Android, wearable tech to get boost from Google-Samsung patent deal, analysts say

But whether it is going to do anything for Samsung's disputes with Apple remains to be seen

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

The Android ecosystem and wearable technology will probably get a boost from the patent deal Google and Samsung have struck, but the agreement is unlikely to have an influence on Samsung's intellectual property disputes with Apple, analysts said Monday.

Google and Samsung announced Sunday that they had reached a global cross-license deal for existing and future patents for the next 10 years. The companies said they want to reduce the potential for litigation and instead focus on innovation. The deal also paves the way for a deeper collaboration on research and development of current and future technologies, they said.

The deal makes a lot of sense for both Google and Samsung, agreed several analysts on Monday.

First of all, it is going to boost development of the Android ecosystem.

"It does make a lot of sense for Samsung and Google to work together more closely. Samsung is really the engine that drives Android, Google's operating system," said Tim Coulling, senior analyst at Canalys. Samsung is a big company with huge financial resources and if those are used to invest with Google in R&D for the future of Android that can only be a positive thing, he added.

Samsung had 34 percent of the smartphone market in the third quarter of 2013 and shipped 85.5 million units globally, according to Canalys figures. Samsung also shipped 42.4 percent of the world's Android handsets, and 99.9 percent of all Samsung's handsets are Android-based. "So you can see why forming an alliance with Google that is going to last 10 years is a very good move for them," Coulling said.

Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa Telecoms & Media, agreed that the deal could benefit Android. "The combined R&D muscle of Google and Samsung, and their ability to innovate, is unparalleled," he said in an email, adding that the deal "is going to send shivers down the spines" of manufacturers that are not part of a major ecosystem, which would include Sony, HTC, Huawei and ZTE.

In addition to giving a boost to Android, there are other benefits from such a deal because it also covers patents for other, future technology, analysts said.

Google is currently investing in wearable technology, most notably in Google Glass, and Samsung could benefit from Google's innovations in that market, noted Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight. It will be good for Samsung to have access to that intellectual property, he said.

Having a good cross-licensing agreement early on could limit future litigation in the wearables market, he added.

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