of advertising and Play Store apps with phone manufacturers, and offering Samsung a higher share is an easy way to submit to the South Korean company.
Will Samsung really be ready to kill Bixby and the Galaxy App Store is on the air. Samsung has piled money at Bixby since its debut in 2017, but Bixby has not been very successful. Samsung acquired subsidiary startup Viv Labs, founded by the creators of Siri, and hired the company to improve Bixby. But Samsung’s voice assistant still can’t hang in the crowd like Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa.
Voice assistants are primarily interfaces to a search engine and a services ecosystem, two things that Samsung doesn’t really invest in, so it has been difficult for the company to turn Bixby into something useful. When you say “take a note,” where does it go? Both Google and Apple have a wide ecosystem for notes, music, reminders, calendar events, photos, maps, and more, all available from your phone and the web. Samsung’s ecosystem gap means that Bixby relies on a cobbled-in web of third-party services or controlling apps on your Samsung phone, which are mostly forks of Google’s base Android apps.
Samsung’s Bixby ships on its Android devices, its Tizen smartwatch and some refrigerators (no, really). but that’s about it. Samsung announced the Bixby Smart Speaker as “Galaxy Home” in 2018, but almost two years have passed and the product is nowhere to be seen. Samsung offered a cheaper “Galaxy Home Mini” instead, but the Home Mini does not look like it ever became a commercial product. Samsung offered it as a free bonus for some Galaxy S20 pre-orders in South Korea, but it is not for sale. The real test of a voice assistant is a smart speaker with no interface other than voice, and Samsung does not trust Bixby’s ability to pull this off. The main problem I have with beating Bixby is that it will leave Samsung’s smart watches without a voice assistant. I doubt that Google will manufacture Google Assistant for Tizen watches.
Samsung’s Galaxy App Store is used to update Samsung’s core Android apps that ship with a phone, but there’s really no reason to keep it for most countries. Not being available in China on Google Play is completely difficult on the Play Store, so in that country, Samsung’s own App Store is useful. The company’s App Store doesn’t seem to be a complete success in China, either, though — the AppInChina App Store index ranks Samsung’s 15th most popular App Store in China.
I have trouble imagining leaving Samsung’s Bixby and Galaxy App Stores when it has been concerned about its dependence on Google in the past. Bloomberg blamed Coronovirus on why Samsung would open up in this way, stating, “The drop in demand for mobile devices during the Kovid-19 epidemic intensified the company’s revenue requirement and its interaction with a key partner Is weakened. “
Currently, Google products have a very strong default placement on Samsung phones. The Play Store and Google search bar both ship on the first home screen, and Google is the default search engine. When we last saw Google’s Play Store and App Licensing Terms for Android, the agreement specified the status and default of Google services. Google had made things like search bars and Play Store icons necessary to license the company’s closed-source Android app – Google wanted spots on the home screen.
The European Union actually employed Google for its placement rules, stating that Google’s licensing terms are anticommitic. Google’s argument was that Android’s development was offered for OEMs for free, and the inclusion and placement of these apps funded its development through advertising and app revenue. Google’s concession to EU regulators was to add a paid flexible tier for Google Play licensing, where OEMs could pay up to $ 40 to cancel Google’s apps and placement requirements.
Nothing about Google’s license terms prevents phone manufacturers from competing and building duplicate services, and on Samsung phones, the Galaxy App Store sits right next to the Play Store, on the home screen. Bixby usually gets its own dedicated hardware button on the side of a Samsung phone, and while it now re-applies to a different app, you can’t specifically map it to Google Assistant.
Reuters says that “companies are aiming to finalize the terms by Friday.” Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 launch is next week, which seems a bit early to see any dramatic software changes. But we will look for Bixby’s prominence in the company’s presentation.