Samsung is thought for providing a number of the finest Android telephones, particularly for quick and long-term replace help. For many of its higher-end gadgets, the corporate guarantees as much as 4 years of software program updates and 5 years of safety patches. With the well timed supply of these updates, Samsung is surpassing Google in some ways. However this hasn’t at all times been the case.

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Samsung’s famed software program pores and skin, One UI, launched in 2018. Earlier than then, the corporate wasn’t recognized for offering quick and intensive updates. When you keep in mind TouchWiz, you will have vivid recollections of a bloated interface with tons of options that nobody requested for, plus the inevitable slowdowns as soon as gadgets obtained older. Between telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely, you’ll be able to see how a lot the corporate has grown within the {hardware} division and in relation to software program.

A Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus laying on a tapestry

With Samsung’s fifth iteration of its software program, Samsung One UI 5, now rolled out to nearly all supported telephones, we had the chance to take a seat down with Sally Jeong, the corporate’s Vice President of Android Framework R&D. We talked about how Samsung managed to tackle this massive transition, how vital clients and beta customers are to Samsung in its software program choices, and the way intently the corporate works with Google to attain this spectacular monitor document.

This interview was first revealed in November 2022. It has been condensed and edited for readability and concerned the assistance of a translator at Samsung’s finish.

Android Police: Thanks a lot to your time, Sally. Would you wish to introduce One UI 5 and your self for us and our viewers earlier than we dive in? What have been your biggest achievements with One UI?

Sally Jeong: One of many main issues that we achieved was that we tremendously expedited the supply time to about two months, and we’ve a number of Galaxy gadgets which use One UI. The time it takes to ship a One UI replace to one of many first Galaxy gadgets and the final one has additionally tremendously lowered to about one-third of what it was.

To allow that discount of the general schedule, we needed to focus not simply on the precise options but additionally on making enhancements within the total construction or framework of how we do the supply. So, we focus primarily on offering the customers with clear usability and easy performance. Additionally, One UI relies on Android. So we needed to collaborate very intently with Google, and we additionally managed to extend the general effectivity of that collaboration as properly.

Myself, I have been concerned with the One UI growth from the start, and, since we’ve One UI model 5, one of many issues that our customers notably like is the smoothness of the options and the usability. For instance, many say that the animations at the moment are a lot smoother than what they was.

AP: It’s clear that Samsung went from a spot the place it was one of many slowest producers by way of long-term Android replace help to one of many quickest, if not the quickest. I am curious the way you went from this place and what the most important challenges have been that you just needed to overcome to attain this.

SJ: To begin with, dashing up the event and deployment course of was not simply one thing to be accomplished between the primary model and the second model. We’ve got been engaged on it always, enhancing all of the related processes and supply collectively from the beginning. It is a fixed effort.

While you have a look at One UI, we began from Android. Android has been developed for fairly a very long time by many suppliers. That is why there have been sure options that have been initially requested for by, for instance, carriers. And as time handed, a few of these options turned outdated or built-in or needed to be built-in. So we made lots of effort in refining the entire set of options, reviewable options that have been obtainable in fragmented units that we may combine and consolidate collectively. We tried to standardize a set of options that we wished to supply with One UI.

How Samsung One UI looks on phones, tablets, watches, and other devices

Once we discuss software program growth, we simply merely check with it as one massive model, however there are completely different layers. For instance, we differentiated the platform characteristic layer and system space layer. The advantage of having these two layers unbiased is that we are able to work on creating or enhancing the usability on the platform layer. And on the similar time, independently work on the system layer to enhance stability. That’s what may velocity up the general software program growth life cycle.

There are additionally Samsung’s distinctive core apps that we offer with our gadgets. We make it possible for Samsung core apps use much less reminiscence and that the general efficiency is enhanced. What we attempt to do is that even with the identical exercise that customers would carry out, it could incur much less system value on the system. Whether or not it was RAM or ROM, we tried to boost the general efficiency whereas decreasing the price of the system.

When it comes to Google collaboration, one instance could possibly be that we had Pixel and Materials options up to now that have been in battle with Samsung’s theme, and we’d solely discover out about such conflicts on the final minute. That was an enormous half in prolonging the general course of. What we do now’s that we’d talk about the attainable engineering conflicts upfront in order that they would not happen. The general danger administration between the 2 events has a lot improved.

AP: It is nice to see Samsung transfer into this place, and it is good to see how properly the collaboration between you and Google works. How do you see Samsung persevering with its innovation within the subsequent few years? What may we count on to see by way of software program, if you happen to can discuss this?

SJ: The general course for us is at all times the identical. We concentrate on clients’ wants. It isn’t like we’d attempt to pioneer a sure characteristic course and let the customers observe. We imagine that clients’ wants can always change. For instance, throughout the pandemic, the actions customers use essentially the most may change, and the setting they use our gadgets in may change, so we always must pay attention to what’s it that the patron clients need, and for us, that is a very powerful consider defining our course.

We can not provide you with a transparent reply that this undoubtedly is what we’ll do, however what I can say for positive is that as time passes, we imagine that customers will wish to mirror their personalities and characters on their gadgets increasingly more. We wish to present these options as a lot and as conveniently as attainable. That is the one course that we consider.

Dynamic theming in One UI 5

One other instance, if you happen to have a look at the market pattern proper now, AI is a vital expertise. Nonetheless, we can’t present AI expertise for its sake. Slightly, we’d attempt to assume how the shoppers will use our system throughout their on a regular basis lives and see if we are able to help that extra conveniently with AI. That is how we might be utilizing it, ensuring that by way of usability, shoppers will get pleasure from it higher.

