22
Feb
samsungapps

We're 99% certain that Samsung's Galaxy S5 will be revealed in Barcelona on Monday. And with every new iteration of the company's flagship, Samsung has also either updated or remade their company user interface, shifting elements and aesthetics to match the new hardware. If you're a regular user of the proprietary Samsung Apps (or if you just see it in your app tray and ignore it like everyone else), you might be mildly interested to know that the app portal has been updated.

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The new version of Samsung's app portal features visuals that are flatter and more angular than the older edition, neatly mixing Holo style and the UI seen on the new TabPRO and NotePRO tablets. Those devices would be decent indicators of a shift in Samsung's visual design all by themselves, but the updated app uses a lot of the same elements of space and color. See also the leaked screenshots of possible new S Voice and "Life Times" apps.

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There's been no reliable leak of any new TouchWiz editions so far, so this is all idle speculation. Samsung users should be prompted to update Samsung Apps automatically to version 14022004.20.051.0 soon, assuming you haven't disabled it. It should come as a small non-Market installation.

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A slightly older version of Samsung Apps, for comparison.

Samsung's Unpacked event is on Monday. Android Police will be covering it live, no matter what Samsung does or doesn't show off.

Thanks, Abhishek Saharawat and Omar Feliciano!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Alex Flynn

    I nearly threw up a little when I saw the older version of Samsung Apps.

    • abobobilly

      I threw up MORE when i saw the "later" version of Samsung Apps. They still look horrid.

      Infact, ANY app that doesn't utilize the Android Guidelines will look horr..... PREPOSTEROUS. Period.

      • Roger Siegenthaler

        So apps like Timely are horrible?, they didn't really follow google's android guidelines that much either... ;)

        I do agree with you but I'm just going to put it out there that not even google itself follows the guidelines in their apps a lot of the time.

        • abobobilly

          Oh it definitely is. If not preposterous, its definitely horrible. If you notice my point, its the exact same thing i am saying ... about the "iOS Tabbed Designs" these guys have been using.

          If they start utilizing the "Side Bar" design of Android, not only will apps look beautiful, but will add to the core experience of Android.

          Moving on, i don't disagree with your 2nd argument either. Apps like "Gesture Search" (or whatever its name was) and "Goggles" etc are pretty much left out to rot. A few of apps are enjoying the Android Design like G+ App, Keep, Newsstand, Hangouts etc. But even from these apps, some of them are just "WRONG".

          Hangouts for instance, with their side bar having the worst functionality of "slide to remove" thingy. So many times have i deleted a thread accidently, and now, i am just not comfortable using it.

          Anyway, i hope you get my point ... which is all about "Following Design Guidelines". Devs these days focus on this thing RARELY. And the ones who do,i don't know .. i just feel like Kissing them chaps -.-

          • Roger Siegenthaler

            I do get your point that people aren't following it, but my statement stands that the guidelines aren't great to begin with...

            For example a) how does it make any sense to use a sidebar menu for 3 items (Google Keep), it's so useless it's not funny. Also tabs aren't iOS at all, they just have to be swipeable to not intrude on the UX.

            example b) obviously google disagrees with your analysis of good UI/UX because they hired the entire dev team behind timely (bitspin) for the excellent design on Timely.

  • anmolm97

    Samsung better get rid of the same old hardware of their phones time and again.... Its time for them to change... Actually that time has gone.... But better late than never.

  • Orvar Kalsong

    Does anyone even use this app?

    • dandroid13

      I do, even got a couple paid games for free. :D

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    • Sean Lumly

      In 2011 Samsung had reached the 100M download mark (which is significant), and I'm sure it's gotten much higher since then as Samsung's market share has grown. Samsung has a captive audience, industry leading hardware, and rock-solid marketing. And it looks as if they will be getting the UI right, if this update is any indication.

      In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Samsung Apps started to pull ahead of Google Play in terms of sales revenue which is very low despite Android's impressive marketshare.

      • gmaninvan

        Google play revenues aren't low, they are just lower than the iPhone. This has also changed dramatically. Google play revenues have been consistently on the rise and Google has been proactive at making this happen.

    • RarestName

      I disabled that POS.

