This is especially significant because the Google apps bind tightly together. Google has apps for pretty much all the most important functions on a phone or tablet — email, messaging, maps, storage, browsing, reading the news, finding and consuming media — and they are interlocked so that tasks flow naturally from one app to the next.
Users generally welcome that kind of consistency across software — just ask an iPhone user — and Google sees this as an opportunity to improve the quality of the Android community that has been plagued by fragmentation. However, it’s an awful lot of Google. It means Android is becoming more like an uber-Google experience than an underlying operating system topped with a selection of apps.
I would be very happy to see this. I voice my disdain for TouchWiz far too often, and as Google’s own apps get better, I don’t see any advantage to redesigning, or rewriting apps, especially skeuomorphically like Samsung have done. Recent leaks of new versions of Samsung’s Android UI have shown improvements, but they still take away the essence of Google, which is wrong. An “uber-Google experience” would be far from a bad thing. Samsung have the capacity to innovate in hardware, so it’d be nice to see them focus on improving that, after all, I’d rather see revolutions in design, than unnecessary ones in software.
Samsung need to restrain their software teams. By all means, they should add useful features and make suitable tweaks all around, to make it their own, but they don’t need every app to be homegrown.