Samsung devotes a portion of every Unpacked event to talk about its partners, and the Google segment today revealed how Messages is “native” on the Galaxy S21, while you can connect Duo video calls to your TV.

Samsung first discussed how Google Discover – as previously leaked – is now available to the left of your homescreen to provide a personalized stream of news and other relevant articles. In fact, it’s the default feed out of the box.

Meanwhile, Google Messages is “native to the S21 series,” but not necessarily pre-installed on the Galaxy device. Fine print on the livestream explains how “availability may vary by county, region, or carrier.” In those cases, like before, the app is available to download from the Play Store to replace Samsung Messages, which does feature RCS following work by the two companies in previous years. 

On the communication front, Samsung also discussed Google Duo and the ability “to connect video calls to your TV.” This involves mirroring your phone to the bigger screen, while still using the S21’s front-facing camera. The fine print states that this feature only works with Samsung TVs that feature Miracast or models launched after 2020. This is separate from a Duo app on the latest Samsung TVs that requires a USB camera. 

Today’s keynote ended with an appearance by Android and Chrome SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer. He revealed that the two companies collaborated to develop a revamped version of the TalkBack screen reader that’s debuting on Galaxy devices.

I’m inspired by what we’ll be able to build together, by bringing the magic of the Google ecosystem and Samsung’s amazing technology together – to innovate and to create helpful experiences for you, our customers. In 2021 and beyond, we are taking our partnership to the next level and I am incredibly excited for this new era!

The S21 is also an Android Enterprise Recommended device, while it features integrations between Android Auto and SmartThings. The latter is rolling out next week and will allow you to “turn off your kitchen lights from your car’s display as you pull out of the driveway.” More broadly, connected smart home appliances can be controlled by tapping “Devices” on the S21’s Quick Panel.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: