Late in April, Google released a Samsung version of its default messaging app found on Pixel phones. In addition, the app came with a unique look that matches that of Samsung’s OneUI Android skin.
What it means?
Looking at the app, it changes the theming of the app when it detects that a Samsung phone is in use. While the theme has the standard Samsung look with the large empty space at the top and everything pushed down to the bottom half there are still a few Goggle touches to it.
The loading animation, when refreshing the app, uses Google’s four coloured dots, while the search bar is shown and features more squared-off edges. Diving into the settings, everything looks to be the same, including the native RSC settings. One thing that is different is a specific Samsung feature that gives Bixby and other Galaxy devices access to the app. This is to allow users to ask Bixby to send a message or reply to someone and sending messages from other Galaxy devices. This could also allow Samsung to continue to take use of its Microsoft partnership with the Your Phone PC app.
On the surface, it doesn’t look to be much other than skin on top of an already developed app, but this move could be the sign of something bigger from the two companies.
Google owning the experience
A big change?
Let’s take a step back. For as long as Samsung has been producing its own version of the “stock” apps on Android, there has been a group of Samsung users that have wanted them to just use Google’s apps, reducing the need to develop apps and maintain them. One of the biggest changes with Samsung is that its UI is different to Stock Android, forcing Samsung to develop its own app.
Now that this new Samsung-ified version of the message’s app has been released, could it be the start of a substantial change for Samsung and the rest of the companies producing their own “stock” apps?
Building on Stock Apps
Many of us know that companies take stock Android and build their own interfaces on top of. This is a standard practice. What if Google wants the basic apps on found on all Android phones, including Messages, Contacts, Phone.
This would allow for a much easier development as one app has to be created with varying stylesheets; this would also make the RSC rollout much smoother than it currently is. This would also allow new features to be pushed across the board giving all Android users a unified experience.
While this all seems like a big step to take, it won’t happen across the board. Samsung and Google are increasingly working with each other on projects such as the White Chapel chip expected to be in Google’s Pixel 6 and working on a Pixel Smartwatch.
Having one app between the two would make a lot of sense as it will make the backend side of things work a little more seamlessly with RCS and new features, while allowing Samsung to focus more of its attention on other projects and working with Google. The slightly different styling in the Samsung version of the Google Messages app could also mean a design change for OneUI 4.0.
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