Google reportedly looking to take back control of Android from Samsung

Search and destroy

Credit: Christopher Hebert/ IDG

Samsung’s phones may be the among the most popular Android handsets, but they’re also the furthest from Google’s vision, with their own app store, UI, and digital assistant. But with the launch of the Galaxy Note 20 just a week away, a new report from Bloomberg suggests that Google is looking to rein in some of Samsung’s freedom.

According to correspondence between the two companies, Google is looking to take back search on Samsung’s handsets, the foundation for everything Android does. The two companies are discussing a deal that would “promote Google’s digital assistant and Play Store for apps” on Galaxy devices.

That would be a major change over the current system. While the Play Store and Google Assistant are built into Galaxy phones like they are on every Android phone, they take a backseat to Samsung’s own Galaxy Store and Bixby assistant. The setup can be confusing for users, with the Galaxy Store catalog hosting fewer apps than the Play Store and often receiving updates after they’ve landed in the Play Store.

After launching alongside the Galaxy S8 in 2017, Samsung has struggled to get its Bixby digital assistant off the ground despite building a dedicated hardware button into its phones. A smart speaker featuring the assistant was demoed in 2018 but still hasn’t released. And the Galaxy S20 eliminated the Bixby button in favor of a programmable power button.

Bixby aside, such a change would likely be lucrative for Samsung, as the company would essentially be signing the death warrant for its own services. With the Play Store and Google Assistant taking on a prominent role, users will have little reason to seek out Samsung’s alternatives. However, with smartphone sales contracting due to the coronavirus, a deal could be beneficial to both companies.

Samsung is due to announce the Galaxy Note 20 at an Unpacked event on August 5.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Michael Simon

Michael Simon

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?