Android Central

Anyone who's used a Samsung smartphone over the past few years will be aware that the company's approach to software design can be a little scattershot at times. And it seems there's an awareness of this issue at the highest levels of the company, as new Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun delivered his inaugural speech.

According to reports from The Wall Street Journal​, Kwon told Samsung employees --

"A particular focus must be given to serving new customer experience and value by strengthening soft capabilities in software, user experience, design, and solutions."

As we pointed out in our review of the company's latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, software design is one area in which Samsung lags behind competitors like HTC. Where HTC's Sense 4 has a clear and consistent design language, TouchWiz is more a disparate set of apps with few common design cues. 

With the manufacturer putting increasing emphasis on the importance of improving software, users will be hoping for prettier, more intuitive software in future Samsung smartphones. However, given that the latest version of TouchWiz, dubbed the "TouchWiz Nature UX", has just debuted on the Galaxy S III, smartphone buyers will likely have to wait for next year's Samsung flagship before they see any tangible changes.

Source: The Wall Street Journal


Reader comments

Samsung CEO plans to improve software, user experience and design


The last thing we need is for samsung to follow htc's lead with bloated skins, while they may have tried to make it appear that Sense 4 is lighter, the multitasking problems show sense 4 for what it is, the same old memory and resource hog that sense 3 was.

Samsung, if you want to make things more consistant throughout your skin fine, but keep your skin light, don't follow htc's lead too much.

Agreed. Making the launcher have a bottom bar that looks more like other launchers doesn't mean that it's less bloated. It's still one of the biggest memory usage launchers out there, and the rest of Sense bloats it even further.

I wish companies would just let things be and realize Google has done a decent enough job this time around.

I don't think Samsung will bloat their software, but Touchwiz lacks uniformity among aspects of the UI like widgets and whatnot.

While Sense widgets all resemble one another, Touchwiz is all over the place.

HTC now is slimming their UI a bit though. It's not as crazy as it was a year ago.

But that's the problem. I would think "Slimming the UI" would mean it would be slimmer in all respects. Instead of just the bloated fat guy all in your face, it's the bloated fat guy just hiding around the corner. It's still there, using more resources than ever, and slowing down all aspects of the phone.

One launcher bar change doesn't make a skin less bloated.

This is true. And hopefully "Jelly Bean" or whatever they call it comes with enough user friendly features to be integrated into the next TouchWiz instead of overlaying a totally customized one.

TouchWiz isn't bad at all, I'd rather sacrifice a little user friendly experience than having bad multitasking issues like my HOX.

Owned the HOX and now the SGS3. The Hox often times froze voice, gmail and messenging apps causing them to not sync. Returned it when the update came out though so I never had a chance to try the update. Heard it fixed things though.

Actually the last thing we need these days is custom skins at all. Stock ICS is a thing of beauty.

Sense 4.0's idea of multitasking is laughable. LG's skin is horrid. Moto's is ugly as crap and slow. Samsung is so bloated that upgrading it will be next to impossible. Anyone's GS2 in the states upgraded to ICS yet? Didn't think so...

My last phone had a custom skin and every day I hated my decision more and more. Now I hate it for my parents who have unwittingly adopted the phone. I have a Galaxy Nexus these days, and couldn't be happier. Best software out of any phone, hands down.

I really don't understand why these Manufacturers of phones voluntarily choose to put worse software on. Maybe they just can't see it because it's their child, but someone really needs to take the CEO aside and grab them by the shoulders and shake them.

Until this situation changes, I will be sticking to Nexus phones from here on out. I've never had better software, and I am not willing to take a step back to manufacturer software.

EDIT: Oh and I do agree with the people ranting about Android Central's (and pretty much every other review website for that matter) failure to mention anything about the HTC One's multitasking issue in their "comprehensive" reviews. Shame on the review websites for that. Multitasking is what Android is all about. It's a key feature. If you had a church that never said anything about Jesus during the sermons, and a review website came in and wrote a glowing review and didn't say anything about the lack of Jesus, people would have a legitimate right to be up and arms about that clear failure in journalistic reporting.

