Google teases big Android news at Galaxy S20 event

(Image credit: Samsung)

Tech companies usually don't promote product launch events for other companies. So you can imagine the raised eyebrows when a Google Twitter account started talking up next week's Galaxy Unpacked event by Samsung.

The tweet, posted by the official Twitter account for Android, promises "something exciting is just around the corner" for the Feb. 11 event, where Samsung's expected to show off the Galaxy S20 lineup. "See you at Unpacked," the tweet concludes, along with a 6-second promo video.

The simplest explanation for Google's sudden interest in what Samsung is up to involves another product likely to make its debut next week. Samsung will reportedly unveil the Galaxy Z Flip, a new foldable phone that uses a flip phone design. Android 10 includes adds support for building apps that take advantage of devices with foldable displays, so it's very possible Google could be involved with the Galaxy Z Flip unveiling to show off how Android apps work on that device.

Android Authority, which spotted the Google tweet, raises another possibility, though, and it relates to a Korea Herald report in January that the S20 lineup was expected to incorporate Google's Duo video chat application. The idea is to include the FaceTime alternative alongside the Samsung's phone default messaging app and to work with wireless carriers so that video messaging wouldn't incur extra data charges. 

The Korea Herald report seems to suggest this feature would only be available in Korea, though if it's highlighted during the Galaxy S20 launch, that might suggest Samsung and Google have bigger plans in mind.

We're also nearing the time of the year when Google shows off an early version of its annual Android update, making an early beta available to developers. Samsung phone's haven't been included in past Android betas, and a consumer-focused Unpacked event seems like an unlikely place for that kind of announcement.

It's not out of character for Samsung to include other tech giants in its product rollouts. At the Galaxy Note 10 launch event last August, Microsoft's Satya Nadella appeared on stage to tout a partnership between the two companies that included Windows support for Samsung's phablet.

The latest Unpacked event starts at 2 p.m. EST next Tuesday, and in addition to the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip, we're expecting Samsung to unveil new Galaxy Buds wireless earbuds. Some other surprises could be in store, too, and it seems as if Google could be involved in some of them.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.