Rumor: Samsung "Google-Experience" Phone to Test Before Year End


Samsung is working on a new Android Phone, and it's going to have The Google Experience.

Before I get into what exactly that means, here's a few details on this rumor device.  It's going to testers before the end of the year, it will possibly be debuting at CES (which starts January 6th), and it should have a 1 to 1.2 GHz processor, possibly Samsung's Hummingbird.  The 1.2 could be a reclocked CPU already released at a lower speed.  It will have an AMOLED screen (which Samsung builds, so why not?) and will allow support for MasterCard Paypass (their Tap and Go payment system).


Google-experience may not be an expression you've heard defined lately, but back when Android phones first launched, it was a major discussion point whether or not a particular phone was merely an Android phone, an Android phone with Google apps licensed, or a Google-experience phone.

Google-experience meant the handset had the Google logo printed right on it (like this Samsung i6500U at right, which was released last December), all the Google mobile apps were pre-loaded, and the manufacturer and carrier could not restrict the user's access to the Android Market.  Google also had other conditions both maker and service provider had to meet to use their branding.

Samsung has been fairly wedded to its own TouchWiz user interface, rather than stock Android, and many writers interpret "Google-experience" to mean the latter.  But the issue isn't whether the Android OS is customized, just whether the Google apps are all present, fully functional, and the user isn't prevented from accessing or updating them or other any other apps.  (Think about a certain a search engine named after a cherry that's been showing up on some Verizon phones in place of another one that rhymes with "frugal."  That's an example of what could make a device short on Google-experience.)  


After all, Motorola is another manufacturer with its own UI called Motoblur, and despite a lighter version of the Blur on its DROID X, there's the same "with Google" branding on the X's back as well.  (See photo at left: the branding is in the lower right corner.)  Say what you want about the DX, but nobody would call it stock Android.

Why am I going on about what is and is not a Google-experience phone?  Because this rumor comes from a Taylor Wimberly piece where he says Samsung will have this new Google-experience phone without any TouchWiz UI.  And by Google-experience, he means stock Android.

Well, hold on.  HTC's G1 and Nexus One were stock Android phones, developed with Google's guidance.  HTC's Desire HD and Desire Z have yet another UI, called Sense.  Those phones says "With HTC Sense" on the back.  There is an in between.  Samsung could very well be coming up with a new Android smartphone without TouchWiz, but there are two reasons that could explain why they're doing so:

  1. Samsung has already hired a new User Interface expert, Jung Ji-Hong.  Maybe they aren't getting rid of TouchWiz because stock Android is better.  Maybe they're replacing TouchWiz with something better.
  2. Gingerbread. The new Android OS will have some major UI improvements.  While Android 2.1 and 2.2 aren't being used as case studies for excellent design, the newest flavor has some major talent behind it.

And Wimberly clearly states the new Samsung phone he heard about will be another early Gingerbread adopter.  The much-discussed Motorola "Terminator" phone (it was Wimberly who gave it that nickname) was rumored to be the first one out the gate with Gingerbread, but now he's not so sure.  Motorola isn't saying their phone (now being called Olympus in the Android blogosphere) will be stock Android Gingerbread, so it may be delayed while it gets some custom skinning.  If Samsung isn't going to change their new phone's UI, perhaps they will debut the new OS.

There's a lot to Wimberly's article where he explains how he figured out Samsung was up to something with a new phone this quarter.  It makes for interesting reading, so do check it out.

Source: Android and Me