While Samsung always had a clear plan that Google and its Android are just some of operating systems the company ships their products with, the company never disabled features that come with Android… until now. When Samsung Galaxy S8 arrives on the market on April 21st, it will probably take the crown of the world’s most powerful Android smartphone on the market… facing a different situation.
At the moment, compared to Google’s Daydream, Samsung’s Gear VR is more rounded and polished. However, users that opt for Oculus’s mobile i.e. GearVR platform won’t be able to use Google’s own VR platform, known as Daydream. Just like YouTube platform evolved from its baseline “show videos” into a comprehensive platform, Daydream in its first generation offers access to Google Play content that, at the moment, is not available on the Gear VR. Samsung obviously felt wronged by what was 3rd party developer support that opted to go on Google Daydream rather than Gear VR / Milk 360-degree video store. The decision moved Samsung from a hardware platform provider into a closed ecosystem provider – taking a page from Apple’s book. In case that you try to install Google Daydream on the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus), an error message will pop out that Daydream can’t be installed.
While this may change over the next couple of weeks or months, Samsung has pitched themselves against a far more reaching juggernaut. Can you imagine Valve’s Steam store not offering support for VR heatsets outside HTC Vive, which runs SteamVR technology? This is just another strain in an complicated triangle, Oculus – Samsung – Google. Given that Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated mobile VR using Google’s Android operating system… time will tell if this was a time limited exclusive, or a permanent ban.
The only statement to have come out of Samsung is as follows: “We have a great, long standing partnership with Google and work with them on many fronts. Please stay tuned for further updates,” Samsung said in a statement.
We will know this for sure when Samsung Galaxy S8 officially launches on April 21st, even though there are already press samples in the hands of the lucky media representatives… and they won’t install Daydream either.