Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is considering big changes to the operating system of its upcoming Galaxy S6. In addition to an overhaul of the look and feel of the device, which may include a metal exterior and curved display, Samsung is revamping the operating system to a version of Google's Android that will include an overlay of applications and features called TouchWiz.
TouchWiz has been criticized as bloatware for consuming storage capacity on Android phones with its extraneous applications and features. But Samsung is said to be reconsidering this approach and adopting a version of Android more in-line with phones Google makes, which run a version of Android that some enthusiasts call "pure Android."
“We are aiming to get rid of unnecessary functions and simplify our UI at the level of Google's Nexus 6,” an unnamed Samsung source told Business Korea.
Samsung devices have become some of the most bloatware-heavy on the market over the past three years. The manufacturer has attempted to market a host of special features on its devices -- for example, its smart screen features, Air View features and motion- and gesture-control features -- aimed at making users’ lives easier.
The Samsung dubbed its 2013 flagship Galaxy S4 the “life companion” due to all of its special features. But those features often went unused and were unable to be deleted from the device’s system. Additionally, Samsung’s host of features takes up a considerable amount of internal storage on its smartphones.
Much to users’ chagrin, a Galaxy S4 16GB models would ship with as little as 8GB of usable storage. Samsung’s software can bring a 32GB Galaxy Note 4 smartphone down to about 18GB of usable storage. Minimal storage has been one of many aspects that have deterred consumers from Samsung smartphones.
Conversely, Google’s Nexus devices have some of the highest available storage on the market due to running the stock Android operating system with no added bloatware from device manufacturers. A 32GB Nexus 6 smartphone ships with about 25GB of usable storage.
Samsung is currently rethinking its product strategy amid a dismal 2014, when handset sales plummeted. In particular, the manufacturer has committed itself to a complete overhaul of the Samsung Galaxy S6 flagship, after the 2014 Galaxy S5 was considered a flop on the market.
There are no details on just how Samsung may overhaul its TouchWiz user interface. Changes could include some sort of software optimization in order to make system files smaller to take up less space on handsets. Samsung is getting rid of services as as ChatOn and WatchOn, but it is uncertain if other features will also get the ax.
This isn’t the first time reports have suggested an overhaul of TouchWiz. Consumers expected to see a lighter user interface on the Galaxy S5; but the device was released with all of Samsung’s standard bloatware. The difference now, however, is that Samsung’s bottom line depends on a major change.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 could be announced in March during the Mobile World Congress and may launch sometime in April.