Though the Samsung Galaxy S5 may be unveiled in less than 10 days, more mystery surrounds the device than ever.
Earlier this week, Samsung released a new teaser for its “Unpacked 5” event, which will take place on Feb. 24 at the World Mobile Congress. The teaser, which features several app icons, has many wondering if Samsung has plans to update its device user interface or introduce a new user interface for the Galaxy S5.
There have been several leaks of supposed new or updated UIs for the Galaxy S5, which have suggested a design similar to the Windows Phone UI, Samsung’s Magazine UX for tablets, as well as with Google Now. However, a more recent leak suggests a connection to Samsung’s Tizen OS. A screenshot of the supposed Tizen OS was shared by French tech website No Where Else on Tuesday, depicts icons of the same design as those shown on Samsung’s Unpacked 5 teaser. In fact, from the Unpacked teaser, the icon depicting “Outdoor,” which may have to do with maps, and the icon depicting “Curiosity,” which may have to do with search, can also be found on the screenshot. If this screenshot is in fact of the Tizen OS, some wonder if that could mean the rumored new OS for the Galaxy S5 is Tizen. With no way to confirm at this point, all reports remain speculation.
Samsung Galaxy S5: A New Era Of TouchWiz?
Some sources have also considered that the screenshot could be of an updated version Samsung's TouchWiz UI. Though the design may be different, the icons are largely familiar to consumers. The icon depicting “Fitness” on the teaser, for example, is a version of the S Health icon on the Samsung Galaxy S4. Many Android fans are not quite fans of the TouchWiz overlay on Samsung devices. Those who are savvier often root their devices to their own tastes, or add custom ROMs such as CyanogenMod, SlimKat, Paranoid Android, and AKOP, among others, which offer a smoother Android experience. Android purists often simply opt for Google's Nexus brand devices or Google Play Edition devices, both of which run stock Android, as developed directedly by Google.
Most notable is the similarity between the leaked screenshot, the Unpacked 5 teaser, and earlier iterations of the Tizen OS. The image of a Tizen home screen above shows its circular icons, which favors the icons depicted in both of the former images. Some consider that Samsung may now making an effort to especially differentiate itself from rival manufacturer Apple, which is known for more square icons. Even if the Samsung Galaxy S5 does not feature Tizen, perhaps the new or improved OS may adopt Tizen features for the sake of bypassing legal issues due to copyright infringement.
Samsung Galaxy S5: Recent Tizen Development
Samsung has been developing its Tizen OS for some time, and reports indicate that the system will also be showcased at WMC, at its own event on Feb. 23. The Linux-based operating system has been gaining notoriety in the past weeks especially, with a number of companies having joined the Tizen Association, to further support the system’s development. Notably, the U.S. mobile carrier Sprint is now among members of the Tizen Association, which could mean that Sprint may be on board to host Tizen-powered phones on its network at some point. For some time, it appeared that the Tizen OS and Tizen operated phones might be largely based overseas; carriers such as the Chinese ZTE, Japanese NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank Mobile are among the foreign mobile networks, which have long pledged support to Tizen.
Samsung Galaxy S5: How Will Google Factor In?
Considering that Samsung and Google recently signed a cross-patent deal, which rumors suggest could also include more product collaborations; it is likely Android-powered Samsung devices may still be major commodities on the market for some time. Some reports suggest that Google may retire its Nexus device line in favor for more Google Play Edition devices, which are OEM devices that run stock Android instead of Android with a manufacturer-specific overlay. If true, with two companies’ renewed connection, many future GPE devices could be Samsung originals. In addition, other sources indicate that Samsung has agreed, as part of its deal with Google, to refrain from producing apps similar to stock Android apps with its own branding. According to reports, Google was not pleased with Samsung’s Magazine UX, which it unveiled on its new Galaxy Note Pro and Galaxy Tab Pro tablets at the 2014 International CES. The Mountain View, Calif.-company supposedly feels that Samsung is altering its stock Androids system too much. Many hold a similar argument toward the smartphone focused-TouchWiZ UI. This could indicate that future Samsung devices may be more Google oriented rather than filled with Samsung-specific software.
Again, no reports or rumors have been confirmed at this point, but there is enough information for several conclusions to be drawn. Perhaps TouchWiz and Tizen will remain two separate entities; perhaps an updated TouchWiz or new smartphone OS will take after the Tizen design; perhaps some Samsung devices will be branded with stock Android software while other Samsung devices are branded with Tizen software. With its teaser, Samsung included a quote by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr: “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” The manufacturer may be hinting that it still has a few surprise tricks up its sleeve.
What kind of OS or UI do you think the Samsung Galaxy S5 will feature? Let us know in the comments below.