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Google only agreed to work on Android 12L if Samsung made a foldable every year

Google wanted Samsung to prove its commitment by following through on one big request.
By
September 6, 2022
samsung galaxy z fold 4 youtube folded 2
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • Samsung and Google formed a partnership to create the foldable-focused Android 12L.
  • Google saw the development of Android 12L as a large commitment and wanted a similar level of commitment from Samsung.
  • Google asked Samsung to produce a foldable per year before agreeing to work on Android 12L.

Although IFA 2022 has come to a close, it seems there’s still news trickling out of the event. The latest news comes from a round table discussion Samsung had with international media about its partnership with Google on Android 12L and one big demand Samsung had to agree to.

According to Frandroid, Samsung VP Yoojin Hong talked with the media about the first conversations it had with Google about creating an OS suited for its first foldable device.

At the beginning of the interview, Hong reminisces about how early discussions were filled with enthusiasm:

Every time we have a new form factor, we have to work with Google. At first, the exchanges are above all about enthusiasm. I remember when we had our very first conversation with the product team at Google and the product team at Samsung, with managers, software developers, etc., everyone around the table started talking about this project very enthusiastically. And as a developer, it was a very nice feeling, it was full of passion, full of ‘wow this is awesome.’ It was exciting, because we felt like we were working on a real innovation at the time.

Later in the interview, Hong gets into what Google wanted from Samsung in return for working on a foldable focused OS. According to Hong, from providing application programming interfaces (APIs) to maintenance, Google saw working on Android 12L as a big commitment on their end. As a result, Google wanted Samsung to show a similar level of commitment before starting work on the interface.

This commitment would come in the form of an agreement from Samsung. If Google was to develop Android 12L, then Samsung would have to produce a new foldable every year. Hong went on to explain:

Are we going to continue to produce this phone every year? It was their question. It was obviously very complicated to answer them, we are talking about technology. We didn’t know what was going to happen the year we ship the device, something crazy could happen, anything was possible. But we are fully committed, we have decided to say that we will go through and overcome these difficulties. So we said we were going to do it. We made a commitment at this meeting. It was a nice feeling, you know, to say, ‘yes, we’ll do it!’

As to why Google would request this of Samsung, Hong didn’t elaborate. However, we know that Google has been working on its own foldable for a while now. It would be plausible that Google wanted Samsung to spearhead the foldable movement to possibly smooth out the road for the release of its own device.