Next week, Samsung Unpacked is expected to bring a trio of Android-powered devices. A new report this evening reveals that Google is in talks with Samsung to have Assistant and its other services play a bigger role.
According to Bloomberg, the “talks involve giving Google more control over search on Samsung handsets globally.” This would result in Bixby being “less integrated,” while today’s report says Google Assistant and the Play Store would get more promotion.
Samsung is seeking this “major deal” as a new source of revenue due to declining device demand amid COVID-19. In 2018, Google was rumored to be paying Apple $9 billion that year to remain the default search engine in Safari on iOS.
The article sources “correspondence viewed by Bloomberg News” and “details from a person briefed on the matter,” but there is nothing else regarding implementation details.
Assistant could easily replace Bixby as the default, though it’s not too difficult for consumers to make the switch today. In the face of this deal, Bixby could presumably still be offered as an option for users that seek it out. Meanwhile, Google Play could be given more prominence over the Galaxy Apps Store, which is home to some exclusive content.
The statement Google provided to Bloomberg says that “Samsung is free to create its own app store and digital assistant,” while the South Korean manufacturer notes that it “closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences for our users.”
It’s not clear when this deal will be announced, but Wednesday’s hardware event would provide a big stage alongside the Note 20, Z Fold 2, and Tab S7 launch.
Meanwhile, the last Galaxy Unpacked in February saw Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer take the stage to talk about Duo video calling and Live Captions integration.
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