Samsung preloads its own apps on its Android devices, including replacements for stock apps like the phone dialer and SMS software, as well as more advanced note-taking and WhatsApp competitor apps. But app away though they may, very few people are actually using them according to a new survey detailed by the Wall Street Journal. instead, people are using the apps you’d expect to be popular, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Here’s why I don’t find that surprising: Samsung’s apps are the only ones from a major Android OEM that actively send me scurrying for alternatives even when I’m just using a device for a brief period to review it for the site. Generally speaking, I’m a fan of stock apps and enjoy that Android lets you use third-party apps instead of the default options anyway (hello is my current favorite for SMS, for instance). But with others, including HTC, I’m often happy to stick with what’s provided rather than actively seek out other options if it’s only for a couple of weeks.
Samsung seems to know it has work to do on the software side, however, and in a recent interview with the WSJ, Samsung’s Media Solution Center (read: lead of apps and software) Wonpyo Hong said as much directly.
“If you look at our R&D structure, there are a lot more software engineers than hardware engineers,” he explained to the paper. “The investment amount we are making in software R&D is huge. However, probably from a consumer perspective there is room to improve to deliver a unique experience. That’s the area that we’re really trying to focus on more.”
To its credit, Samsung recently debuted Milk Music, a streaming radio player that uses an innovative dial-based control to take away a lot of the grunt work required of users when they want to enable serendipitous music discovery. It uses Slacker to provide the content, but the UI is all Samsung, and that bodes well for its future software efforts. It would’ve been nice to see a more extensive overhaul of Samsung’s software accompanying the Galaxy S5 launch, but at least the company seems to know that’s an area where it needs to do plenty of work.