Just when we thought that things were looking up for Samsung and Google’s working relationship, The Information reports that the two companies have found something else to squabble about.
According to anonymous sources, Google CEO Larry Page is apparently upset with Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee and his company’s weak embrace of Google’s new Android Wear OS. The two met at the Allen & Company conference in Sun Valley, an annual media finance conference, and Page apparently expressed frustration that Samsung is prioritizing its Tizen-based smartwatches over wearables running Google’s Android Wear.
Samsung currently has three smartwatches on the market running its own proprietary wearables software, which debuted earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Samsung then followed up with its own Tizen Developer Conference before announcing its own Android Wear-powered watch, the Gear Live.
Apparently, Page and Lee also used their time together to delve a bit into their smartphone partnership. Google had asked Samsung to pull the reins back on publishing apps that were similar to those included in the standard suite of Android apps. Samsung has obviously complied since then; the number of “app duplicates” on its latest flagship, the Galaxy S5, have gone down significantly.
We’ve known for a while that there has been some tension between the two powerhouses. Google wants OEM devices to help it evangelize the way of Android to its users, while Samsung aims to spread the gospel of it being the greatest device manufacturer of all time. For Samsung, being reliant on Android would mean less of an ability to branch off on its own and build its own software empire to accompany its many devices, and Google’s Sundar Pichai has said that it would have no problem walking away from Samsung. The Android maker is partnering with other manufacturers for Android One and Android Silver, anyway.
As for wearables, well, let’s be honest here: while there are a variety of gadgets coming out in the wearables space, we’re still in the beginning stages. For all we know, smartwatches could never really catch on, or it could take a few generations of devices before it finally takes off. By then, maybe Google and Samsung will have more of a unified front against whatever wearable Apple is likely to debut.