If you’re an Android fan, then you’ve probably had one of many different conversations with other people (and possibly yourself) about the mobile OS. One of which was probably centered on whether or not you’re a fan of proprietary user interfaces overlaying the stock Android experience. Back when Android was just trying to get on its feet, some may point out that it was a proprietary OS that helped propel the mobile OS into the limelight and into the homes of many, many people all around the world. But, whether you’re a fan of them or not, there’s certainly plenty to choose from. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is one of them, and it’s currently available on most of the company’s Android offerings, in some variation or another. Most recently, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 features the latest version of the UX, and a new video shows the interface in all its glory. Shockingly enough, I think this is where TouchWiz can flourish.
This will be the first time that TouchWiz UI has been used on a tablet, and there are probably plenty people out there who aren’t even willing to look at the larger version of the original Galaxy Tab device because it’s there. But, after watching the 12-minute video, and the small segment specifically dedicated to inclusion of TouchWiz UI, I think I can safely say that the proprietary UI seems to have always been destined to make sense on a tablet.
I know that there are people out there who aren’t fans of TouchWiz on Samsung’s Android powered smartphones. But, these may be the same people who like HTC Sense better, or simply despite proprietary user interfaces in general. Whatever the case, it doesn’t look like TouchWiz is all that “in your face” as it is on smartphones. After all, the Tab 10.1 still features the tell-tale signs of a Honeycomb-powered tablet, with the black bar on the bottom, and the multi-tasking implementation. At first glance, someone may not even be able to tell that TouchWiz is even on the device.
But then it’s made apparent with the inclusion of the Music, Social and Readers Hubs. These new widgets allow for up-to-the-minute updates from the networks they are connected to (specifically, the Social Hub), and offer real-time interaction to boot. Of course, the standard widgets in Honeycomb (like Gmail) offer this functionality, but it’s good to see that Samsung is including it. Furthermore, widgets can also be sized to fit as you see fit, which is a nice change for a tablet device.
But, the coolest feature could be the “quick apps.” While it’s obvious that the Android-powered tablet is already a multi-tasking powerhouse, the ability to launch specific applications (six to start) on the fly with just the touch of a small drawer is a great feature. Need to check the calendar real quick without having to exit whatever you’re already looking at? You can do that, thanks to the quick apps. Oh, you have the unstoppable urge to make a quick doodle? Yeah, you can do that, too, without having to actually exit out of the application you’re already running.
Like I said above, with the implementation that Samsung has included with this latest version of TouchWiz, I think the UI is perfectly fit for a tablet device. The fact that Android’s Honeycomb version (3.1) is still the main focus, but that TouchWiz plays a part in the whole scheme of things is an important thing to notice. And, even if the other companies with their own user interfaces may not agree, I think the subtle approach for a proprietary bit of software is the best way to go about things. You can implement new features, more features, but you don’t need to shove it in the user’s face. TouchWiz UI on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 isn’t in your face at all, but it adds just enough features to be worthwhile to the end user.
But, what do you make of TouchWiz UI on the Galaxy Tab 10.1? Should it be a feature at all? Or should Samsung start moving away from the proprietary UI and stick to more Vanilla devices? Do you think Samsung should install this version of TouchWiz on their other tablets, or even their smartphones? Let me know what you think in the comments below.