Samsung’s software layer for years was called TouchWiz, and despite the company’s efforts to get rid of that brand, that’s very much what we all know it as. Yesterday at its developer conference, Samsung officially revealed a refreshed take on its infamous Android skin. Samsung One UI is the new name of the company’s skin, and it’s coming this January. One UI contains some new visual flair including more rounded corners, splashes of color across apps, redesigned icons and apart from the sweet visual aspects it has on offer, it could make using your phone that little bit easier.
In One UI, Samsung seems to be prioritizing being able to use your phone with one hand. Most of Samsung’s apps will have the majority of their controls at the bottom of the user interface, with other information, that you might not want or need to interact with, being found at the top. Several of Samsung’s bundled apps will now have a “viewing area” (big, easy-to-read header text) and an interaction area covering the lower half of the screen. No more making that dreadful reach for the top left of your Galaxy Note. For example, in the Messages app the app will be split into two sections — a preview section and an “interaction area.” With these two sections, you’ll be able to select what messages you want to read, which will appear in the viewing area without opening a new screen While that does result in a noticeably huge waste of space, it also makes the phone easier to use. Menus also pop-up at the bottom of the screen instead of the center. Samsung says it’s the “most user-focused smartphone UX” it has produced to date.
Notably, Samsung has also introduced a system-wide Night Mode with One UI. This enables a dark, AMOLED-friendly theme throughout the UI and Samsung’s apps. Speaking of background colors, Samsung is also making the experience between software and hardware a little more uniform by color-matching aspects of the interface with the color of the phone itself. So, for example, if you buy a purple phone, you’ll find different purple user interface elements too.
Samsung also introduced larger “focus blocks” in apps (like the gallery) that show more detail and are easier to tap. “The experience was reengineered to reduce clutter and distractions, allowing the user to better focus and quickly navigate their phone,” Samsung said in a press release.
While initially it wasn’t quite clear, Samsung confirmed to us that One UI is indeed aimed at being the successor to Samsung Experience, which is itself the successor to TouchWiz. It’s clear that Samsung has put a lot of work into creating a clean interface since the days of TouchWiz.
Samsung’s One UI will be available to the Galaxy S9, S9 Plus, and Note 9 in early January, and will presumably show up in Samsung’s other phones going forward.