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Samsung Galaxy S3 launcher ported to ICS ROMs – blasphemy in the ears of stock Android fans


Manufacturer UIs are here to stay. It is the only way a phone maker can differentiate itself from a crowd of manufacturers using the same operating system. In the hands of manufacturers the result can either be amazing or simply horrible. Regardless, it is a matter of opinion. But around this site people are usually yelling and screaming how much they hate UI overlays, making it a bit weird when people port these launchers to other devices.

The guys at XDA Developers have managed to port the Samsung Galaxy S3’s launcher to all ROMs running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That is right, you can stick the Touchwiz launcher into any rooted device running ICS, regardless of the brand. Of course this comes with its limitations, and it won’t work perfectly with all devices. There is a rather goodlist of working devices, though.

The launcher is fairly simple to install. One simply needs to put the .apk file under /system/apps using any root explorer.

I would never choose to install a manufacturer launcher, as I prefer regular, simple and beautiful stock Android. And we are sure many of you will scream: “Why would you destroy your device like that?!” It might be important to note that users have been reporting rather good experiences in terms of performance. Some even swear by it being smoother than any other launcher, including Nova and Apex Launcher.

The point here is that there is a drug for everyone. And if Touchwiz is yours, then by all means – enjoy it! MIUI has a very high demand, and it is also very similar to Touchwiz and iOS. We love options, right?

Hit the source link for download, instructions and more details.

[Source: XDA Developers]

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. Sweeeeet!! I just got it working on my Samsung Galaxy S3. And I didn’t even have to root (but I did…)!!

    1. Hahahahaha. Awesome.

    2. He’s joking, right? I sure hope so or somebody did a lot of work for nothing…

  2. ew, man that’s nasty. It looks like gingerbread numbers for the clock.

  3. I have a GS3 and a Galaxy Nexus… I prefer the TouchWiz over Vanilla.
    For me is better looking, more visual and customizable, maybe not too fast like Vanilla.
    I saw Vanilla too simple, but everyone has different likes.

    1. Um, then use a custom launcher like Nova or Apex or similar if you want customization. But then again, your preference.. :)

      1. I think you missed the point

  4. Why would you want the S3’s Touchpiz? The biggest cons I noticed were:
    1) It’s a bit slower than Nova, Trebuchet, Apex, etc., but the fast cpu masks it
    2) You can’t drag and drop to create app/dock folders(!), but you can manually create ugly folders.
    3) Scrollable wallpaper is disabled
    4) It doesn’t work in landscape mode
    5) Other stuff I’m forgetting

    1. My favorite is number 5!!!

  5. Now to port HTC sense launcher to galaxy s 3!

  6. I think other than the stock launcher, HTC Sense 4 is the best

  7. I have played around with many launchers…..I really do not get wanting touchwiz over many of the other options out there. My preference is certainly stock though. Launchers tend to make phones laggy… my opinion!

  8. Too bad you cant thumbs down (no thanks) on XDA

  9. I really don’t see any reason changing software on this device. I have root access So i can do what I please, but as far as user interface goes this is by far the smoothest device Ive ever used . I have every rom under the sun with the droid x droid x 2 and nexus device. had an ishit. Nothing can match up to the s3 right Now

  10. “It is the only way a phone maker can differentiate itself from a crowd of manufacturers using the same operating system.”

    I’m tired of reading this idea. Skins are NOT the only way phone makers can differentiate. Phones are not PCs and have a huge hardware differentiation factor. Does anybody think Nokia couldn’t have differentiated with their camera tech if they had gone Android? Samsung’s screen technology (like it or not) is different than most other phones. If a phone maker gets rid of most of their software engineers and concentrates on offering a well designed phone with all subsystems (GPS, phone call quality, DAC, camera, screen, …) working very well on stock Jelly Bean, they would stand out like a sore thumb.

    Partially I blame Google for not putting enough thought into the UI early on. People wanted features they couldn’t get in stock. Those days are over, but the momentum of skins lives on. It’s Nexus for me (Nexus 7 shipping and waiting for the next Nexus phone which I hope they will finally get right).

    1. True, UI skins are not the ONLY way manufacturers can differentiate… But they are the CHEAPEST way. That’s an important point to keep in mind in you want to talk about stuff in the real world. You know, where money (unfortunately) is king.

