Three ways for Samsung to make One UI 7 so good that Pixel users switch sides

I’m sure Galaxy users are barely having any sleep at all since that rumor about a much-welcomed privacy addition to One UI 7 floated. I’m sure Galaxy users have been partying as hard as Italians have on June 24.

That’s when Italy’s nerve-wrecking goal came in (literally) the last seconds of the match against Croatia in the ongoing football (okay, okay – soccer) Euro 2024 tournament. Long story short, for 90 minutes the Croatia team thought it was winning, then the Italy wizards scored a goal in the last few seconds, eliminating Croatia and securing their own journey in Euro 2024.

Similarly, now it’s time for Samsung to score and pack new things into the upcoming One UI 7 – the operating system future (and some current) Galaxy phones will be using. True, Samsung has more time on its hands to refine it than Italy’s team; however, we’re not talking about sending a ball to a net, but something a bit more complicated. New features don’t just come up out of the thin air – okay, technically speaking, they do – they require a thoughtful process, implementing and testing, sorting bugs out, and much more. The addition of the aforementioned privacy feature – namely, a built-in App Lock to keep your apps (and data) safe and away from prying eyes – is not nearly enough. Samsung will surely introduce more… and here’s my recommendation list.

Disclaimer: In these current times of ours, almost everything is AI-oriented. While AI is fancy and all, I’m leaving the possible AI features in One UI 7 aside for the moment. Instead, I’ll be talking about some old-fashioned non-AI features.

One UI 7 might be slightly delayed…

(…because of… One UI 6.1.1)

Before we proceed on to the list of features that should find their way into One UI 7, let’s not forget that One UI 7 could be somewhat delayed. As we’ve reported, a rumor suggests that Samsung may prioritize the upcoming One UI 6.1.1 release for Galaxy phones over going full-steam with One UI 7. This speculation arises mainly because One UI 6.1.1 appears to be a more substantial update than typical for a x.x.1 version, necessitating additional refinement time.
Samsung is known for its regular software updates, usually introducing a new One UI build alongside its foldable phones each year (save the date July 10, 2024 for the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and the Z Flip 6!)However, these updates typically don’t extend to their Galaxy phones, which instead receive a beta version of the next major One UI release based on the latest Android version. Reports indicate that this year might be different, with Samsung potentially releasing One UI 6.1.1 for its flagship Galaxy phones and delaying the Android 15-based One UI 7.

How One UI compares to other mobile OS out there

One UI, what Galaxy users are on, is designed by Samsung to enhance usability on larger smartphones, making it easier to operate with one hand. It divides the screen into two parts: the upper area features large headers and notifications, while the lower half is for interaction. Samsung’s One UI includes unique features, such as:

  • Edge Panels for quick app access
  • Samsung DeX for using your phone like a computer when connected to a monitor
  • S Pen support for drawing and note-taking on devices like the Galaxy Note and Ultra series

Those who enjoy Google’s Pixel phones, use something that is often miscalled “stock” Android – and it really is a clean and straightforward Android experience, but it’s really PixelUI. Anyway, it emphasizes simplicity without additional customization from manufacturers.

In contrast, MIUI by Xiaomi (another operating system with Android at its core) provides extensive customization options and features. It is known for its vibrant interface with numerous themes and customization settings.

Nothing OS, associated with Nothing Phone, is minimalist and sleek, focusing on a clean user interface with minimal bloatware. It introduces unique features like the Glyph Interface, displaying light patterns on the phone’s back for notifications and functions.

My suggestions for One UI 7

I’m sure Samsung’s One UI team is carefully reading and taking notes, so I’m going to make this short and straightforward:

Enhanced predictive keyboard input

You know what really grinds iPhone users’ gears when it comes to using a Galaxy phone? Yup, it’s the keyboard experience: even the most passionate Apple haters out there can’t deny that typing on the iPhone is a breeze.Of course, many people still prefer to go with third-party keyboard solutions like Gboard or SwiftKey, but they wouldn’t have to do so, if Samsung Keyboard was good enough in the first place. So, a bit of enhancement in the predictive text department wouldn’t hurt anybody!

Call Screening, but for real

I kid you not, Pixel users state the following so often across the web, it’s not even funny: “If only Samsung’s hardware could come with the Pixel’s software and user experience!”

One of the most lusted-after Pixel-exclusive features is, of course, Call Screening.

Google’s Pixel phones utilize the Call Screening feature (aided by Google Assistant) to manage incoming calls. When you receive a call, you can choose to screen it, allowing Google Assistant to answer and ask the caller to state their name and reason for calling. The caller’s response is transcribed in real-time, letting you read it without answering. Based on the transcription, you can decide to answer, send a quick reply, mark the call as spam, or end it. This feature helps avoid spam, ensures privacy, and saves time by allowing you to quickly assess the importance of a call without direct interaction.

You’d think that’s trivial, but you’d be wrong: a Pew Research Center report has it that 80% of Americans say they don’t generally answer their phone when an unknown number calls.

Samsung already has the Bixby assistant, which started its own call-screening feature not so long ago. Bixby utilizes Samsung’s text-to-speech capabilities, which are not as advanced as Google’s text-to-speech and in general. This means that Bixby is to be refined in order to catch up with the Call Screen feature on the Pixel devices. Also, the Bixby Text Call feature is limited to dealing with English and Korean at the moment. Not nearly enough!

The Now Playing feature

You know how your phone literally listens to every bit of audio all the time? No, I’m not being cheeky here, I’m talking about what Pixel phones can do with their Now Playing feature.The Now Playing feature on Pixel phones automatically identifies songs playing in your surroundings and displays the song title and artist on the lock screen, without requiring any user input. Apart from the sole convenience of it, it just looks good.

This feature works offline by using an on-device database of songs, ensuring privacy and efficiency. Users can view a history of identified songs and explore them further via music apps.

If you’re a die hard fan of Shazam, you wouldn’t care about the Now Playing feature, but Now Playing is awesome and more phones should come with it built-in.

Add new things, just don’t remove the old ones

If you live long enough, you’ll see the same outfits, haircuts, cultural tastes, and overall attitudes (that were a thing a couple of decades ago) become trendy again. Then, inevitably, you’ll see them fade away, only to rise from the ashes again at a point in the future.

Something similar, but on a much tighter timeline, often happens with today’s technology. What many marketing teams are calling “innovations” and “new experiences” is nothing more than a shuffle of the cards, so to speak. Things that were perfect are being scrambled, repositioned and deconstructed, all in the name of “the new experience”.

I can almost see and hear these people’s smirking arguments:

To which I say: “Yeah, but so was the bubonic plague. It was new, but that didn’t make it enjoyable, did it?”Anyway, I hope that One UI 7 keeps intact what is already proven to be good. Then, it could just add new features on top of the others. You know, add, but don’t take away!

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