Home » Blogs » Are All Android Smartphones Created Equal? Nope, Ask Samsung.
September 28, 2023

Google’s Android is an operating system (OS) that powers smartphones. It is an open-source OS that manufacturers and vendors can use to modify the software on their smartphones. Each manufacturer may use its own version of the open-source Android OS and make changes depending on customer requirements, hardware features, software development cycles, brand management, etc. Mostly, collecting data from an Android smartphone is not a cookie-cutter operation.

The Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) is the Android open-source experience. AOSP does not include proprietary Google apps like Gmail, Google Maps, Play Store, or YouTube. If a manufacturer wants to add Google’s proprietary apps to their smartphone offering, it must license them from Google. The Android OS with Google apps is generally called “stock Android.”

Samsung Electronics, a subsidiary of Samsung, a South Korean multinational company, makes extensive changes to the stock Android OS installed on its line of Samsung Galaxy smartphones. The changes comprise Samsung’s “One UI” software.

One UI

One UI software is Samsung’s user interface developed for its Android phones running Android 9 (Pie) and above. It powers all Galaxy smartphones, from the Galaxy A54 5G to the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 series.

One UI software is popularly known as a Google skin. It functions differently from other manufacturers’ Google skins, such as OnePlus’ Oxygen OS skin and Google’s Pixel UI skin. On Samsung Galaxy smartphones, you can install and run any Android apps from the Play Store and install and run apps developed only for One UI from the Galaxy Store.

Samsung uses One UI 5 skin with Android 13. One UI 6, now in beta, will support Android 14, also in beta. One UI 5 adds many features to Samsung Galaxy phones, such as Samsung DeX, which extends the smartphone experience to a PC or Mac desktop and maintenance mode that prevents access to pictures, messages, accounts, and other personal data. Other features include using different languages for each app, the ability to hide apps and keyboard expression buttons. Samsung also installs its messaging app, which is different from Google’s, uses a proprietary design for emojis, and adds security features built into device hardware, collectively called the Knox Platform.

Compare Samsung Messages to Google Messages

Samsung smartphones come with two installed messaging apps, one by Samsung and another by Google. Which one is better? Users can choose their preferred app, but that preference can matter when collecting data.

When you swipe to archive messages in Google Messages, the app moves them to the archive folder. However, you can customize swiping to delete the messages. Samsung Messages app lacks this feature as it doesn’t have an archive folder.

Google automatically sorts messages into Personal, Transactions, Offers, and OTP (One-Time Passwords) categories. Samsung gives you the ability to add categories manually. You can separate personal and business messages with categories and add contacts to the labels.

You can recover deleted Samsung messages from the trash menu within 30 days. When you delete messages using Google’s app, they are not recoverable from the user interface.

Google can automatically delete one-time password messages 24 hours after they are issued. Samsung messages do not have a similar feature, but you can automatically delete old messages, depending on the device. For example, after a threshold number of texts, you can automatically delete messages on a Samsung G20

Distinguish Samsung and Android Emojis

If you decode emojis to describe emotion or intent in the context of messages, Samsung devices may surprise you. Samsung uses a different emoji design than other Android devices. The Samsung Galaxy and Galaxy Note series include glossy emojis. In One UI 5 software, you can create new emoji pairs from emojis and animations and combine animal, food, everyday objects, and facial expressions using the preinstalled Samsung Keyboard rather than Google Gboard. 

Samsung users may also see some emojis displayed in their Google set design but not their Samsung set. Android supports AppCompat, which shows a Google emoji design inside an app or web browser before a Samsung device may provide support for that particular emoji.

Always note that Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp apps use their emoji designs instead of Samsung or Google emojis.

Samsung Galaxy Stores, Apps, and Ecosystem

Besides Samsung messaging, Galaxy smartphones come with preinstalled default apps, including the Samsung Keyboard instead of Google Gboard, Samsung Contacts rather than Google Contacts, and other apps like Samsung Notes, Messages, Camera, Gallery, File Manager, Calculator, etc. These apps will include features and functions not found on other Android phones.

You can download apps and games from Google’s Play Store and The Galaxy Store. You will not find apps from the Galaxy Store on other manufacturers’ smartphones.

Samsung also has its ecosystem. You can pair a Galaxy Watch and a Galaxy laptop, known as a Galaxy Book, to share text messages, notifications, and other information.

Samsung Knox Platform

Galaxy devices support the Samsung Knox Platform, a defense-grade security platform with a secure processor to protect against physical attacks. Galaxy smartphones’ trusted execution environment separates security-critical code from the Android operating system and apps. The separation isolates and protects trusted processes from attacks and exploits, allowing them to perform sensitive operations, such as user authentication, key encryption, and decryption. Trusted environments perform integrity checks before executing any software. The trusted environment runs a different OS alongside Android on the primary application processor. The Knox Vault adds another layer of security.

The Knox Vault operates independently from the primary Android OS processor. The Vault runs in an isolated, tamper-proof, secure subsystem with a dedicated processor and memory and a direct interface to non-volatile, secure storage. Knox Vault can store sensitive data, such as hardware-backed Android Keystore keys, the Samsung Attestation Key (SAK), biometric data, and blockchain credentials. It can run security-critical code that authenticates users with increasing timeouts between failures and controls access to keys depending on authentication.

Most e-discovery collection tools must keep up with iterations of Android OS, Google Apps, and other manufacturers’ apps. The tools must also navigate device-specific security features. But ModeOne’s self-service (SaaS) framework empowers users to efficiently collect and analyze vital evidence stored on Android and short-message chat applications using its automated, defensible, secure, and cost-certain workflow without regard to the Android OS version and device-specific security features. Book a demo today.