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Samsung’s back on top, but Apple’s gunning for Android’s crown in this week’s news

Apple, Google, and Samsung have had a bit of a bizarre love triangle going on in recent months, with the California companies brokering a deal to end AirTag stalking, and the Android cohorts combining their AirPlay alternatives into a unified platform. But that hasn’t stopped the trio from competing amongst itself, and this week, Samsung snatched the crown from Apple, while the latter seems set on dulling the emulator edge Google has honed for Android. Meanwhile, Google’s hoping an internal shakeup can right the ship, but it’s sending mixed signals with Maps, and its Pixel plans seem to have sprung a leak.

At the beginning of 2024, Apple took the title of world’s largest smartphone maker after 13 years of Samsung holding the spot. But release cycles create an ebb and flow pattern in smartphone sales, and Samsung moving its stylus-sporting top-tier model from a late-year announcement to a launch alongside the Galaxy S series in 2022 has likely resulted in higher peaks and lower valleys.

But this week, Samsung reclaimed its crown, with hype from September’s iPhone 15 launch having fizzled out. Analysts have attributed some of Samsung’s sales resurgence to strong interest in Galaxy AI, and to the company’s credit, it’s expanding availability of these features rather than keeping them S24-exclusive as a selling point. And while Samsung doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, especially with new foldables on the horizon and a major midrange phone finally coming to the US, Apple’s next iPhone release looms this fall, so we might be shuffling the leader board around again come winter.

With its eye no doubt on those same sales figures that have Samsung smiling this week, Apple will be looking to bring more people into its walled garden, as it always does. One market segment where it could see some gains is Android’s retro gaming faithful, who have largely only had one choice in mobile operating systems before now.

But regulatory pressure from the EU has Apple reconsidering some of its App Store policies, and it changed its stance on emulators last week. We weren’t sure the new policy was going to open the floodgates at first, and concerns still linger over Apple’s rules around game ROMs, but we’re already starting to see a sweeping change. Testut’s Delta Nintendo emulator is now on the App Store, and days later, popular Sega and PlayStation emulator Provenance announced its intentions to follow suit. It appears Android’s unchecked emulator dominance has finally come to an end.

Google Maps is doing its part to help society on its path to sustainability, announcing a batch of new eco-focused features this week ahead of Earth Day. The app will now give you walking and public transit directions alongside driving directions, hoping to gently nudge you away from your car and towards a lower-emission alternative.

And things are happening beyond our one and only planet now, too, as early signs of future satellite connectivity features coming to Google Maps have now appeared. But like with many Google products, it was two steps forward and one step back for Maps this week, as Google announced it will be deleting drafted reviews this July after discontinuing the draft feature altogether.


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