More details about the next Samsung flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S6, have trickled onto the web, this time courtesy of a post on SamMobile. Apparently in addition to removing the metric ton of bloatware that typically infests its phones, Samsung may be shipping the Galaxy S6 with a suite of Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Office Mobile.
According to the post, the Galaxy S6 will feature Android versions of OneNote, OneDrive, the aforementioned Office Mobile, and Skype. Moreover, the post says that Microsoft will provide free subscriptions to Office 365 – though, it’s not clear whether or not that’s going to be exclusive to Galaxy S6 buyers, or if that’s part of Microsoft’s forthcoming plans with mobile versions of Office.
Interestingly, the Galaxy S6’s pre-installed Microsoft apps could signal that Microsoft and Samsung are getting so chummy as a way to combat Google together. Samsung has famously been trying to distance itself from Google in various small ways – like continuing to develop Tizen, its Android alternative, and by releasing Tizen-based smartwatches (with only one Android Wear device in the underwhelming Gear Live). Microsoft, of course, has been trying to beat Google at its own game with its Bing search engine, Windows Phone platform, and – perhaps arguably – its line of Surface tablets to fight back against the growing threat of Chromebooks and the Chrome OS.
Android phones come with Google Drive and the various productivity apps that Google made to ape Microsoft’s suite – Docs, Sheets, and Slides being corollaries to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. That Samsung would ink a deal with Microsoft to provide mobile versions of the original applications is telling – though we may not know for sure about the deal’s ultimate significance for quite a while, if ever. Could this signal the coming of a Windows Phone handset made by Samsung? Could Samsung set up a revenue sharing deal for app sales?
Meanwhile, the post adds some more information about how Samsung will downplay the usual junk it crams into TouchWiz, saying that the UI will be “amazingly fast when compared to Android Lollipop on the Galaxy Note 4,” and that it’s also “adopted a lot of animations and effects that debuted on Lollipop.”
We’ll know a whole lot more about what Samsung has in store for the world with the Galaxy S6 on March 1, as execs will take the stage at MWC in Barcelona to extoll the new flagship phone’s various virtues. As to whether or not the S6 will truly help bring Samsung back to the top spot in the mobile industry – for that, we’ll have to wait and see.