I’ve long been a fan of Samsung hardware, from its phones and laptops to its TVs and monitors, every gadget has been relatively impressive in terms of build quality and design; the Samsung Galaxy S21 being one of the most recent highlights. But I’ve never been a huge fan of Samsung's software.
That could change on the phone front, though, as Samsung is looking at stripping adverts that festoon some of the stock apps you get with the One UI Android skin on Galaxy phones. And that’ll be a blessed relief.
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“Samsung has made a decision to cease the advertisement on proprietary apps including Samsung Weather, Samsung Pay, and Samsung Theme,” Samsung told The Verge (opens in new tab). “The update will be ready by later this year.”
“Our priority is to deliver innovative mobile experiences for our consumers based on their needs and wants,” said Samsung. “We value feedback from our users and continue our commitment to provide them with the best possible experience from our Galaxy products and services.”
Currently, in apps like Samsung Themes and Samsung Weather, adverts are very clearly embedded into the services. While I get that this approach is a good way for Samsung to bolster the money it makes from software, I find the adverts very distracting. In fact, one of the first things I do when setting up a new Samsung phone is to bung all the Samsung apps into a dedicated folder and ignore them, as I opt to use Google apps instead.
This won’t surprise many people, as while adverts are often a necessary evil, they are particularly cloying when they pop up in a device you’ve paid for; I can stomach YouTube adverts in return for free clips of The Sopranos, but I find adverts built into the apps of a pricey flagship phone to be particularly grating.
But if Samsung purges ads from its apps it might change my approach to Galaxy phones. I’ve said before that I’m very much a fan of pure Android, or at least the Pixel take on Google's mobile operating system, but I’m open to new things. And I do quite like the Samsung Weather app. However, the overall Galaxy software experience, and especially the app adverts, has regularly seen me opt for a phone that’s less impressive on the hardware front but cleaner on the software side.
Getting rid of adverts in Samsung apps, along with future One UI refinements, could change that. And it could see me make better use of the native apps One UI comes with, rather than seeking out Google alternatives. That will in turn boost the overall appeal of Samsung phones to me, and likely others.
In fairness to Samsung, it’s done a good job of refining the apps and user interface it puts on top of Android in recent years. The move to One UI and the refinements it came with made for a much nicer Galaxy phone experience. There's still room for improvement, but at least Samsung is now keeping a lot of its native apps in a separate folder by default, rather than trying to shove them in your face.
And this move to get rid of native app adverts is another indicator that Samsung is looking at ways to make One UI properly appealing. As such, this helps stoke my fires of anticipation for the Samsung Galaxy S22.