The manufacturers have little to do with the making of the phone. It's the carriers. The won't put a phone on the shelves that looks the same as others software-wise.

I just saw an article on CNet that took a different approach to his remarks, and quite frankly, they're not too far fetched... What if by "new customer experience" they mean a departure from Android into their own OS? After all, Google just became their competitor with Motorola... I really hope Android stays on Sammy's phones, but it does give you something to think about over coffee... :P

While samsung does release phones with other operating systems, samsung isn't going to abandon their bread and butter, Android.
CNet articles and reviews are generally clueless.

Also, remember the Samsung Instinct?
I'm personally happy Samsung is with Android -- cause lord knows...

I seriously doubt Samsung would abandon Android in favor of its own Bada. And while Google is now technically a competitor with its acquisition of Motorola, Motorola is still hardly a competitor for Samsung. After all, Apple and Samsung control 90% of the smartphone market share between the two of them. Moto, HTC and others are just fighting for their table scraps. I don't think Samsung sees Moto--even Google's Moto--as serious competition.

They need to fix the Samsung Galaxy Nexus at least on Verizon signal reception. At max I only get two on 3G less than two miles from the tower and my granddaughter get four bars on the Motorola Razar, so what gives Samsung?

Yes software and design needs to be improved, but if they want to improve customer reviews, satisfaction, and experience, how about starting with supporting their products and providing more timely software and firmware updates keeping the phones current and the customers happy.

As an owner of the moment, epic, and epic 4g touch I can say that have vastly improved their support of devices, and the ICS update for the epic 4g touch has had nearly 40 leaked builds which means they are definitely doing their work on this one. No complaints here.

Also, Touchwiz may be a little rough, but at least it multi-tasks properly. I use Nova anyhow, and none of the touchwiz widgets so I couldn't care less about it.

Sounds like great news to me. I personally can't stand stock Android. It's plain and boring. It almost looks like not a lot of thought was put into it.

Err Samsung new touchwiz is actually quite good compared to last time.
1. They have their old notification toggles.
2. They have some gesture based actions which can be quite nifty.
3. They kept the standard multi task and added a "kill all"
4. Customisable camera buttons (quite an interesting feature)
5. The unlock screen actually looks quite good, thou i hate the "nature sounds" and the icons doesn't blend in properly.
6. Encryption, VPN
There are some other features in the contact list and messaging if i'm not wrong.

It isn't perfect but i think they are ahead of other Android manufacturers for their stock experience.
I find it way better than the current HTC sense, much more customisability and more features.

I'm not buying it. I was expecting some massive input from the Cyanogen Mod guy which was the breaking news last year.

Let me think... what was he meant to do at Samsung again?

The GSIII UX doesn't seem like any thoughts went in to the cohesion of these bolted on features it boasts of.

HTC (of which I've never really been a fan of) at least put thought into the everyday use of there phones software. I think they are a ways of a great unbeatable UX but they seem closer than Samsung.

Here's what needs to happen at Samsung... Find a good product designer and a good UI & UX designer and pay them well. Next years flagship needs to be breath taking inside and out. The primary colour trend they love to follow needs to be toned down because the end users who can afford these flagship phones are older than 5 years of age.

Well, I find it incredible that Samsung, Motorola and HTC spend huge amounts of money developing and deploying Android skins that typically damage the phone's performance and battery life, while at the same time, making so many of us disappointed in the look/feel etc. It's just amazing to me how much effort they seem to put into ruining the experience instead of enhancing it. It would make so much more sense for them to concentrate on building widgets/apps that run in the standard Android Launcher. They could deploy a system image that deployed these on the home screen for new customers, but still allow those of us that don't want them to delete them. Think about all of the "enhancements" provided by the skins - how many of them really have to be part of a skin (and therefore always running and taking resources) instead of just a simple add-on that would allow users control of their device?

I think the CEO's comments don't give me any confidence that he get's it. When he talks about making the phone easier for new users, I suspect things will be even more dumbed-down and locked-down.