  • Dennis Ulijn

    Android would look so much better when the status bar would turn the same color as the action bar. I know it can be done right now with tinted status bar, but i would like the status bar to be customizable without rooting...

    • David Sousa

      Actually, that would create confusion between both. Honestly, I'd use a gray or dark gray (Holo.Light and Holo.Light.DarkActionBar) and put the statuse in the same color as the app theme color accent.

    • Mike Gonzalez

      that's how iOS 7 works

    • Johannes

      You have to distinguish between a (subjective) better look and a better UX.

      The translucent statusbar causes some disadvantages (UX-wise), especially when used without content that would justify its use, such as big images, maps, etc.

      • Dennis Ulijn

        You are right. Coloring the status bar like the action bar would imply that the status bar is actually part of the app, while it's in fact the UI of Android OUTSIDE of the app (notifications of other apps, system settings). Still, it would look so much better and complete...
        The translucent bars right now are indeed only viable for full screen applications. Putting the translucent bar over a static single color looks wrong and old.

    • http://seapip.com/ Thomas Gladdines

      That's actually possible with android kitkat if the apps make sure that the statusbar is transparent.

      • miri

        That's not the intended use of the feature, Google recommends against it and I personally think it looks incredibly awkward, having the visibility guard over a static, solid colored, non-content UI element.

    • Ivan Feign

      Omg how have I not heard of this module before? I just tried it, love it but I wish it wasn't so unresponsive. Looks great when it works properly.

  • cc_star

    So much for the patent deal with Google including an arrangement for Samsung to hold back on apps such as this, that compete directly with Google's own

    • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Infowerx Solutions

      That deal was just signed recently. It'll take some time to make those changes. These Samsung updates were already in the pipeline to debut this year.

    • Android Developer

      What deal?
      Can you please put a link? I never read about it.

    • Frettfreak

      No one has any idea the details of that all. It's all speculation as far as I know.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Okay, Samsung, Okay, we get it! You are gonna give us new major piece of technology. Jeez, how many hints are they gonna drop?

  • Martin

    The new interface looks like iOS 7 and I LOVE IT!!! :-))))

    • Frettfreak

      Funny considering google started doing the whole "ios7" thing on their apps and trending that direction WAY before apple.

      • Martin

        It's not competition.. It's about what looks beautiful.. Android is ugly as F*ck, iOS is gorgeous! So what Samsung is doing right now is great! I don't care who copies who.. And what you mean "google started whe whole ios7 thing" what thing, I don't see anything they copied from Google? Or you are talking about Control Center? Which looks 100000x better than Android? I am sick of blind TURBO fans... I don't give a F for brands.. I care what I get for my money!

        • Roh_Mish

          Have you seen Ice Cream Sandwich or later? (Stock not Samsung).

          • Martin

            Yes, so what? They look better than iOS? It's not about features only, it's design, how easy to use are they.. And so much more.

          • Leonardo Farage Freitas

            I would say that Windows Phone started all this new design revolution.

          • RarestName

            I actually prefer the look of Android (after ICS) over iOS 7's design. To each his own, I guess.

  • Sean

    I have a Galaxy Note 3 and i've never really got the point of the store, is it for apps optimised for Samsung Phones or is it basically just android ports?

    • Leonardo Farage Freitas

      Well, basically just the same apps you find on the Play Store. Only sometimes it gets some good offers and such. But basically the same thing, but with a uglier UI, IMO.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    If you want your free SketchBook Pro app, bundled with all Note devices, you'll have to use their store at least once.
    It also has a free English dictionary app, and had several point-and-click games for free on one occasion, so it's not totally useless after all.

  • Daniel

    One thing that caught my attention is that on my note 3 the "options" is on the top right corner,along with the search bar. Like most Google own apps. It makes me wonder if Samsung will release a button less phone like the Nexus.

    • Jaime

      I noticed just the same. On the new tab pro line, the menu button is now a recent apps button. I can only think this will be implement in all the new phones as well.

      • Leonardo Farage Freitas

        Samsung is removing the MENU button. Becoming more in sync with Android's ecosystem. I think, this has been the default on all Samsung's kitkat apps. They are not hiding the action bar overflow menu anymore.

        • Daniel

          The menu button on my Note 3 doesn't work on the Google Play app. I found that to be weird but it's all making sense in a way. I like the home button Samsung uses on his devices... But I wish they could use that space for more screen space instead and making their devices smaller.

