We’ve already heard reports that Samsung could be pumping the breaks on TouchWiz with its next flagship, but a new report from the generally accurate SamMobile today says that it will also be removing most of its in-house pre-loaded software from the Galaxy S6, and instead offering a host of Microsoft’s smartphone apps pre-installed. If true, this is one of the surest signs yet that Samsung is rethinking its mobile strategy in a way that truly plays to its strengths and minimizes its weaknesses.
Per the report, Samsung will be reducing the performance impact of TouchWiz, as well as sticking closer to stock Lollipop in some regards. But the big news is that it will remove “all” of its pre-installed apps, which presumably means things like S Voice, S Health, S Note and others. These will still be available, and will offer more colourful redesigns, but they’ll reside in the Samsung Galaxy Apps store as optional downloads, instead of something you get on the device out of the box (and can never truly remove).
Samsung won’t be stripping pre-installed software altogether, though: Instead, it’ll offer Microsoft’s revamped suite of productivity apps, including OneNote, OneDrive, Office Mobile (complete with a free 365 subscription of indeterminate duration) and Skype. Given Microsoft’s success in reinventing its software offerings for the mobile platforms of its ostensible competitors, this should prove far more beneficial to users than offering them Samsung’s generally unimpressive equivalents.
For Microsoft, it’s a way to instantly gain the kind of reach that Windows Phone could never hope to achieve, at least not in the near future. As the company refocuses with special attention to its software and services division, doing this kind of thing will allow it to raise awareness among a whole new generation of users. Even if, ultimately, it wants to route users back to Windows Phone as a platform, appealing to users where they already are serves its short-term goals. And if its mobile OS ends up going nowhere, at least they have a relationship in place with users upon which they can build an alternate revenue strategy.
Samsung reveals all in just a few weeks at a special March 1 event in Barcelona before Mobile World Congress kicks off, and we’ll have all the details as soon as they become available.