Photo: Will Wei/Business Insider
Samsung introduced the Galaxy S4 in a tight one hour presentation featuring actors acting out situations where the phone’s features would be helpful.It managed to pack a lot into the hour, ticking off specs and features.
But in that hour, there was one noticeable omission from the presentation: Google and its operating system Android.
While Google’s Android software powers Samsung’s Galaxy phones, there was no mention of it. There was no one from Google or Android on stage.
While a lot of people are going to focus on the Apple versus Samsung angle, the truth is there is going to be more tension between Samsung and Google.
Samsung is taking Android and larding it up with a lot of gimmicky features. It’s also putting itself on a collision course with Google.
For a long time we’ve wondered when Samsung would pull an Amazon and just “fork” Android. That means using the base layer of Android and then adding its own polish and finish to the software. In that case, Google totally loses control of its software, but Samsung loses out on essential Google services.
Samsung has figured out a smarter way to do it. It still gets the upside of Android — Maps, Google services — but it’s relegating Google to a second tier service, and where it can, it’s trying to offer its own services.
Last night Samsung showed off “home sync” which lets you take a photo in Guam then quickly have it appear back at your home in New York.
Samsung has a little home storage unit with a terabyte of data storage. At its presentation last night it said that was significantly more than some online storage companies offer.
While the prime target for the critique is a company like Dropbox, or maybe even Apple’s iCloud, Google has Google Drive doing the exact same thing.
Samsung showed translation software it calls “S Translate” and photo editing software.
Google has been doing translation for a long time now. It’s also been doing cloud-based photo editing.
This sort of Samsung-ing of Android is inevitable. With a stock, commoditized software like Android, Samsung has to do something to stand apart from HTC, LG, Motorola, and all the other Android phone companies.
However, Google can’t be happy with its software being pushed to the background, and getting filled with gimmicky junk.
As Samsung becomes more successful, and becomes more ambitious it’s only going to feel empowered to bump more Google services.
Since Google only makes money on Android if people are using Google services, it can’t be happy about where this is heading.
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