Believe it or not, Samsung has done some thing lots of us didn’t think become feasible: it has made first-rate software. Tomorrow, it’s going to unveil a pile of recent phones — the thoroughly leaked Galaxy S10 lineup — and all they must be strolling the brand new “One UI” software, which is constructed on top of Android 9 Pie.
I’ve been trying out One UI on a Galaxy S9 for the beyond a week or so and up to now I simply like it. In a few approaches, I like it better than what Google itself is transported on Pixel three. If it weren’t for the truth that I don’t but believe Samsung to supply predominant software program updates fast, I might be shouting about One UI from the rooftops. As it is, I just want to point out that it’s time for us to prevent instinctively turning our noses up at Samsung’s version of Android.
There are still some traumatic components of One UI, however, they don’t destroy what is otherwise a full-featured, coherent, and (dare I say) considerate model of Android. This is not a conventional understanding of approximately Samsung software.
If you haven’t been paying close attention to the world of Android in the past few years you would possibly have overlooked some thing: we don’t speak approximately “skins” much anymore. We used to think that there was this type of component as “pure” Android, which changed into then sullied by means of pointless and annoying layers of software slathered on top of it.
Nowadays, “pure” Android does lots much less than it used to. The basic Android Open Source Project (AOSP) version of it isn’t always something you’d really need to use on its own anymore — too many critical pieces were pulled out of open source and are actually dispensed via both Google or the producer instead.
So to speak about “pure” Android and “skins” is sort of to miss the factor. Most telephones constructed on Android have custom software that goes way deeper than the pores and skin, whether they’re made by way of Samsung, with the aid of Xiaomi or — yes — even by Google.
All of that is context I experience like I want to lay down due to the fact Samsung’s software customizations have a protracted and nicely-earned recognition for being buggy, garish, and encumbered with gimmicks.
I’m talking approximately TouchWiz, of the route. It turned into important in the early days while Android (and Windows Mobile, in which TouchWiz changed into born) wasn’t simply appropriate sufficient for the common person. But Samsung couldn’t assist itself, it blended extra capabilities with its try to make the UI greater iPhone-like. All those capabilities had been confusing and bogged the whole lot down.
On the pinnacle of everything else, TouchWiz just lacked taste. A model of TouchWiz made a water-droplet noise each time you touched the telephone. By default, it went “bloop” with each tap. Eventually, Samsung found out that the emblem was tainted and renamed it the “Samsung Experience.” When it did, as Vlad Savov pointed out, it becomes probable because Samsung was already beginning to definitely enhance the software revel in. But I think it didn’t cross quite far enough — a deeper redesign become wanted.
Now, we have One UI. I can’t go pretty to this point as to mention that the whole lot has changed all the time when it comes to Samsung’s customizations. There are still multiple versions of some apps because both Google and Samsung insist on having their software program gift. Samsung phones even have a reputation for purchasing a touch laggy (the technical term is cruft) through the years, and I don’t know yet whether One UI and Android 9 will go through the same destiny. But I do recognize that one week in, this OS truly feels intentional and designed as opposed to simply having a gaggle of capabilities tacked on.
Historically, we have the concept of all the ones customizations as useless add-ons. But that’s not pretty right anymore — customizing AOSP is essential nowadays. Instead, we ought to choose a Samsung smartphone on its very own merits as a telephone, not as stuff bolted on to a few idealized “natural” model of the telephone that can’t, in reality, exist anymore.
One UI includes four key parts. One is the simple update to Android nine Pie, which means that you’ll get a ton of small capabilities without spending a dime. Second, there’s a generalized update to the appearance and feel — the entirety is only a little purifier and greater tasteful than before. Samsung has found out that neon is the most effective cool in small doses.
Third, due to the fact that is Samsung, there are just a million features hidden in each nook of the OS. Some of them — like a darkish mode — is without a doubt useful. Others will remind human beings of the awful antique days of TouchWiz. But standard Samsung is doing a higher process of surfacing them gradually as you operate the smartphone, as opposed to asking you to wade although arcane and opaquely named settings screens inside the first 15 mins of using the telephone.