Samsung draws closer to Google amid smartwatch launch

|About: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SSNLF)|By:, SA News Editor

Samsung's (SSNLF, SSNGY) occasionally tense relationship with Google (GOOG) - Samsung is by far the world's biggest Android OEM, but its efforts to customize if apps, services, and UI often haven't gone over well with Google - appears to be thawing, judging by the announcements at Google's I/O conference.

Most notably, Samsung is now allowing its KNOX mobile security platform to be built into Android. KNOX provides a slew of data protection, authentication, and device/app management features for enterprises who might otherwise be nervous about letting employees work with Android hardware.

Newly-public MobileIron (MOBL -2.6%), one of several device/app management software firms whose feature set overlaps to an extent with KNOX, sold off a bit today, but closed well off the day's lows.

Samsung has also announced the Gear Live, a $199 smartwatch based on Google's Android Wear platform. The launch comes even though Samsung is already selling two smartwatches based on its Tizen platform (still suffers from a weak app ecosystem), and Google is preventing OEMs from installing custom UIs (such as Samsung's TouchWiz).

Samsung suggests it'll still try to offer some proprietary apps/services for Android Wear smartwatches. LG and Motorola are among the other OEMs backing the platform.