TouchWiz has been the public-facing name of Samsung’s infamous interface for a while now.
For those not in the know, TouchWiz has not just been Samsung’s preferred user interface on Android. It is front and centre of the company’s software approach for its entire mobile device portfolio – smartphones, feature phones, tablets, wearables – even those that don’t run on Android like its Tizen-powered smartphones, fitness-focused wearables and smart watches.
As far as custom skins, as we call these overlays on Android, go, TouchWiz has been up there with some of the most hated of all time. Not only was it for a long time one of the most colourful, it also added a gazillion features that many felt were overkill at a time when Android was still maturing. The end result has mostly been a less than desirable user experience.
While Samsung has, by doing this, achieved its goal of creating an identity on mobile – there are more people familiar with Samsung’s idea of Android than there probably is those who are versed with Google’s vision of Android – it has also managed to alienate many an Android enthusiast since this not only means that updates get delayed, it is often blamed for the sluggish nature of what is otherwise some of the best mobile hardware on the planet.
This explains why the company has, in recent years, dropped all mention of TouchWiz and, instead, focused on bamboozling us with monikers like Samsung Experience UI which spawns several other names like Grace UX and Edge UX, the latter coming about out of the need to identify the unique software workarounds required to make use of the edge displays found in recent premium Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
Now, going forward, that TouchWiz name will be joining history archives as the company just announced its new One UI at its developer conference in San Francisco.
With One UI, Samsung promises to deliver the buttery smooth experience that we have struggled to get on its existing software offering, more so on entry-level and mid-range devices, singling out functionality like focus, interaction and comfort.
The One UI page on Samsung’s website doesn’t go into much detail but it gives us a glimpse of what we can expect when One UI starts rolling out to existing devices next year, though users of select devices (Samsung’s 2019 premium Android phones, of course) in a handful of countries (no, Kenya is not one of them), can already apply to give it a spin through a beta programme announced yesterday.