Measuring the longevity of a device can't really be done by the time it spends in the news. I'm sure you've noticed by now that the news lifecycle for any device is pretty much one-sided, and it's lopped decidedly at the device's official launch. Before that, most devices see plenty of speculation, a lot of rumors, and plenty of leaks. However, unless something bad is happening or there's an update scheduled to be released, every phone basically drops off the planet.
That's why we can't really say whether or not a device has lost its popularity based on the news cycle. Not that anyone should, but I see it happen from time to time. Just look at our Official Smartphones Rankings, for instance. Most recently, I saw someone talking about Samsung's Galaxy S 4, and the fact that pretty much no one talks about the thing anymore. Sure, it's popped up in the cycle here recently, but that's only because most models are receiving their upgrade to Android 4.3 right now.
That's a pretty good reason to be in the news, if you ask me. Especially for places that cover the mobile industry. After all, there are a lot of Galaxy S 4 owners out there, and I'm sure many of them would love to know that their device is getting upgraded. It may not be Android 4.4 KitKat quite yet, but at least it's a step in the right direction. (Hopefully.)
When I reviewed the Galaxy S 4, I told all of you that it's a pretty great device. It's thin, its lightweight, and the overall performance of the device stood up to all sorts of tests and kept on ticking along at a nice pace. I wanted to see how it stood the test of time recently, so over the last couple of weeks I've been using the Galaxy S 4 pretty heavily for most of my tasks while at home. Twitter, some other social network browsing, as well as Google Hangouts and texting, all took place on the Galaxy S 4 instead of my personal device.
I wanted to see if my personal distaste for Samsung's proprietary software had changed, especially after my time with the Galaxy Note 3.
The truth is, when I wrote that article about plastic devices and not really seeing the problem with them anymore, the Galaxy S 4 had a part to play in that, almost as much as its bigger cousin. I've long said that a 4.7-inch display is probably my favorite size, but I can't argue that the Galaxy S 4's display feels great in the hand. It's still not too big to use with one hand, and the overall size of the device goes a long way to make the display feel big, but not too big, if that makes any sense.
But then there's TouchWiz.
Before I get to that, I'm going to stay positive about Samsung's flagship device. Why? Because I honestly think it deserves it. To be frank, I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with the device in general. Sure, it's plastic, but so what? That doesn't limit its speed, or responsiveness, and it surely doesn't affect the camera in any way. Basically, the Galaxy S 4 works the way it should, and even as I started using it months later, it still worked the way it should with plenty of heavy usage.
Is it a stark difference from the previous generation? I'm not sure. I didn't spend enough time with the Galaxy S III, simply because I couldn't force myself to. In the short period I had it, the device itself just didn't work the way I wanted or needed it to, and it did indeed suffer from slow starts and jitters in the software. Plus, TouchWiz in general just didn't do it for me.
Back at the early part of the year I wrote a piece on why I liked Samsung's Galaxy Note II, but couldn't stand the Galaxy S III, and that still stands. However, there's not such a huge difference between the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy S 4, and I think that's causing me to go a little easier on the smaller of the two devices. I don't hate the Galaxy S 4, and that's a big step for me.
But I do still hate TouchWiz. I can sit here and tell you that the majority of new features that Samsung included within the software, all of which are meant to show you that their software should be offered for a premium price, are great and well-meaning. That they aren't gimmicks. But you know what? That doesn't mean anything to me when I can't stand looking at the software. Because I really can't. I've tried, more times than I can count, and there's just something about the colors, the cartoon=y approach, and probably even the (admittedly changeable) font that just rubs me the wrong way.
At this point? I'm not even worried about whatever Samsung does next for the hardware in the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lineups. They can use metal, or they can stick with plastic. As long as some kind of design influence gets in there and they don't look bland, I'll take them however Samsung releases them. But I absolutely, positively and unquestionably need a change to TouchWiz.
I don't think this is a big thing to ask of the company, because I'm sure there are some folks in Samsung that have grown tired of looking at TouchWiz all these years later, too. So, follow Apple's steps and change TouchWiz in a big, but still usable, way. That's all I'm asking. And thank you in advance.
So, what do you think of TouchWiz? I'm curious to know what you think of Samsung's proprietary software. Is it your favorite? Or do you dislike it as much as I do? Is there another custom software that you prefer more? Do you think Samsung should just stick with stock software, with some minor tweaks here and there? Let me know what you think.