Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S8 could miss out on the company’s new Viv assistant due to an ongoing deal with Google. A patent-sharing settlement Samsung entered into in 2014 prevents the South Korean company from offering services that compete with Google’s own.
Until recently, Samsung was able to get around some of the restrictions of this agreement because its Galaxy devices were significantly outselling their closest competitors. But with the Galaxy Note 7 dying out early and rival companies catching up, that’s changed.
Samsung can no longer rely on this argument, and it’s going to make it difficult for the company to differentiate the Galaxy S8 in today’s market, according to Edison Investment Research analyst Richard Windsor.
“This leaves Viv out in the cold, and it appears that Samsung aims to use it as part of making search and discovery on the device more intelligent, which is something Google Assistant does not really do,” Windsor told The Register.
“Viv has been demonstrated as a very clever assistant that understands complex multipart questions as well as context, but Samsung will be unable to do anything meaningful with this functionality on Android devices.”
It’s thought Viv was destined to be the Galaxy S8’s biggest selling point — a feature that separates the device from competing handsets. But Windsor believes Samsung will now have to sell the device without that differentiation.
Samsung is yet to respond to Windsor’s claims, so it’s probably best we take them with a pinch of salt for now. For all we know, the company may have already reached a deal with Google to sidestep the patent-sharing deal and make Viv available.