TouchWiz on the Galaxy S6 may trim some Samsung fat in favor of pre-installed Microsoft apps


Samsung Galaxy S5 water DSC05781

It would be a stretch to describe Samsung’s version of Android — aka TouchWiz — as just another user interface “skin.” A complete user experience (UX) is probably more appropriate, with Samsung’s custom Android software featuring a full set of their own in-house applications and services that reach into all levels of the OS.

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride since TouchWiz was first introduced on the original Samsung Galaxy S (landing Samsung in legal hot water over their half-assed attempt at cloning Apple’s iOS). We’ll admit, on one hand we loved Samsung’s ambitious approach to Android, improving upon the core OS with features like split-screen apps, floating widgets, and robust camera software.

On the other hand, TouchWiz’s kitchen sink approach has snowballed out of control, to the point where it seemed like Samsung was changing things just for the sake of changing things (showing off is probably a better description), with device performance suffering as a result. It’s clear they need to start over and according to recent rumors, they just might — starting with the Samsung Galaxy S6.

Today, the folks at SamMobile have reportedly received new details as to what we can expect from this new TouchWiz. While we’re not sure on the overall look, Samsung will provide for theme options which we’re crossing our fingers will include a “stock Android Lollipop theme” but that’s just wishful thinking at this point. Other UI tweaks are said to include the following:

  • Samsung’s stock apps are more “colorful”
  • Users can select between 4×4, 4×5 and 5×5 icon layouts in the app drawer
  • App drawer no longer supports endless scrolling
  • Music app still runs in full-screen mode at all times
  • Dialer app looks “green as grass” (whatever that means)
  • Default keyboard UI looks like a mix of Galaxy Tab S keyboard and iOS

As far as performance goes, the Galaxy S6’s version of TouchWiz is being described as “amazingly fast,” even snappier than the Note 4’s recent Lollipop update. That’s not to say the UI will be stripped down in anyway, with Samsung’s version of Lollipop on the Galaxy S6 featuring a plethora of Material design animations.

There’s also further confirmation that Samsung will be removing a good majority of their pre-installed apps (S Note, S This, S That, S Etc.), making them downloadable from the Samsung’s own Galaxy app store. Before you get too excited, that’s not to say the phone wont come with any bloatware pre-installed. Quite the contrary.

In light of news that Microsoft and Samsung have recently ended all legal disputes over patent licensing agreements, sources claim the Galaxy S6 will come out of the box with a full suite of Microsoft’s Android applications, including Microsoft OneNote, OneDrive, Skype, and even Office Mobile with free Office 365 subscription. We wonder what motivated this move?

With the exception of pre-installed Microsoft apps (we’re hoping these can be uninstalled), so far we like what we’re hearing about this new version of TouchWiz. With Samsung overhauling the UI last year, it sounds crazy that they’d be doing it again for a followup model. Of course, we’ll learn more during their March 1st event when everything is finally revealed. We are excite.

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Sammy you have my attention.

  2. Bloatware Inbound…

  3. Kudos Sammy! You are listening. I think this year will be their turn around year in Android for them. I like the Touchwiz version of the S6 is” amazing fast”. Faster than the Note 4! Music to my ears! I can not wait…. S6/S6Edge has stolen the MWC show.

      1. Turn around year. Many people are saying that everyone is leaving Samsung because of the same old thing and being tired of touchwiz. And that bad quarter last year. But this is what they need, making the necessary changes. They are listening.

        1. I left Samsung because of all the crap that put on their phones, it just takes up space and resources. I had a GS3, and after I rooted and froze a bunch of the Samsung bloatware, it ran much better. And I know by the time the S5 was out, they had added even more stuff I was never going to use but couldn’t easily get rid of. No thanks, love my LG G3!

          1. Exactly the same here, except I had a GS4 in between, with a custom rom based on the Google Play edition. Was nice enough, got rid of all this TouchWiz nonsense. GS5 didn’t have that, so I moved to LG G3, can’t say I regret the move!

        2. All I’m saying is don’t get your hopes up. This is Samsung we’re talking about here. I’m cautiously optimistic (don’t want to be let down again).

          1. We shall see

          2. Sadly, Chris, we don’t all get what we want. ;-)

        3. The “turn around year” for Sammy was also expected to be last year…

      2. I know Chris,riiiiiggghhht? :) What the huh?

    1. U from the future?

      1. I am. I see things before they happen.

  4. I’m sure that Samsung will release some SRemove app that will allow you to remove their bloatware by simply downloading it from the play store and selling your soul.

  5. Seeing is believing.

  6. I’d rather have Microsoft apps preinstalled (and hopefully removable) then sam-dung’s s apps.

    1. Actually, I’d rather have Samsung’s.

      Skype, onenote, 365? Nothing I need on my next phone.

      1. Root + Titanium + uninstall

        1. Not everyone roots their phones.

        2. You shouldn’t need to root to remove bloatware.

          1. Agreed, but I root anyway (mostly to block ads), so it’s a moot point for me

          2. I usually root as well, but less savy users shouldn’t have do to so (and probably shouldn’t attempt it anyways).

  7. Why’d they get rid of infinite scroll!?

    1. It’s amazing they leave a ton of nonsense, and then remove a small and useful function. Ugh!

    2. Google’s been pushing that one with their launcher…and I have NO idea why. Paginated app drawer is the worst idea since…ever.

      1. That’s the main reason I use Nova Launcher. Scrolling through my app drawer is MUCH faster than swiping through page after page. I never did understand why Google removed that feature from Android.

