Samsung, the world’s biggest Android manufacturer, is reportedly toning down its TouchWiz UI tweaks and own custom apps due to pressure from Google, reports re/code. Not long before, the Korean Chaebol unveiled a range of new Android devices at the Consumer Electronics Show, all featuring the company’s latest and heavily modified Touchwiz “Magazine” UX, that looked nothing like Android. And then we saw a couple more leaks of its adaptation for the mobile form factor, and even that was a drastic departure from the previous version of TouchWiz, let alone stock Android. This might have set Google off and reportedly, the two companies have come to a compromise(among many other things) in which Samsung will tone down its UI tweaks and replacement apps for Google’s services, going forward.
The image above, taken from a Ars Technica opinion piece paints a clear picture of how Samsung had its own ecosystem around Android, replacing almost every little Google service possible. It is all set to change soon.
Multiple sources familiar with the companies’ thinking say the two technology giants began hammering out a series of broad agreements at CES that would bring Samsung’s view of Android in line with Google’s own. The results of the talks, which have only just begun dribbling out to the public, also underscore the extent to which Google is exerting more of its influence to control its destiny in the Android open source world.
This news comes just after both the companies announced a patent deal that talked up innovation without the fear of litigation. It is supposedly just a small part of all the talks Samsung and Google had. To be really frank, right from the beginning, Samsung’s Touchwiz was a different product altogether and never had its vision in line with the whole of Android. But Android and Google’s first party apps were limited or very nascent at that point in time, so Samsung had to make new apps and services to promote its devices. But as Google started making more apps(arguably better) and services an integral part of the experience, Samsung’s apps were clearly becoming redundant. The company had made its own apps for Music, Movies and Books even after Google launched the full suite of Play services, which was jarring in all the TouchWiz experiences.
In the mean time, Google had started enforcing its “Play apps” packages to OEMS that wanted Android compatibility, under various conditions. These apps are the non-open source part of Android and OEMs have to pay a license fee, albeit a small one, to pre-install Google’s services on to their phones running Android. With the search giant wanting a tighter control over Android and Samsung going parallel with its own services, and tangential with tweaks, something had to be done. And that had to be Samsung downplaying its tweaks to line up better with Google’s vision of Android. Will it be the end of the Magazine UX then? Mostly, and it looks like we might even see more Google Play edition devices from Samsung. But the question is, at what cost is the company willing to compromise on its brand awareness, as TouchWiz clearly has become an integral part of a Samsung-Android experience?
For more insights on the scoop, refer the source link.