Those leaked Samsung screenshots seem promising

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| January 7, 2014

We all know to take leaks, rumors, suggestions, and just about anything else that isn't an official statement or announcement with a grain of salt, right? No matter how long you've been following anything in the mobile market, the one thing we've always got to keep with us is our salt shaker. A rumor or leak can pop up at any moment, usually without warning, and usually about something we never would have expected. That's why the shaker is important, and those individual granules of salt are so necessary. We must keep our wits about us.

That isn't to say you aren't allowed to get excited about something you see on the Internet, even if it isn't quite official in its capacity. You just have to keep those expectations in check, just in case the real thing, the final product, isn't *quite* like what you saw in those early rumors.

There may be some leaks that you just can't help but get excited about, though. For example, let's look at fans of iOS, or those who had jumped ship from Apple's mobile platform because it had looked the same for so long. When rumors and reports and leaks and whatever else started filling the 'net about the changes coming in iOS 7, it would make sense for those folks to get excited. Change was supposedly coming. And even if the majority, if not all, of those rumors were wrong at face value, at least their was some truth there. iOS did change after all.

When Samsung originally unveiled TouchWiz, their proprietary software that has become famous on Android-based devices, I didn't hate it. After all, it was different, and it made Android stand out against the competition. However, over the years I've grown to genuinely dislike it, especially for all its cartoonish qualities in color choices and stock images. I especially can't stand the text messaging layout. Drives me crazy.

So, I want TouchWiz to change. And in a big way. It's one reason why I'm looking forward to Samsung's efforts in 2014 so much.

We already know that the company is putting a bigger focus on their custom software. Back at the beginning of November, last year, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun admitted that TouchWiz wasn't that great, and that changes needed to be made. A bigger pull from Research & Development was tuned towards software, and making TouchWiz better for the years to come.

We may have actually already seen the fruit of those labors a bit early, thanks to a leaked image via Twitter. @evleaks, known for its leaks, has posted the first images of what they're calling Samsung's exploration of new smartphone UI. The image shows three different screens, one of which is the lock screen, while the other two show what a home screen might look like. There are also new application icons for good measure.

The first thing I thought when I saw the image? "Yeah, that's definitely still Samsung." But that's not a bad thing. The changes that they made are certainly quite a departure from what you'd currently see on a TouchWiz-based device, but there's still some Samsung flare there. It still feels like a Samsung device. And that could very well just be the layout of the bottom app tray. Whatever the case, if this is a real Samsung development step, they're headed in the right direction, because there's enough change here to give TouchWiz (or whatever they call it) a breath of fresh air, but also keep the Samsung familiarity.

Here's why I actually think it could be what Samsung is working on: That second screen, which you can see above, looks like a natural evolution to the Magazine UX you see on devices like the Galaxy Note 10.1 -- 2014 Edition, or their new Galaxy NotePRO. Taking that design language and putting it as the main utility for the user experience on upcoming smartphones makes sense, and it would add some differentiation in all the right ways.

There's no telling, right now, if these are real or not. Or if they're real enough, and just with some subtle Photoshopping twists in there for good measure. As it stands, this is all just rumor and speculation, and honestly not much to go on. As far as I'm concerned, I'm taking the word of Kwon Oh-hyun over these images, and you should, too. Until Samsung officially unveils something, or even starts to tease changes coming to their custom software, we'll just have to wait with bated breath.

I am still curious, though. What do you think of the leaked images? Do you believe this is a good direction for Samsung to go? Or would you prefer it if they kept TouchWiz the way it is? Let me know what you think!