Earlier yesterday, Samsung released a fairly detailed earnings statement for the fourth quarter of 2015. The gist of it? Smartphone sales declined, but profit margins increased and sales of slates also went up despite the weak tablet market. Following the report, Samsung also released an executive summary of sorts, outlining the key challenges facing the giant corporation, and how it intends to tackle them. After reading it top tobottom, something caught our eye: Samsung says it will focus on improving the competitiveness of its software, known as TouchWiz.
That’s kind of funny, given how just earlier today we released the results of our poll
asking you what Samsung should prioritize when building the Galaxy S7
(regardless of the fact that it’s probably already production-ready). While the majority of you saw battery life as the obvious choice, interface wasn’t too far behind, indicating that users still feel the Android-based TouchWiz skin could use some work. And we tend to agree
Sure, Samsung has made a number of steps in the right direction with the slimmed-downTouchWiz firmware
of the Galaxy S6
and Galaxy S6 edge
, but the overlay
still isn’t quite where we feel it should be. Perhaps more disappointingly, however, Samsung was pretty vague in this regard, listing software as just one of several areas it is looking to improve:
“FOR THE MOBILE BUSINESS, THE COMPANY WILL FOCUS ON STRENGTHENING THE COMPETITIVENESS OF ITS SOFTWARE, ALONG WITH HARDWARE, SERVICES AND WEARABLE PRODUCTS.”
Sorry to be blunt, but that’s just a blanket statement, suggesting that the company will try to a better job at what it’s been doing so far. And in the case of TouchWiz, the problem really is that Samsung has been slow and even reluctant to get rid of gimmicky features that feel like nothing more than pomp.
This isn’t us demonizing extra functionality, especially considering that we’re well-aware of power users’ thirst for them—and the importance of these people—but can you, for a second, imagine a Samsung of less is more? A Samsung that makes downsizing and optimizing TouchWiz a clear target and focuses on fewer features, but perfected ones? We don’t know about you, but we’d sure like to see what’s that like.
Apart from simplifying the user experience, a Samsung of less is more would also mean less headaches when it’s time to upgrade to the next major Android build. Because when fewer features are baked into the software, fewer features need be updated next time around, and fewer features need be troubleshot to ensure system stability. And you know how it is with beta testing—stuff always falls through the cracks, ending up in your otherwise competitive product.
Time for a change in direction?