Google reportedly confronted Samsung over wearables strategy in 'tense' meeting

Samsung is pretty enthusiastic when it comes to wearables, having released numerous such devices already, while other manufacturers are still developing their first. Its line-up so far has been a bit of a mixed bag though - the Samsung Gear 2 Neo did fairly well when we reviewed it, but the Gear Fit was less impressive, scoring just 5.5 out of 10 in our review (and let's not forget about Steve Wozniak describing the Galaxy Gear as "worthless").

Google isn't too pleased with what Samsung has come up with so far either, it seems, albeit for slightly different reasons. The Information reports that Google CEO Larry Page spoke with Samsung vice chairman Jay Y Lee last week in what has been described as a 'tense' meeting, in which Page expressed frustration with the Korean company over its wearables strategy. 

According to "three people briefed on the conversations," Page was said to be displeased that Samsung has been focusing so heavily on wearables based on its own Tizen OS, rather than using Android. Samsung currently offers three Tizen wearables, while its only Android smartwatch is the recently launched Gear Live. Google wants Samsung to focus on its new Android Wear platform, since it offers tight integration with other Android devices, which will become increasingly important as Google continues to develop a more connected hardware and software ecosystem. 

Page also expressed discontent over Samsung's decision to go to market so soon with its wearables. Google wanted Samsung to wait until it was ready to launch Android Wear, but Samsung went ahead and released devices running a "very heavily modified version of Android." In the case of the Galaxy Gear, it later replaced the Android version with the Tizen OS

The relationship between Google and Samsung is said to remain "contentious." The report claims that - while the two companies are all smiles in public - behind closed doors, Samsung refers to Google as a "bully"..

Source: The Information via 9to5Google 

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43 Comments

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I just hope "fragmentation" issue does not happen on Android wear and that Google learned from that terrible mistake.

The vast majority of users around the world buy Samsung phones, not Android phones or Google phones. The market will go where Samsung goes. Google is toast.

I don't know why Google would care. Samsung's previous wearables only worked on Samsung devices and have had very little market penetration. The smart thing would have been to watch them flounder and fail. As least the Android Wear stuff works on anything running 4.3 and higher and not tied to any make of phone.

in all fairness, Android is not really open source according to Google. All those Android cornering 67% (somewhere close) are actually combined with Kindle and Nook. It's a bit misleading actually. So far, all I see as far as people using Google Android are majority Samsung.

I think Samsung is preparing to move to Tizen in the future and giving it binary compatibility with Android apps. It would be a big step, sure, but imagine the appeal for Samsung to get their own app store and profit share. I can really only see this going in one direction. Samsung already seem to just be using Android as a vehicle, where their direction really isn't just to "enrichen the Android ecosystem with hardware", as was what Google intended this whole open Android thing to be about.

Northgrove said,
I think Samsung is preparing to move to Tizen in the future and giving it binary compatibility with Android apps. It would be a big step, sure, but imagine the appeal for Samsung to get their own app store and profit share. I can really only see this going in one direction. Samsung already seem to just be using Android as a vehicle, where their direction really isn't just to "enrichen the Android ecosystem with hardware", as was what Google intended this whole open Android thing to be about.

Exactly what I'm thinking, they changed TouchWiz to look like Tizen and switched from Android to Tizen on their smart watches so moving to Tizen is a sensible assumption. It's not something Google will be happy with but that's tough, might even help Samsung's WP efforts as well.

Sounds like par for the course for Google recently. All "open" and "fair" in public, but total bully, cutthroat, and rather evil behind closed doors.

If Google is so displeased with Samsung's offerings, they should put their money where their mouth is and come up with their own hardware, just like Microsoft had to take it upon themselves to show OEMs what a non-crappy Windows tablet should look like.

Samsung use their own OS on wearable's because Google took Linux and turned it to a bloated mobile OS over the years.

If there's one thing that's bloated it's Samsung's TouchWiz. I hope you know a full Android build (Cyanogenmod) for any recent device is just a little over 200MB?

I get the same reply from a friend of mine. So here is my response to you. My dear friend, not everyone is aware nor capable of replacing the ROM on their handset. If the phone cant come out of the factory unbloated, then its bloated.

Riva said,
Samsung use their own OS on wearable's because Google took Linux and turned it to a bloated mobile OS over the years.
LOLZERS it's like you've completely and willingly ignored the totally bloated Android OS that comes with Samsung's devices! Ignorance at its best!
Riva said,
They allow OEMs to put a custom shell so they are partly to blame..
That is a silly comment on the exact same lines of "vehicle manufaturers are at fault for letting the custom modders of their vehicles flourish".

Riva said,
They allow OEMs to put a custom shell so they are partly to blame..

So when HP releases a Windows based Ultra Book with HP services and trial offers installed I guess that means that Windows itself sucks eh, I mean according to your logic?