Additionally, as a result of Samsung has many alternative gadgets, our builders will always make a fair larger effort to make it possible for connectivity throughout these a number of gadgets might be even simpler sooner or later.

The lockscreen theming on Samsung One UI 5

AP: Speaking about shoppers and what they want, I am very thinking about what function the One UI Open Betas play for you within the growth cycle. How precious is the suggestions that you just get from us shoppers? How useful are the Open Betas for deployment and studying what options shoppers truly need?

SJ: We’re within the fifth era of our One UI software program, and as we went via these 5 iterations, about 500,000 Galaxy customers have voluntarily participated to offer us suggestions via the Open Beta. We actually admire their participation. The suggestions they offered us with quantities to 350,000 completely different wants or necessities. So clearly, we worth every considered one of them.

With regards to bugs, we’d reply in actual time, or as rapidly as attainable. However the significance of getting this beta program is that after we present new options we have to get the shoppers’ suggestions. Qualitative suggestions, not simply the constructive ones, and I would like to offer you some examples.

The Samsung banner for the One UI 5 beta program

Samsung invitations everybody to strive betas, developer or not

With One UI 5, we barely modified the app icon fashion within the beta and requested how customers felt about it. The final suggestions was that they like the present ones, the earlier ones, higher, so we determined to maintain these. One other instance considerations how you’d view folders within the Gallery app. We made some adjustments within the choices to views within the Gallery. Right here, we additionally obtained suggestions with requests for enhancements. And based mostly on that suggestions, we now enable customers to decide on a few of their very own settings.

That is the type of precious suggestions that we get, and that is why we’ve this open beta program. As a developer, you’d perceive that the beta applications interval is admittedly, actually robust. It’s worthwhile to get the suggestions and reply with adjustments. It is actually difficult. Nonetheless, what’s rewarding is that after the beta program is finished, you’d lastly get the customers’ constructive suggestions and, , that is why engineers take some time.

AP: One factor I wish to circle again to can be foldables and tablets, in regard to how Samsung labored with Google to create Android 12L, the extra 12.1 launch centered on massive display screen gadgets. I am curious how a lot Samsung DNA there’s in Android 12L, and the way you and Google work collectively on offering these enhancements to everybody within the Android ecosystem.

SJ: So, let’s imagine that the result has a really excessive share of Samsung’s DNA if you wish to say it that manner. That is as a result of when you concentrate on it, Android got here to help foldables as a result of Samsung created foldable gadgets. And to make foldables work, it was vital not simply to make it work for Samsung apps, however the expertise needed to be good for all foldables. So even beginning with this very first problem we outlined, we shaped a process pressure with Google, and we’ve been executing it efficiently ever since.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 on a multi-color table

One of many main issues that we collaborated on was optimizing third-party apps for larger screens. We’ve got been engaged on that problem for about three years, and now, we’re seeing some seen achievements.

One other vital problem was supporting Flex mode. It is Samsung’s distinctive {hardware} functionality, and we needed to optimize it by way of software program expertise as properly. The result’s that lots of our shoppers love the characteristic. And for that, Samsung truly contributed our code to the Android ecosystem, and Samsung offered lots of enter for the foldable platform options.

AP: So, one provocative query then. What’s in it for Samsung when the corporate develops options for everybody to make use of quite than protecting them unique to itself?

SJ: Ultimately, it is all about shoppers. Previously, we used to supply Samsung-exclusive options for builders with the Samsung SDK. However when you concentrate on how our shoppers use our telephones, lots of apps that they use could possibly be Samsung apps, but additionally Google apps or third-party apps. So all these apps must be optimized on foldables, from a buyer perspective. If that requires collaboration with Google or contribution to the Android ecosystem, we’d do it.

It additionally helps us to keep up the expertise management by way of foldables’ capabilities. Foldables’ capabilities are proper now thought of synonymous with Samsung’s capabilities, and that is one factor that our builders take nice satisfaction in.

One different vital attribute of One UI is that it is open. So, we proceed to drive its openness and steadiness it with our expertise management.

AP: In that very same vein, I would have one final query. Everyone knows about Google’s licensing phrases and that this dictates the inclusion of some Google apps. If Samsung is so centered on client expertise, why is it nonetheless duplicating some apps which can be already obtainable from Google on its gadgets?

SJ: May we park this query? It is one thing that needs to be given from the service workforce quite than the engineering workforce.

AP: In fact. Thanks to your time, Sally, this could be every thing!

Following the interview, we acquired the next assertion from Samsung:

Each Samsung and Google present apps which have their very own targets; Google for total Android customers and Samsung tries to offer extra differentiated expertise to Galaxy customers. For duplicated apps, typically Google begins a service first and typically Samsung does, it’s vice versa. Each tries to supply the perfect consumer expertise and monitor market responses giving extra choices to clients.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely

When you’re on the lookout for the perfect of the perfect out of Android in 2023, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Extremely is it. It is the one one within the S23 lineup to characteristic the corporate’s flagship 200MP ISOCELL HP2 digicam sensor, the one one with a 5,000mAh battery, and the one one to push the storage envelope as much as 1TB. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Cell Platform for Galaxy ought to run quick and straightforward and every thing on that 6.8″ Dynamic AMOLED 2x show (the one one within the collection with adaptive refresh charges between 1 and 120Hz) ought to look clean and delightful. And who can overlook about all of the note-taking options and the added comfort the S Pen brings? That is Samsung’s all-out effort for the Galaxy S nameplate.