Essential's VP: at Google, we were bummed that Android has to go 'through the Samsung lens'

Rebecca Zavin, who is now a vice president of software engineering at Essential, but used to work in developing Android's hardware stacks for Google, recently sat down for an interview, and revealed some pretty interesting tidbits. Among the comment that they are working on getting Android 8.0 Oreo on the Essential Phone as soon as possible, and bringing the phone itself to more global markets in due course, was hidden this gem:

In a nutshell, it must be frustrating for Google's Android devs that the fast and efficient (albeit not that visually slick) mobile operating system they are constantly developing, is hidden underneath the Samsung Experience UI for a lot of users in the most globally visible markets. Granted, the new interface on Samsung's phones is a big improvement over previous editions, but it still brings with it a certain amount of overengineering that the lean Android team usually sniffs at.

Related phones

  • Display 5.7" 1312 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3040 mAh



1. Hollowmost

Posts: 425; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

My s8 on Oreo got faster , can keep up 20 apps open , boot up time is less than a half it was on nougat .....

6. rubyonrails3

Posts: 375; Member since: Oct 01, 2014

All attributes to Oreo as Pixel 2 XL is the fastest phone to boot.

2. aegislash

Posts: 1531; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Her quote should have been: "At Google, we were bummed that Android had to go through the Samsung lens...but we also had no problem waiting for Samsung to introduce new features before implementing them into stock Android." Let's be real here....without Samsung, Android would not be what it is today.

7. haruken

Posts: 308; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Exactly. Multi window Enhanced notification center Picture in picture Always on And so on.

12. bucky

Posts: 3795; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

Hate to break it to you guys but these features were done by modders back in the day first. Most of these things were in custom roms first.

15. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Also a lot of the customization comes from the jailbreak community.

23. Macready

Posts: 1830; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

Yeah, modders made Knox first too. /s Google works with Samsung to update Android. Not modders.

26. Dr.SamX

Posts: 245; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

True, but how many people actually use custom roms? These things wwere made available to the masses by sammy...

13. toukale

Posts: 668; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Let's be real, nothing that is going on smartphone ui/ux is innovative or groundbreaking. All those things have been done on pc's for ages, and those things were not done there by Samsung. We are simply porting those things from pc's to smartphones. In Samsung case, since they can't make their own os to save their life, they can instead spend their time porting those things faster on top of all the hardware Google have done. Wake me up when Samsung is shipping all their devices with their own made mobile os.

14. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

It doesn't work that way. Google implements a feature once multiple manufacturers start doing it to keep things uniform across Android. They're trying to keep Android as lean as possible for average consumers while allowing those who want more to customize it for themselves. I think that's the right approach.

3. DRS1977

Posts: 679; Member since: May 27, 2015

I for one prefer Experience UI to boring stock vanilla Android. Android keeps taking from what Samsung has had for years already.

5. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014


9. Peacetoall unregistered

same here stock android looks and feel boring.

4. Obádárà

Posts: 218; Member since: Nov 02, 2015


8. jellmoo

Posts: 2660; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

"...albeit not that visually slick..." Seriously?

10. CableTelcontar

Posts: 98; Member since: Nov 19, 2014

They've been parroting those lines for so long they can't help but believe them. My first Samsung android device wss the Galaxy Mega. Then I got an Xperia Z2 once that came out. I couldn't wait to get back to Touchwiz. It was so much better to me. I just have never figured out what these reviewers never liked about it.

17. Awalker

Posts: 1986; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

It's the same reason why people like iOS. They want something simple and efficient.

11. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

If Stock Android is boring then what do you call iOS?

16. Cicero

Posts: 1149; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Super boring? Mega boring? The most boring OS?

21. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

At least ios has some accents. stock android is kinda have factory rough looks straight forward for function.

24. BuffaloSouce unregistered

I’m able to do just about everything on my 6S that I was doing in my S8 when I had it. If your phone is “boring” maybe it’s time to put it down and go out and interact with the real world

27. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I have a 6s plus and I don't think it's boring I like iOS for being fast refined and simplistic. I have enjoyed all of the phones in my portfolio, you should look at the phones someone has or has had before you make such a comment, BTW it's cold as f**k outside so I'll be staying in bored or not lol.

18. JimmieCrakCorn

Posts: 143; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

Sour grapes. Low-talent Team Essential will never amount to anything when they grow up. I bet their next phone will be just another ho-hum product that won't even come close to being on par with Samsung... that is if they're still in business for that long.

19. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

"We try to stick to what the user’s need by building something that has the same attention to detail and quality from a hardware perspective..." If you really want to stick to what the user wants or needs, then give us a headphone jack and expandable memory. If not, then your quote is just corporate BS.

20. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

If Samsung remove the fluff yes I would prefer their UI looks than stock UI.

22. wesley.

Posts: 217; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

The stock android experience used to be rather barebones and not user friendly. Through copying the likes of Samsung, Google have improved this a lot.

25. prd2bsrb

Posts: 13; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

Stock Android is too plain for me. My Note 8 is just perfect the way it is out of the box. I think the Samsung experience just looks awesome. And I'm sure when Samsung releases the Oreo update it will be free of all the little bugs that every new OS experiences and my Note 8 will be even better. Thank you Samsung!

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