Samsung just cut Google out of Android

15 Mar 2013

In this month’s PC Pro, our Talking Point asks whether Samsung’s Galaxy brand is now bigger than Google? Had we written that after last night’s launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, I suspect the conclusions would have been rather different.

Make no mistake: Samsung just shafted Google. The company spent about 10% of last night’s launch event talking about the new hardware, and the remainder of “the show” unveiling a phalanx of new services, many of which fall into direct competition with Google’s own. Android has effectively become a piece of open-source firmware on Samsung’s latest handset, not the money-generating gateway to services that Google intended it to be.

Tell me why Google’s share price is flying so high, again?

The most obvious Google killer is the Samsung Hub, an integrated store offering music, video, books, games and educational content. Samsung’s just launched its own Play store and put it front and centre on its devices. “You can browse through a variety of content across services, as well as purchase and manage content easily from a single Samsung Account,” says the press release, cutting Google and its 30% cut on Play purchases out of the picture.

Then there’s Samsung Apps “a newly updated service that provides search functionality for applications which are specialised for Samsung devices, and Google Play, as well.”  Talk about throwing them a bone.

That’s not to mention Samsung ChatON – a “holistic communication experience” that combines instant messaging and voice/video calls – that steps on the toes of Google+; S Translator which a direct rival to Google Translate; and Story Album, which collates all your smartphone photos in much the same way Google Photos does.

There’s even a veiled threat to Google Maps Navigation, in the form of S Voice Drive, which allows drivers to dictate messages and control the phone via voice commands while their hands are on the wheel. There’s no satnav as yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Samsung has taken the free Android, and then attempted to cut Google out of most, if not all, of the money-making parts of the operating system. It's taken full advantage of the open nature of Android and turned the robot on its master. Tell me why Google’s share price is flying so high, again?

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