Google and its most important Android manufacturing partner Samsung could be on a collision course, amid the search giant’s recently announced bid to clamp down on customisations on its new Android Wear platform.
Unveiled last week at Google I/O, Android Wear is a version of Android tailor-made for wearable technology and makes its retail debut at Samsung’s Gear Live smartwatch.
Unlike Samsung Galaxy smartphones, which run editions of Android that are heavily adorned with Samsung’s customisations and proprietary apps, the Gear Live runs a ‘vanilla’, untouched version of Android Wear.
That’s the way Google would like it to stay, too, it seems. Today, the Big G controversially announced it will not permit manufacturers to rework Android Wear software.
The move is aimed at stopping at source the fragmentation that blight the Android smartphone eco-system and which mean that users too often face year-long waits for their phones to be updated with the latest version of the operating system.
But it looks like Google has a fight on its hands with Samsung if it attempts to enforce those strictures. And it’ll be a struggle it won’t relish, given that the South Korean company’s handsets are the biggest-selling Android kits around.
In an interview with CNet UK, director of marketing for Samsung's US mobile business Christopher Belter said: "Android Wear is 100 per cent built around Google services today on Day One.
"I don't know what the time frame is, but I guess it would be our goal to build, like we do on our phones, some of our own services for the Wear environment."
Belter’s remarks suggest trouble could be brewing between the two Android movers and shakers, whose relationship has come under strain recently after complaints that Samsung apps took up too much room on its handsets and are little used by phone-owners.
Among the apps subject to criticism were novelty applications such as Smart Scroll, which registers users’ eye movements to automatically scroll pages down when the end of a page is reached.
Belter’s remarks come amid a string of signs that Samsung is looking to reduce its dependence on Android software. The first major step towards this was this year’s arrival of a Samsung Galaxy Z phone powered by its own Tizen software.