Is Samsung really cloning all the Google Apps?

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Last year, there was an image floating around the net, supposedly showing all the cloned apps that Samsung has made of the Google apps.  Today, there’s an updated one for 2014 with even MORE apps in it.  The claim is that Samsung is cloning existing Google apps and making their own.  Then the people passing this around are espousing some kind of evil intent on the part of Samsung.

Let’s examine each one.  First, here’s a listing of all the apps in the popular meme going around:

SamsungGoogleApps

Now, on each line, let’s highlight which app came out first in green… the Samsung app or the Google app:

SamsungGoogleAppsGreen

As you can see, the vast majority of these apps came from Samsung first, NOT Google!  So, now that you know that, you can help the proliferation of the actual truth by:

  1. Not spreading the false information.
  2. Correcting people when THEY spread the false information.

Additionally, not all of these apps are direct comparisons and in many of them, the Samsung version has minor or major advantages.

Some apps that need special mention…

Camera vs. Camera

The Samsung camera app was not only out YEARS before the Google camera was released to the play store for all phones, but the Samsung camera is actually quite good.  In fact, it’s superior to the Google camera app in functionality.  It was won much praise.  Now, it’s not better on ALL accounts, but it WAS first.  The Google camera has the much coveted PhotoSphere feature though.

Chrome vs. “Internet”

Chrome was only recently released.  Before that, Samsung HAD to provide a browser and they could NOT provide Chrome… because it didn’t exist!  Also, Samsung’s browser has a few features that Chrome doesn’t like the ability to scroll pages by simply nodding your head without touching the screen.

Chromecast vs. Samsung Link

Again, Samsung Link was out YEARS before Chromecast.  Additionally, the two are not directly comparable.  Chromecast is intended for use with additional hardware.  Samsung Link was designed to communicate with multiple devices.

Google “Device Policy” vs. Samsung “Knox”

Aside from being first (not a clone), Samsung Knox and Google “Device Policy” are not exactly the same thing, though there IS some overlap.  Samsung Knox has two primary features:

  1. Divide the user’s phone into two, untouching environments (work vs. personal) so apps and settings in one don’t affect the other.
  2. Provide very strong security to give Samsung devices the OK from corporate I.T. departments, giving them the ability to control the “work” side of the user’s phone without interfering with the user’s personal side.

Google’s “Google Apps Device Policy” is intended for admins and users of Google Apps.  It does not divide a phone into a work area and a personal area AND it arrived AFTER Samsung Knox.

NOTE:  Android L will be incorporating Samsung’s Knox security.  Not only did Samsung NOT copy Google, not only was Samsung FIRST, but Google is now taking actual parts of Samsung Knox and embedding it into the base Android OS.

GMail vs. Samsung “EMail”

Yet again, Samsung was first with their EMail client (as was every other Android device maker).  GMail is a relatively newcomer to the Android E-Mail client scene.

Also, the GMail app works ONLY with GMail.  It does NOT work with any other E-Mail service.  Samsung’s E-Mail app is a general purpose E-Mail client app.  it works with ALL POP3 and IMAP email (including GMail).  It also works with Microsoft Exchange.  In addition to that, it also enforces Exchange’s security policies.

These apps are only barely comparable, but, as stated above, Samsung’s E-Mail client was out YEARS before GMail.

Google vs. S-Voice

Do I need to say this?  OK, I’ll do it just to be complete:  S-Voice was out long before Google’s app.  S-Voice was available as far back as AT LEAST the Galaxy S2 (as of this writing, the S5 is the current Galaxy phone).  That’s several years ago.  “Google Now” came out YEARS later.

Additionally, S-Voice has more local features than Google’s app does for integrating with the phone.  “Google Now” is slowly catching up though on the local features, but is still not there yet.   They overlap in many areas and each has features the other doesn’t.  S-Voice is also FASTER than “Google Now” in search test results.

Hangouts vs. Chat-On

Google Hangouts is another relatively NEW comer to the game.  Chat-On has been around longer AND it integrates with more chat services.  Hangouts uses ONLY Google chat services.

