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Google’s Sameer Samat Discusses Ecosystems, Regulation, Competition

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In what could be a pivotal year for Google, with the rise of AI and the accelerated efforts of Bing and Yahoo to get back into the search landscape with more viability, Sameer Samat discussed the approach in 2023 within his role as head of Android’s product and design team, as well as design and engineering for Google Play and Wear OS.

“People don’t just buy a phone anymore, they buy into an ecosystem” Samat said, during an interview with TechCrunch. “It’s not been the case that every major manufacturer has offered a full portfolio. I think that’s super important. It’s really important that those devices work well together. We’ve had this effort that we call “Better Together” for a while, and we’re working on a number of things that help these devices interoperate.”

Samat also talked about Apple’s iOS, their main competitor, and if Android looks at what Apple has done when they build out features.

“From a consumer standpoint, it’s very clear that people have more devices in their life” Samat said.

“The average U.S. household has 20-plus connected devices in their home. We hear feedback from consumers, and individual manufacturers have implemented these things. Usually on these things, some Android manufacturer has gone and done it first. The reverse happens a lot of times. Apple sees something they think is cool and copies it that way — always-on displays. The difference is: Can you do it widely across the ecosystem? Can you do it where you can cross pair between different devices from different manufacturers, and can you do it at scale.”

The executive also discussed Apple’s focus on Health and also Samsung and Wear OS gaining a lot of market share, and if it means a lot more adoptions are on the horizon.

“Yeah. There are a lot more people buying Wear OS devices, and there will be a lot more devices coming from other partners this year” Samat continued.

Samat also addressed the declines in smartphone sales, that hit before the pandemic and have only accelerated over the last few years.

“The market is definitely changing and reaching a new phase” Samat explains.

“I don’t know that year over year sales is quite the right way to look at this […] There will always be sales of new phones. But I think you’re now reaching the point where this is, for many people, it is their primary computing device. So, there are different and more interesting ways of looking at the market. I think in terms of what are you able to do with these devices? What does engagement look like? What are the services that you’re utilizing? And how is it integrated with other parts of your life? We talked about tablets and we talked about watches, but why are you getting a tablet or watch? It might be all about productivity for you or entertainment. That could be replacing the time you spent watching a big screen television or it could be that you’re using the watch for fitness. In some ways, the watch becomes like the new pair of running shoes. It’s like that promise to yourself that you’re gonna get in shape.”

You can read the entire interview over at TechCrunch.

 

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