A few months before I was hired to work for Samsung as an internal phone auditor, I tweeted “One day I’ll get a job at Samsung and work my way up to fire all TouchWiz participants.” TouchWiz was Samsung’s user interface for touch phones that came before the Galaxy devices running Android. It was horrific.
That was in 2010. Today, twelve years later, TouchWiz has been replaced by Samsung’s latest interface concept: One UI. One UI 5 has started rolling out to the latest Samsung devices. It runs on Android 13, not only replacing Google’s theme but also gesture navigation that Google prefers. Below you will find Android, but what you see is all Samsung.
Samsung, I fixed everything else
Samsung phones were once rightly criticized for their shoddy designs and cheap plastic materials. With the glass and metal Galaxy S6, the company has made a drastic makeover and fixed all the design mistakes it made before. After years of criticism over cheap plastic phones, it seems the company has finally listened.
Almost flawless Galaxy S22 Ultra It is a direct descendant of this phone, with its slightly curved screen and premium metal and glass finishes. This phone is polished, smooth and refined, with only small gaps between the edges.
In other words, the design is as good as it gets, and people still aren’t buying enough of it The best Samsung phones To give Samsung an ultimate win over Best iPhones. The phone’s features are as advanced as possible. Samsung needs to finally admit why it isn’t outperforming the iPhone, and the only aspect left to improve the interface is the interface.
I’ve been hearing this criticism for a decade or more, and Samsung has tried to fix everything except for the most obvious problem that every critic screams at. It’s time to stop ignoring the real failure and ditch One UI.
TouchWiz isn’t dead, it’s getting stronger
By the time I left Samsung in 2017, TouchWiz was gone, but I don’t take any credit for its demise. If you read phone reviews from the TouchWiz period, you’ll see that the interface was completely despised by everyone, not just me.
It was silly, bright, and colorful when phones were first trying out serious features. Make the phone feel sluggish and drenched. It has multiplied in services, making it difficult to decide which to choose or if any of them are worth it.
Overall, it was just an ugly mess that made phones more difficult to use, while the iPhone showed the world how to harness serious power into a seemingly simple device.
The same arguments people made against TouchWiz apply to Samsung’s One UI. Don’t get me wrong, One UI is definitely packed with features. It’s unique in its design, not just a paraphrase of Google’s own concept. Samsung has been working hard on One UI since its inception, and the work is showing in constant refinement and polishing.
The problem is that no one is buying a Samsung phone because of One UI. One UI is still useless, and it doesn’t help Samsung beat Apple.
Google and Samsung work better together
I’m not someone who would argue that all Android phones should use a pure version of Android. In fact, I find the idea of naming purity in an open source operating system childish. There has never been a “pure” or “clean” version of Android that has satisfied the modern smartphone.
Every phone maker, including Google, modifies the operating system to suit their needs. The interface designed by Google is just that of Google, not the purest Android interface you can find. The question is not whether it is clean or dirty. Suffice it to ask whether the interface is good.
Samsung’s basic Android interface isn’t enough, but when Samsung messes with Android, things get derailed. Samsung phones are notorious for slowing down over time. If someone complains about a Samsung phone, I give them the harsh news that a factory reset can breathe new life into their Galaxy S22 Ultra. Now go wipe your phone.
Try as much as possible, Samsung has never proven itself adept at software design. It can achieve amazing technical feats using camera lenses and cellular antennas, but it can’t design an interface that shows simplicity and restraint.
I recommend Samsung phones easily – for cameras, screen, stylus, magic folding glass. Please forgive the interface, she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
For a long time, the basic Google interface on Nexus phones and later Pixel phones was very abstract and technical. Many features are hidden behind long menus or complex finger tapping techniques. It wasn’t ready for the average audience, which is why Pixel phones were never very popular, and they never topped the list of best phones. Not until soon.
A must see Bennifer from Android
I’m not saying that Samsung should give up and accept the concept of the Google interface; Quite the opposite. I’m saying Google should give up. In the same way that Google gave in and worked directly with Samsung to create Wear OS to go along with the best Android wearables, Google should give in to Samsung and work together on the next Android.
Why hasn’t this already happened? The two companies should be closest allies, in the way Microsoft and Intel were so close that they earned “WIntel” as a romantic couple. Where is the “Googsung” relationship? Why can’t companies be separated in their Android identity?
This would solve some outstanding problems for both companies. Google Pixel phones have interesting software features, but they are usually criticized for their lack of hardware components compared to competitors. The close relationship with Samsung will force Google to bring more innovative concepts directly into the Android platform, which could open up Pixel phones to new concepts.
For example, Samsung has already done the software on foldable phones. Google is rumored to be cooking up the Pixel Fold. There are core foldable features that make up Android, mostly related to resizing windows and keeping text boxes intact. Samsung has already pushed the folding behavior much further. The two companies should work together, not compete in this very limited market space.
Samsung phones have exciting features, but they tend to lose focus and present a lot that confuses the user. The partnership with Google will force the company to control itself and to think about other device makers in a way it has never done before. This change of perspective may pull Samsung out of its narcissistic bubble of indulging in every whim.
I want more than just a Galaxy Nexus 2
Maybe this is just nostalgia. The last phone I bought before I was recruited by Samsung was a Google Nexus S, a phone made by Google with my former and future employer. While I was there, the Galaxy Nexus was beating critics with insane performance and none of Samsung’s baggage.
We’ve seen the best devices that can create a closer relationship between Google and Samsung and they have been legendary. Now is the time for the two to come together to make Android the Apple iPhone rival the two companies need.
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