Keep Vs. S-Note

Not only has S-Note been out since AT LEAST the Galaxy S2 and Google Keep only recently came out, but S-Note’s functionality is vastly superior to Google Keep.  S-Note is a highly functional and very mature note taking app.  Google Keep is like notepad in comparison.

Google Photos vs. Samsung Gallery

Google Photos only came out in very recent history.  Samsung Gallery has been out almost since the beginning of Android time.

Google Play Games vs. Samsung S-Console

Once again, Samsung’s was out first.  It may be confusing to some people because S-Console went by another name in prior version.

Google “Play Movies & TV” vs. Samsung “Watch On”

As with everything else, Samsung was first.  BUT, these two apps shouldn’t really be compared.  Samsung’s “Watch On” is an app that turns a Samsung Galaxy S4 or S5 (and I think some of the Samsung Note models) into a universal remote control for your TVs, DVD players, and other set top devices using the IR blaster built into certain Android devices.  Google “Play Movies & TV” is essentially digital media online store.

Google “Remote Control” vs. Samsung “Smart remote”

Yet again, Samsung was first, but again, these two apps shouldn’t be compared.  The Google app is really called, “Remote Control for Google TV”.  It’s an app that lets you control your Google TV device (which is so new, it’s umbilical cord hasn’t even been cut yet.  Samsung Smart Remote is essentially a scaled down version of “Watch On”.

There’s a growing, vocal community of people that really really hate Samsung.  Some of it is justified and some of it is not.  One of the memes that just won’t stop is that Samsung is going in a direction away from Google.  That may or may not be true, but the evidence provided to support that claim is the false list above.

In fact, almost all Android phone makers provide many NON Google versions of these apps, especially a browser and e-mail client, because until recently, Google provided no browser and they STILL don’t provide a general use e-mail client.  Other apps that ARE overlaps of Google apps are so, with both Samsung and others, because there WERE NO Google equivalents when those apps were made.

Editorial

All of the above was just historical facts.  The following is a bit of opinion…

Even if Samsung were or is intentionally making an ecosystem that doesn’t rely on Google, can you blame them?  Well, sure, you CAN.  But SHOULD you?  Does it make sense for ANY company to have so much of their business rely upon another company that’s not under their control?  of course not.  Every company wants to be in control of their own destiny.  So, I personally do not blame Samsung IF that is what they’re doing.

Now, what about the CUSTOMERS?  What’s best for THEM?  Is it a GOOD or a BAD thing for customers IF Samsung is actually INTENTIONALLY positioning themselves to survive WITHOUT relying on Google?

Of course.  Why?  Because if you’ve read this far, you are clearly an Android supporter and if you support Android, you almost certainly support it for many reasons, one of the big ones being that Android provides CHOICE.  Not just choice for something other than Apple, but choice WITHIN the Android platform.  If Google Maps is the ONLY mapping program out there, then you have no choice but to use it.  BUT, if there is competition, even IF you choose to continue to use ONLY the Google version, the mere existence of the competition will keep Google on their toes and incorporate features sooner than they would have had the competition not done it AND will cause Google to add features they may not have thought of to start with.

Competition and choice are GOOD things and THAT’S why you love Android.  NO ONE IS FORCING YOU USE THE SAMSUNG APPS NOR EVEN TO BUY A SAMSUNG PHONE!  Even if you want the Samsung hardware, but not the apps, YOU CAN DO THAT!  (if you root it, of course).

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Dragon Touch Tablet–High End Hardware–Low End Price

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DragonTouchTablet

This is going to be a quick and short review.  The Dragon Touch 9.7” Android tablet by TabletExpress (as U.S. company) has fairly high hardware specs considering its low price of $179.99.  Most tablets that size are much more expensive.  But, it’s not just a 9.7” screen tablet, it also has a ridiculously high resolution of 2048×1536 (again, hi res for that price).  It also sports a Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core.