  • John Kats

    Lagsung bloat are getting an awful redisign!!!

  • anon

    oh god that pink to white to blue gradtient

  • Jaime

    Another change I noticed when my app updated is that it now includes a virtual menu button on the upper right part of the screen (the 3 dots button). Looks like Samsung really is going to change the menu button for a recent apps button. That will be a step in the right direction.

  • Sean Lumly

    I may be taking the unpopular tact of complimenting something that opposes Google's products/services, but I really, really like Samsung's new design language. It is clean, uncomplicated (at a glance) and very good looking.

    Although it looks similar to iOS7's interface, it is about as different from iOS7's UI as iOS7 is from Android's UI language. In this case, they are using large blocks of alternate colour to effectively differentiate on-screen sections, and use of low-contrast background images. It's very pleasant to look at, and should be extremely flexible as well. To be honest, I am hard-pressed to think of a nicer looking stock OS UI. This includes all of the major (and not so major) vendors. Let's hope that the top status-bar becomes transparent ala iOS7.

    I also really like that the "Samsung Apps" store is getting some attention. Android desparatly needs competition in this space. Google Play suffers not from content, or good content, but from piles of garbage that make the good stuff hard to find. It also seems to lower expectations of what a quality app is: apps that have been given 4 - 4.5 stars IMO often do not deserve 3. Google Play comes across as a flea market, and not a department store. Hopefully Samsung is paying attention to this and can offer a great experience and offer some much needed competition in the space.

    All in all, I think that Samsung is onto something quite significant. I don't know if it will move devices (frankly I don't think general consumers make decisions on such things), but I think it will increase user satisfaction. I am really looking forward to the imminent Galaxy S5, but am likely going to get the Galaxy Note 4 when it comes out. Samsung seems to be doing a really great job.

    • Frettfreak

      I am totally with you. Was not to crazy about the old touchwiz and all the super bright neon crap but really liking the new app designs coming from them. Just hoping touchwiz follows suit.

      • Sean Lumly

        Yes, I sincerely hope that this is to be the new "touchwiz". That and perhaps a better name! :D

        Seriously though, if this is the shape of things to come, it will make the Galaxy S5 a significant update over the Galaxy S4. Samsung devices always seem to have a plethora of interesting features, and with a more intuitive design these features could start to look less like bloat and more like a serious competitive advantage.

        • Leonardo Farage Freitas

          I don't really like Samsung Apps because, IMO, it has a trashy fell around it. I don't really know how to put it, but i'll try.

          For me, the app seems unfinished and not very well developed. That horizontal scroll showing some apps, on the top of the main page, is so.. err.. trashy :P But anyway, hope it is better developed in this new instance.

          But still, I am not a real fan of using Samsung Apps, for if I end up buying apps I'll be stuck with Samsung (hope I am making myself clear).

          Using Google Play I am certain that all my bought apps will be available be it on Samsung, HTC, Sony and any other OEM's Android phone. And this gives me a sense of freedom :D

          • Sean Lumly

            You raise very good points.

            Yes, I am with you in agreement that buying "Samsung Apps" apps locks you into their store, which would be less ideal in the long run if you decided to go with a separate vendor. Google Play has a significant advantage in that regard.

    • Plazmic Flame

      Dude... this looks like iOS App store... mocking up a comparison image right now... brb

  • Roh_Mish

    Surprisingly this year we haven't seen any good leak for flagships yet. By this time last year, Internet was flooded with leaks.

  • Craig Nelson

    Why is Samsung still duplicating apps that Google already offers. Stop with all the extra bloat!!! If you wanna do you own version of Google apps just use Tizen not Android. As for your UI why do I still see that green Gingerbread battery Icon. Please stop. I just hope the new UI is better looking that the current touch wiz which is the ugliest Android skin.

    • deltatux

      That is likely to happen since Samsung doesn't really need Android any more really. It can pretty much survive without it due to brand recognition. They can simply slowly migrate over to Tizen, and as long as the app selection is there and the user interface is familiar, the general population wouldn't know the difference really.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Is there an uglier UI anywhere than Touchwhiz?

    • Ryan

      LG.