      Here’s a mental exercise for ya:

      You want a manufacturer to get rid of most of their software engineers and instead produce a phone with fully stock Android and all the other hardware components “(GPS,
      phone call quality, DAC, camera, screen, …) working very well”. Ok, maybe you could answer the following two questions: 1) which manufacturer do you have in mind for the job, and 2) how much cheaper do you think can they sell their phone (let’s talk the unlocked version) in order to have a COMPETITIVE price advantage over the $399 Google’s selling the Nexus at?

      (Hint: remember, you’re proposing a stock Android experience. So whoever’s gonna make your device has got to pit himself against the combined might of Google and Sammy – and still manage to sell enough to make a profit in order to stay in the game.)

      Hmm… how many manufacturers can you think of that would fit the bill? How many manufacturers IN THE WORLD have the capability to go toe-to-toe against such a partnership? Or how about this: how many don’t actually have the capability, but yet would be crazy enough to try?

      1. 1) Probably not Samsung, HTC, or Sonly. Less so, but not Motorola either. Perhaps the PC companies are more logical choices – Dell, Asus, perhaps HP could give it another go with Android this time. All three of these companies have screwed up before (Asus with GPS, HP with small screen phones nobody wants anymore, and Dell with just about everything). But if one of these companies (or any other) wishes to give it a good college try, it isn’t that hard. Most of the subsystems are designed by somebody else anyway – you just have to choose the right one, and be careful with RF analog design (especially with GPS). I think phones are too thin and too light myself and if a company wants to release the type of phone that I think is perfect for me (unlikely), they will sacrifice a few mm to make it even more repairable then the Nexus 7 (see the Nexus 7 ipad comparison by ifixit recently). In fact, perhaps there is an open PCB design that can be used.

        2) Really for the phone I’d want, I’d expect it to cost more than a Galaxy Nexus (as well as outperform it in EVERY way except size – it would be a bit bulkier). But that isn’t to say a simpler phone with good but not exceptional components can’t be manufactured and sold around the $400 mark – maybe more initially. The Galaxy Nexus didn’t sell at $400 initially. For a top of the line component phone, I’d pay $700 or $800. What really needs to happen is strict regulations on all carriers that they must offer parallel plans to every plan with a subsidized phone for the same price minus the subsidy (that they must disclose). Then people can start buying a lot more phones unsubsidized and we don’t need manufacturers making deals with carriers (that link really must be broken).

        1. Thanks for your reply.

          Based on what you’re saying, any manufacturer who wants to try releasing a stock Android device will need to make it better than the Nexus phone of that given year, and sell it at a higher price too. Obviously, given those parameters, they would also only be able to bring it to market several months after the Nexus is released, since the latest OS version usually launches at the same time and they’ll need time for testing.

          I dunno about you, but I honestly can’t see enough of a target market for any manufacturer to try their luck doing this. And that’s the main thrust of my original point – there’s very little financial (profit) incentive in releasing a product that’s gonna be compared directly to the Nexus, which, as you will surely agree, will be the one released first, grabbing headlines and market share (being the reference model and all), and will get OS updates first. Who in their right minds wants to compete with that?

          Look, you’re right – manufacturers can differentiate using hardware as well as software. But given that tweaking software is cheaper than tweaking hardware, you’re looking at a very small number of manufacturers who can pull off what you’re suggesting. Outside of those big three or four manufacturers IN THE WHOLE WORLD, nobody will want to release a product that goes head-to-head against the Nexus.

          Even if a manufacturer decides to offer stock Android on a lower-spec’ed device (ie differentiating on hardware but at the cheaper end), by the time they’re ready to release their phone, they might still find themselves going head-to-head with the better spec’ed Nexus because Google could again be offering it at a discount.

          It’s a losing game for any manufacturer.

  11. well, as much as I dislike Touchwiz, the Samsung calendar is WAAAAAY better than the crap used in Cyanogenmod roms… really awful underpowered crappy calendars in the “vanilla” roms…that is the main reason I would want to have touchwiz still on my system

    1. Business Calendar is pretty good. Lots of widgets and better views than stock.

      1. Hi, Yes, I have that app, its pretty good, but I like to use a month view, and the month view on Business calendar is not great, either tiny writing you cant read, or is truncated, OR some silly little blocks to represent events on that day… the way Samsung and iPhone month calendar works, with markers on days to show events, and full lines of text below, scrolling to show whatever events you have, is a far better solution.

  12. I am a fan of stock android and I love this…

    Not because I like Touchwiz at all, but because I think this is what android is all about: CHOICE!

  13. The only way to differentiate is by making crappy skins? How about making great hardware and leaving Google to what they’re good at (software)?!

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