Android SVP Hiroshi Lockheimer made an appearance at the end of the Galaxy S23 event today to talk about Google’s partnership with Samsung and Qualcomm on extended reality (XR).

As of late, Samsung and Google have been working together (including through joint marketing) on highlighting the latter’s services on the former’s hardware. Lockheimer highlighted Google Meet (with Live Sharing for Samsung Notes announced today) and RCS in Messages. There was then talk of “[doubling] down on optimizing for large screens to enhance what you can do on Samsung’s foldables and tablets,” as well as the partnership on Wear OS 3

The Google executive said AR and VR are “integral to the new phase of computing as it can change the way we interact with people and information to get things done in the real world.”

He said this requires “cutting edge, advanced hardware and software” in a nod to the Qualcomm and Samsung partnership.

Google has been investing in AR experiences that are more immersive and fundamentally different from traditional 2D formats for quite some time.

Cited examples include ARCore’s availability on over 1 billion Android devices, AR in Search (models), YouTube, and Google Maps (Live View AR navigation), and Google Lens, repeating the 8 billion visual searches per month stat from last year. 

Lockheimer said “these examples are just a prelude to our long-term vision.” 

We’re working towards a new generation of computing enabled by immersive experiences across brand new form factors that will further elevate what you can do with Google. All this is incredibly exciting from the hardware and core technological capabilities to the apps and services. I cannot wait to see what we build together.

9to5Google’s Take

These comments are undoubtedly the most significant and detailed since the end of Google I/O 2022 when CEO Sundar Pichai previewed translation glasses:

These AR capabilities are already useful on phones and the magic will really come alive when you can use them in the real world without the technology getting in the way. That potential is what gets us most excited about AR. The ability to spend time focusing on what matters in the real world in our real lives.

May 2022

The appearance of the Android chief to announce this partnership is telling. Android being the OS for this upcoming form factor is not surprising. Google has the most experience with the OEM partner model through Android. That said, it’s surprising that Google’s first foray into XR hardware was not its own.

It might suggest that we’re in for another Android smartphone market where Samsung Galaxy devices have the largest market share, while the Pixel is Google’s offering. Of course, it’s still very early days, and Google’s biggest advantage is its AR services. It ultimately wants Google Lens and Maps to be on as many devices, regardless of brand, as possible.

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Abner Li

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