TouchWiz needs that TouchUp to regenerate interestAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Time flies when you're in the tech industry, and already we're nearly halfway through January and halfway through CES 2014. It's an exciting time as we learn about the future tech involved in this industry and what we can look forward to being released throughout the rest of the year. CES is a particularly interesting event as it tailors specifically to that. Not only do we get to see a lot of the works in progress from a lot of companies, but with it comes a slew of interviews and announcements that really get us thinking about the future.
A recent interview by Bloomberg News with Samsung kind of has me intrigued about the Galaxy S5, which seems to be following suit with their yearly spring release. It's been assumed that sometime around April or May is when we'll see the next generation Galaxy S device hit the market, and rumor had it earlier that Samsung's plan was to go forward with improving the software aspect of their mobile lineup, and not so much the hardware aspect. After revisiting a few devices in the stores and using my own Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0, it would seem that now would be as good of a time as any to give TouchWiz a touch up.
My reasoning behind this is that while TouchWiz isn't hideous, it seems largely unchanged for the past couple of years, and this is dangerous territory for the mobile world. You keep the software the same for too long and people are going to start losing interest. If you keep anything the same for too long people are going to lose interest. Given that recently Apple switched up the design in iOS 7, it would seem like a good opportunity to do the same with TouchWiz given that Apple is Samsung's biggest rival right now. If they could succeed at giving TouchWiz a highly praised facelift at this point, it could do great things for Samsung.
If the images from @evleaks are any indication of what we can hope to see, it seems that Samsung was way ahead of me on this one. It's only a small preview of what we may see from Samsung, but I'm already wondering if the changes we can see in these leaked screenshots will be good enough to sway more people to reconsider TouchWiz. To me, it almost seems like it's heading in the very same flat and minimalist direction that nearly all UIs are heading in now. That's not to say it's a bad thing or that it looks ugly, it just doesn't really offer anything different from anybody else at this point in time if that's all that it ends up being.
However, change is change and the main point of changing is to keep people interested. With change also comes the risk of knowing that not everybody is going to be thrilled with such changes, and of course they're bound to lose a customer or two in the process - I'm a perfect example of somebody who did just that. I ditched iOS just because of the design elements used in iOS 7. Did that stop them from selling the phone in massive quantities? No. Most people I talk to don't despise iOS 7 as much as I do. So yeah, you're bound to lose a couple of people along the way, but by simply changing the design you're going to have a lot more people interested in checking out your devices than just passing it by thinking they already know all their is to know about it.
It seems that Samsung realizes that the reason the Galaxy S 4 wasn't as popular as it could have been was because it didn't have enough change from the successful Galaxy S III to make anybody want to change. If a customer didn't like the Galaxy S III, they probably weren't going to like the Galaxy S 4. If they did like the Galaxy S III, they probably bought one and weren't eligible for an upgrade yet. Hopefully with the Galaxy S5 they'll learn from that. I'm kind of hoping to see not only a touched up TouchWiz by the time the S5 is released, but also the inclusion of that plastic leather backing that they have on the Galaxy Note 3 and their new Galaxy Tab Pro line of tablets. To me, that would be a device worth checking out, even if you already own a Samsung device.
What are your thoughts, readers? Do you hope to see a change in TouchWiz, or are you happier with it the way it is now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images via @evleaks, Phandroid