Ambroos said,
If there's one thing that's bloated it's Samsung's TouchWiz. I hope you know a full Android build (Cyanogenmod) for any recent device is just a little over 200MB?

It is amazing how they've bloated the thing so much, yet Cyanogenmod could run circles around it while being so small in size.

testman said,
LOLZERS it's like you've completely and willingly ignored the totally bloated Android OS that comes with Samsung's devices! Ignorance at its best!
That is a silly comment on the exact same lines of "vehicle manufaturers are at fault for letting the custom modders of their vehicles flourish".

Microsoft does not allow modification of the OS. Microsoft signs the drivers.

Riva said,
Samsung use their own OS on wearable's because Google took Linux and turned it to a bloated mobile OS over the years.

Stock android is not bloated. No idea what you are talking about. Things that Samsung, HTC, and others do to the UI is not Google's doing.

techbeck said,

Stock android is not bloated. No idea what you are talking about. Things that Samsung, HTC, and others do to the UI is not Google's doing.


And how many stock android phones are there? What people see, is a ###### Samsung and HTC. Then the opinion is formed. Majority of end consumers wont realise the difference between stock and Android. You keep thinking everyone is a techie.
And not to mention the myriads of bugs in Android itself anyway that Google is fixing in 4.4.4. Lets see how many more they will introduce.

Samsung was not mentioned in the comment I replied to.

And get over the bugs in software. Updates get applied all the time to ALL platforms that addresses bugs and new features. This has been going on with software since its conception.

And I never said that everyone was a techie or thought so. In fact, I keep saying that I hope people start realizing the benefits of stock android and steer clear of devices like Samsung that provide bloat, lag, and a bad experience.

Samsung are under no obligations to support Google's ecosystem plans. Google needs to realise that they can't profess "openness" one day, and be protective and closed in practice.

People will not take kindly to that kind of hypocrisy, which is probably why Samsung have been exploring their options.

mdtaUK said,
Samsung are under no obligations to support Google's ecosystem plans. Google needs to realise that they can't profess "openness" one day, and be protective and closed in practice.

People will not take kindly to that kind of hypocrisy, which is probably why Samsung have been exploring their options.

Agreed, I think they will switch completely across to Tizen for two reasons:

1. TouchWiz was changed to look more like the Tizen interface
2. The changed their smart watches to Tizen from a heavily modified Android

Samsung have options, Tizen and Windows Phone therefore Google needs Samsung more than Samsung needs Google!!!

elenarie said,

Making their Tizen OS run Android apps without issues.

The bigger issue is getting Android app developers to come over and publish to their app store.

It didn't help RIM, it won't help Samsung either.

adrynalyne said,
Google can, Samsung cannot. Without the app ecosystem, Samsung will not make it.

Wrong. All Samsung - or anyone else - needs to do to make Tizen run Android apps is to add the Alien Dalvik library. Funny enough, Android apps run on Tizen using Alien Dalvik often run faster than they do on Google's Android.

Major_Plonquer said,

Wrong. All Samsung - or anyone else - needs to do to make Tizen run Android apps is to add the Alien Dalvik library. Funny enough, Android apps run on Tizen using Alien Dalvik often run faster than they do on Google's Android.

That worked out well for RIM...oh.

You can run the same apps all day long. They cannot add those apps to their app store unless they make them themselves or have developer permission. As for google apps...nope. It isn't like they can install the google play store. Amazon app store, maybe, but it is garbage and has less in comparison.

Edited by adrynalyne, Jul 21 2014, 12:32am :

adrynalyne said,

That worked out well for RIM...oh.

You can run the same apps all day long. They cannot add those apps to their app store unless they make them themselves or have developer permission. As for google apps...nope. It isn't like they can install the google play store. Amazon app store, maybe, but it is garbage and has less in comparison.

Exactly. Besides without making their own app store, how are they supposed to make money off of app purchases?

"behind closed doors, Samsung refers to Google as a "bully""

Sounds about right. They bully users around, so why not their partners?

All high tech ultra rich companies bully there partners. Apple and Microsoft do it too. Its the price of doing business with them.

Xenon said,
All high tech ultra rich companies bully there partners. Apple and Microsoft do it too. Its the price of doing business with them.

Yeah, but Google have been doing a lot of unethical crap the last few years. Larry Paige really seems to have gone off the deep end.

Xenon said,
All high tech ultra rich companies bully there partners. Apple and Microsoft do it too. Its the price of doing business with them.

For example, Google's contempt for Mac and iOS users is troublesome, and don't even get me started on how they treat Windows and Windows Phone users.

Kind of like Apple's contempt for Android that is openly expressed at every public gathering? (Why Google execs usually avoid speaking about Apple and iOS in an openly disrespectful matter).

Adamodeus said,
Kind of like Apple's contempt for Android that is openly expressed at every public gathering? (Why Google execs usually avoid speaking about Apple and iOS in an openly disrespectful matter).

TBH, Apple brought that upon themselves.