Here are the specs:

  • 9.7” screen
  • 2,048×1,536 pixels “Retina” display
  • Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core
  • Front and rear cameras
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • HDMI port
  • Headphone jack
  • SD card slot, up to 64GB
  • 12v DC proprietary adapter
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 16GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • Wifi

Here’s an unboxing of it:

The Good:

  • 9.7” screen
  • 2,048×1,536 pixels “Retina” display
  • Rockchips RK3188 Quad Core Cortex A9 CPU at 1.8Ghz per core
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • HDMI port
  • SD card slot, up to 64GB
  • Screen Protector

Remember, this “goodness” is all based on getting this for $179.99.

You almost never see a screen larger than 7 inches for this price.  Remember, the Nexus 7 is only 7 inches, only has a resolution of 1920×1200, same amount of RAM and internal storage, and is only 1.5Ghz and NO SD card slot for expandability and IT costs $229.  Hardware wise, this thing kicks butt, especially for the price.

That screen resolution of 2,048 x 1,536 is insanely high for such a cheap tablet.  Even many more expensive tablets don’t even have that resolution.

The processor is a fairly fast Quad Core with a higher clock speed than what you get with the much more expensive (and small) Nexus 7.

It has an HDMI port so you can view it directly on your computer monitor or HDTV.  That can turn it into a game console or a cheap way to show the family photos and videos while on the go or to give presentations.

The Micro USB port is both a pro and a con.  Since we’re in the “Good” section, let’s focus on the good.  This is pretty standard on Android devices and any device without a MicroUSB port would be a joke.

It comes with 2GB of RAM and 8, 16, or 32GB of storage.  I’m reviewing the 16GB version here.  It also has a Micro SD card slot so you can add up to 64GB of more storage.  “Officially” it supports up to 32GB, but reviews on Amazon.com say that 64GB cards do indeed work.

The build quality is pretty robust too.  It doesn’t feel like a light piece of plastic.  This thing is solid.

It also comes with a screen protector already installed for you!

Google Play:

Yes!  This tablet has all the Google Goodness, including the Google Play store.  I do have to mention this because many tablets in this price range do NOT have any of the Google software and lack the Google Play store.

The Bad:

  • Front and rear cameras
  • MicroUSB port (data only, not for charging)
  • 12v DC proprietary adapter
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

Let me first say that the good outweighs the bad.  I highly recommend this tablet.

BUT!  It’s not perfect.  For example, the front and rear cameras are both only 2 megapixels and the quality is not that great.  So, you’re not going to use this for keepsake photos and videos, but it’s good enough for scanning barcodes and doing video chats.

The MicroUSB port does NOT charge the device!  This is a pretty important thing to note because to charge it, you have to use their supplied, proprietary charger with a  very short 2 foot cord.

Also, the OS is not the latest.  It comes preinstalled with Android 4.2 Jellybean.  Today’s version of Android is 4.4.4 Kit Kat and the next major release, code named “Android L” is just around the corner.  I can’t confirm this, but rumors are that there will be no updates for this.  BUT, Jelly Bean 4.2 is a robust and powerful version of Android and as long as you update Google Play Services from the Google Play store, you’re going to get most of the important updates from Google.

In spite of the powerful hardware, it’s quite laggy and choppy.  My wife hasn’t complained, but my son noticed and I noticed and the reviewers on Amazon noticed.  Read below on “Make it better” for a fix.

The Box Contents:

There’s absolutely no paperwork or manuals in the box.  You get the tablet, the charger, a Micro USB to standard USB (PC to tablet) cable, and a USB PC female adapter cable.  I mean, one end plugs into the MicroUSB data port on your tablet and the other end is an open USB female port so you can plug in things like PC mice, keyboards, and external hard drives.

Make it Better:

For the technically capable… You can root this tablet with TPSparkyRoot.  Once rooted, you can then flash an alternative firmware (more commonly mislabeled as a “ROM”) and reports are that it makes this thing liquid smooth, like butter.

Conclusion:

For the money, you’ll have a really hard time finding this much bang for the buck.  With the screen resolution so high, and a decent enough size screen, you can even remote control your high-end desktop PCs with it.   –>Get it here<–

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