What you need to know
- Samsung announced a partnership with Google to integrate its Nest services with SmartThings.
- One UI 3.1 on the new Galaxy S21 smartphones comes with Google Discover Feed by default.
- Both companies worked to improve Android Auto and include SmartThings integration to control smart home devices and routines from your dashboard.
Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event had some great things going for it. The Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones were of course the star of the show, and the new Galaxy Buds Pro could arguably be some of the best wireless earbuds on the market right now. But one of the most important things to come out of the event wasn't the products, but the presence of Google.
Samsung and Google seem to have had a rocky relationship over the years. As Samsung grew larger and larger, eventually becoming the largest Android manufacturer in the world, it began to grow less and less reliant on Google's services. Sure, Samsung's phones run Android, but its smartwatches are running Tizen as opposed to Wear OS. And picking up a new Galaxy smartphone usually means being met with two versions of essentially the same app by both companies. Heck, Samsung even has its own Galaxy Store for apps.
Admittedly, some of these apps are arguably better than Google's. Samsung Notes works especially great if you have a Galaxy Note 20, and it even syncs with Microsoft OneNote which is really just another blow to Google. Then, on the other hand, some of the apps are just plain redundant. Why have both Google Pay and Samsung Pay on a smartphone, especially now that Google is improving its app while Samsung is removing features from its own?
Things seem to be changing though, especially with today's announcement. Samsung spoke about how it's integrating Google Nest products into its SmartThings ecosystem, further confirming what the company announced a month ago.
This means that Samsung Galaxy users will have quick and easy access to their home Nest products. And at home, Samsung is letting you video chat with your friends and family by screen sharing Google Duo from your Galaxy smartphones to your Samsung TV, allowing up to 16 people on a single call.
Samsung also announced car integration via Android Auto, allowing you to control, start, or stop your engine just from your Galaxy phone. Working with Google, Samsung also aided in improving the UI of Android Auto and has even included integration with SmartThings so that connected devices and routines can be controlled from your car dashboard.
Lastly, Google has highlighted how the two companies have partnered on making Google's own services more readily available and accessible on Samsung's devices, such as Google Messages and Discover Feed, the latter of which is coming to the Galaxy S21 based on One UI 3.1. Google's TalkBack feature for visually impaired users is also being improved, with a new version coming exclusively to Galaxy smartphones.
Neither company has detailed when these updates will arrive on Samsung devices, but it's a step in the right direction for two companies that have seemingly been at odds for years.
The new best
Samsung is stepping it up again.
The Galaxy S21 is Samsung's latest 5G smartphone. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, a large AMOLED 120Hz display, triple-camera system, there's almost nothing you can't do with this smartphone.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.