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Samsung to dial down its Android customization due to pressure from Google?

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Last updated: January 30th, 2014 at 05:36 UTC+02:00

One of the nicest things about the new Galaxy TabPRO and NotePRO tablets is Samsung’s new Magazine UX for the homescreen. It looks visually striking and gives off a Windows Phone/Windows 8 vibe, while making good use of the screen estate to present important information to the user at a glance. Well, it seems while Samsung was happy to tote the Magazine UX as a feature of its new tablets, Google isn’t too happy with the way the Korean manufacturer has made stark departures from stock Android in its customization, and might actually have cut some sort of deal with Samsung that will see the latter remove/alter Magazine UX, and quite a lot more.

According to an unnamed source talking to Re/code, Google held talks with Samsung at CES and wants the Korean giant to scale back on the customization it adds to Android, as well as reduce the emphasis it places on its own apps and services on its devices, as those go against Google’s vision for Android. Samsung has reportedly agreed to do both, and apart from “dumping or altering” the new Magazine UX interface in future products, it will also promote Google’s own content offerings, like the Play Store and media hubs like Play Movies and Music. Samsung’s smartphones and tablets are mostly responsible for Android’s rise into the dominant mobile OS, and Google has likely understood that if allowed to continue modifying Android as it is doing, Samsung could lock more and more users into its ecosystem and draw them away from Google’s own ecosystem.

It is unclear what Samsung will be getting from the search giant in return, but with today’s news that Google is selling Motorola to Lenovo, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that Samsung could be getting preferential treatment in some ways, especially after its 10-year patent cross-licensing deal with Google. Re/code’s source mentions that the talks held between the two companies represent “a huge change, a sea change” in their relations, so it will be very interesting to see if Samsung really does make sweeping changes to its software in the future.

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