By Senior Analyst Gerrit Schneeman
On the new Galaxy S7 handsets, users are able to share their current location and estimated time of arrival (ETA) with others from the My Places widget and the Car Mode app for a limited time. A software update will bring the same features to older Samsung devices, like the Galaxy S6 or Note 5.
This is Samsung’s second partnership to make location services a part of the user experience on Galaxy devices. The company also partners with HERE for a navigation application for the Gear S smartwatches.
Samsung is looking for ways to differentiate its handsets from other Android handset makers and bring an innovative user experience to market in competition with the iPhone. Location services are an area where the company does not have to compete with other well established apps and services, in music or video, for example.
Because Glympse is integrated into the Samsung user interface, on-boarding to the service is frictionless. The availability of a dedicated widget for the home screen keeps the service in the conscience of the user, increasing the chance for continued usage.
The integration with Car Mode allows Samsung to highlight the capabilities of S Voice. It presents another option for users to use a Samsung capability, instead of the voice recognition engine provided by Google.
The partnerships with HERE and Glympse show that Samsung is keen on bringing contextual services to the users of its handsets out-of-the box. HTC is trying to do the same with the integration of Foursquare content on the home screen. In this case, the handset is supposed to provide recommendations at the right time, for lunch for example, without the user having to open an application first, and as part of the BlinkFeed user interface.
While the integration of HERE mapping content on Gear S devices is geared to present a new use case for smartwatches, the Glympse integration is an everyday-use feature for owners of the latest Galaxy devices. It also does not require additional hardware and addresses a specific user need: the need to let family or colleagues know where they are at the moment and how long it will take to get where they are supposed to be.