Google had a lot to unveil at I/O 2022, from search engine updates and new APIs to an expanded series of Pixel devices. The Pixel lineup now includes a Pixel smartwatch, the Pixel Buds Pro earbuds, two Pixel 7 smartphones, and a Pixel tablet, the latter of which will be released next year.
Google I/O 2022 had a different undertone than usual because of these new and upcoming Pixel mobile devices. The Pixel Watch is the company’s first smartwatch ever, and the Pixel tablet will be its first Android tablet in years.
Evidently, Google is now spending more time and resources on Android hardware than in previous years. But what could this mean for Samsung’s mobile business? Should we worry about the Korean tech giant’s future in the Android market? Only time will tell, but here’s my view on the matter as of this writing.
Samsung has nothing to worry about, but other Android OEMs might
I believe Samsung has nothing to worry about regarding its position as a leader in the Android smartphone market, and I have a few reasons why.
To begin with, although Google will soon have a richer hardware portfolio for its Android and Wear OS platforms, not much has changed for Google in terms of worldwide reach. The Google Store (not to be confused with the Google Play Store) doesn’t offer the Pixel series in most markets, and Google doesn’t have an expansive retail partner network like Samsung. As a result, Pixel devices are more expensive in markets where Google doesn’t have a presence because third-party retailers add a markup.
Due to these factors, I don’t think Samsung has anything to worry about Google’s newfound ambitions in developing Android hardware, as far as market reach is concerned. Not to mention that Samsung is already an established manufacturer with millions of Galaxy fans worldwide.
Nevertheless, with a bit of effort in expanding its store chain reach and retail partnerships, I believe that Google could start taking away market share from Android OEMs smaller than Samsung. I can imagine a world where Samsung and Google share the podium — at least outside of China — and there’s almost no Android OS fragmentation.
Besides, Samsung and Google are now working together more closely than ever on developing software platforms. Wear OS 3 resulted from a Samsung-Google collaboration, and at I/O 2022, the two companies have announced Health Connect — a new Android API for health and fitness devices and software experiences.
And, who knows?! Maybe the next-generation Tensor chips will get better and better, and given the close collaboration between Samsung and Google, some Galaxy devices will perhaps adopt Tensor in the future. It’s a wild idea, I know. But given the current state of Exynos, I think I’m allowed to dream of greener pastures.
More Pixels could lead to better Samsung Galaxy devices
Call me an optimist, but Google developing its own hardware for the Android and Wear OS platforms seems like it may have positive ramifications for Samsung and its customers.
And I can’t help but hope that Google’s experience developing its own Pixel smartwatch and tablet will help other OEMs – especially Samsung – deliver hardware products better optimized for the Android and Wear OS platforms.
Whatever the case may be, I don’t think it hurts for Google to understand Android hardware at a deeper level. And given the close relationship between the two companies, I believe that Samsung could benefit from Google’s new ambitions, both as a supply chain partner and a mobile device manufacturer.
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