Houston, we have a new voice assistant in town. Following Samsung’s announcement that Bixby Voice would be rolling out in over 200 countries globally, our Samsung Galaxy S8 received an update that surprise, surprise, gives us access to Bixby Voice.
This is it. The reviews for the Galaxy S8 are all out and if there was one common denominator between all the reviews, it would be that Samsung makes the best smartphone hardware in the world. But since the S6, I’ve always felt that Samsung did hardware extremely well.
What they were rubbish at was their software, more specifically their Android skin. Gosh, I hate TouchWiz. But it seems like Samsung has been listening because when I spent my time with the Galaxy S8, I actually enjoyed the software experience.
Samsung‘s TouchWiz is often something you either love or you hate. I personally hate it, but with every update, Samsung does seem to try and make it a little more bearable for me. Its latest iteration — also known as the Grace UX — on the Galaxy Note7 is by far the most tolerable version yet. What’s more it also brings a whole bunch of useful Always On Display functions which I loved.
Now, it looks like Samsung already have plans ready to bring Grace to their Galaxy S7 and S7 edge smartphones. The bad news? It looks like you might have to wait until an Android Nougat update to get it.
You know those times when you’ve accidentally dunked your smartphone in water and proceed to charge it shortly after? Nope, us neither. But still, once you’ve made a device water resistant, it doesn’t hurt that you’d prompt your customers that charging is imposible (yes, say it with a Spanish slang) – when it feels that your smartphone is a little on the wet side.
The dreaded software update issue is back and this time, Samsung has been slapped with an injunction for failing to regularly update their smartphones. The suit comes from an influential NGO that cares for consumer interests in Netherlands, Consumentenbond aka Dutch Consumers’ Association.
This is brought to you by the Samsung Galaxy Note5 – How will you capture, create, share your Moment of Note?
Life is made out of moments. Moments of joy, sadness, heartbreak and the new experiences that capture the intricacies of what makes life worth living. Who could forget their first visit to a foreign place, the joy of that breathtaking sunset after a hard day’s climb or that first bite into the best burger you’ve ever had?
Turnarounds for the Taiwanese company has mainly been negative, from being a powerhouse in the smartphone world back in 2011, to most recently plummeting off the main stock exchange in Taiwan. Has their team finally smartened up by listening to its consumers? Nigel Newby-House, their head of product, talks about how the company intends to scale back on their custom UI, HTC Sense; bases that have been covered by Samsung on their TouchWiz skin, which now is a lot lighter than before.
While you cannot remove the apps completely, you can stop them from running and slowing down your phone, as bloatware is a persistent problem with Samsung’s phones. The new TouchWiz reportedly takes up 30% less space compared to what’s on the Galaxy S5, and you will be able to disable a host of native apps inclusive the ones from Google as well as Microsoft’s OneDrive and Skype.
You can even disable S Health, S Voice and even Calculator or Maps if you see fit, but some functions might be affected without crucial apps such as Google Maps. But if you truly want a more streamlined experience, you’ll finally get to kick all that bloatware to the curb.
Well known to be full of bloatware, generally unoptimized and not very visually appealing, the new version with the Galaxy S6 is rumoured to be optimized to the point it will run similar to near-stock Android level and will majorly cut down on the bloatware by making most of it optional downloads. This is a great move on their part so users will be able to get more performance out of it instead of just relying on devices with larger and larger amounts of processing power to handle it all.
However it is unclear just what sort of apps Samsung has removed, where it could be possible that things like S Health, S Voice, S Note or Scrapbook will have to be downloaded separately on the Galaxy Apps store.
At this point, Samsung is figuring out how to integrate Google’s Material Design guidelines with their current TouchWIZ interface. In a 8 minute preview video, the UI is pretty much the same TouchWIZ UI that’s found on the current crop of Samsung Galaxy models but there are some changes particularly the appearance of its toggle buttons. Its native apps such as phone dialler, messaging and web browser has been refreshed to comply with the new clean and simple look. Apart from the new appearance, the new Android L is expected to deliver performance improvements as it uses ART Runtime instead of Dalvik.
As this is an early build, it looks like there’s still a long way to go and Sammobile has reported that the current build is still very buggy for day to day usage. Watch the video after the break.
Here’s a nice hands-on video of the Samsung Galaxy S II which has been revealed but yet to hit the market. Apart from the new hardware improvements, Samsung has also put in effort in their TouchWiz 4.0 UI which runs on top of the Android OS.
One interesting feature they have is the browser zooming capabilities. While you can pinch to zoom, the Galaxy S II also lets you zoom in and out by pressing 2 fingers on the screen while moving it towards or away from you. Looks pretty cool and you’ve gotta watch the video after the break to see it yourself.
Another feature is the home screens which feature live panels. Now it displays widgets in tile-like fashion and that’s not all. You can also switch between home screens by waving it left or right.
So far no details of Malaysia availability but it was mentioned that it will be coming to Singapore next month.