  8. Would be nice if they did what Motorola did and just went with a near stock build of Android and add some features into and removing touch wiz all the way. It completely turned Motorola around from moto blur to what they have now. Remember every one used to hate on moto blur.

    1. yeah i get the logic, and not that i like touchwhiz, but i dont want every UI looking exactly the same to be honest.

  9. my first smartphone (LG Vortex) had bing permanently set as the system search engine, essentially making the system search key just a shortcut to the bing app. had to root to get rid of it. I’m having flashbacks to those days. really hoping this rumor is just that – a rumor

  10. I think the microsoft apps might be result of Microsoft and Samsungs patent agreement.

  11. Samsung’s stock apps are more “colorful”, how about
    Samsung’s stock apps are “GONE”

    1. Apex Launcher (or similar). Simply remove their presence from the list. They don’t slow anything down, and a couple are downright useful (Samsung Camera WAY better than Google’s, S-Beam FAR superior to Android Beam, heck, I even think that colorizing the settings menu is extremely useful because it’s faster to find what I’m looking for by color than by reading the text)

      1. Oh yeah, I use – and have for years now – GoLauncher. But honestly, I would love to get rid of a front end layer of 3rd party skin like a launcher – which still uses resources – in favor of the phones launcher. BUT thus far, no phone launcher – stock – can get it right like a 3rd party. With a 3rd party launcher, infinite scroll, hiding apps, renaming apps, organizing them, cool transitions in and out of pages and apps center are way, way, awesome. So awesome, I doubt I will give them up. But I would like to.

  12. Why the hell… Or how in the hell can Samsung make their UI anymore colourful for F Sakes, they are already way too colourful and need to be toned down drastically.

    1. We’re more than likely referring to the Material design elements, which DO make for a more colorful app. Just open up G+, Drive, or Photos, and you’ll quickly notice how colorful the borders and header bar are.

    2. Nah, they just the dullest colors though.

  13. Basically, if acid is in your daily routine; you’re going to love this phone.

  14. “Users can select between 4×4, 4×5 and 5×5 icon layouts in the app drawer” they needed to do this on the home screen to, 4×4 on 5″+ makes for massive icons and tons of wasted space (i realize that it can be done with other launchers, but then you don’t get the stock widgets)

    1. I already do this on my Note 3 using Nova Launcher Prime…my grid is 12×11 on the home screen and 6×5 in the app drawel.

      1. They want the stock widgets. I’d use the Stock HTC launcher, but I also want to change my grid size. Though rooting changes this, or if the ROM has the option built in. You can see my issue. =.S

        1. No rooting needed to use Nova Launcher Prime that’s the beauty of it :-)

          1. Sorry. I mean rooting solves being able to using the stock launcher and changing grid sizes.

            I need to give Nova Launcher a try. I don’t do enough customization within the launcher right now to be swayed by other launchers. Everything I do is in every launcher, so yea. =.P

  15. ditch Samsung stock apps, or make those uninstallable and I’m sold.

    1. Root + Titanium, problem solved

      1. Rooting solves all problems, though I don’t like the idea of needing to root to solve a problem.

  16. I don’t care
    much about touch wiz feature on Galaxy S6. The feature that I am looking in
    this upcoming Smartphones is battery, its compatibility with wireless charger
    and if the device is powered by quick charge 2.0-technology or not?

    1. doubt u will get quickk charge as that is a feature made capable by the qualcom chips. this is likely why they are making it capable of wireless charging out of box.

  17. How is that trimming the fat then? Sounds more like it’s replacing one type of fat for another.

    1. More like a woman switching to diet soda.

  18. I’m just hoping for the S6 to be an exact copy of the iPhone 6.

    1. Hoping that’s sarcastic.
      the 5 looked way better than the 6

      1. Hope that’s sarcasm. The s5 was ugly as sin.

        1. Lol, I was pertaining to the iPhone 5, not the S5

          1. You should rephrase it, sounds like you’re talking about the s5 vs iPhone 6.

  19. MS ironically does a good job with android apps so I don’t mind, but losing apps like snote means that note users will have to take the extra time to download it from the play store. MS One note isn’t as good, and I know a lot of people who want things out of the box and hate entering the play store.

    1. That’s for galaxy S6 i doubt they will remove s note for the note 5.

  20. Well if you can’t remove ms pos bloat apps that no one cares for then S6 is off the list

  21. I don’t have a problem with bloatware as long as it can be easily uninstalled.

    1. That doesn’t make it bloatware then. Makes it another app.

      1. I suppose my sarcasm was hard to detect.

        1. Oh… I get that a lot, too. Let’s just… ignore my comment. LoL!!

  22. The amazing galaxy s6 phone http://mysamsunggalaxys6.com/, it is really cool.

  23. Sense 6.0 is kind of shady, so it doesn’t match lollipop well.

  24. Listen, samsung is running to the ground… just like Nokia…just like Blackberry….

    .their major stores are closing one by one… most are not reported…
    the models of phones they launch are guaranteed Flops.. ignored…
    their own mobile division forecast is saying 2015 is going to be worse than 2014 which they loss profit by a massive,division closing 74%….
    . There are 40 million units of unsold galaxy S5 in all their warehouses globally…to cut their losses.. s5 components are used for the s6. .
    . they would rebrand it as the galaxy s6…… Buy a samsung? get a most likely to get redundant phone.regret it in 2015.. why pay for a pricey samsung when you could get a better built , more elegant SONY , HTC , LG..MOTOROLA..Iphone 6

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