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|Initial release||June 4, 2010|
TouchWiz Grace UX (Nougat) / January 19, 2017
|Available in||90+ languages, varies by carrier and/or country purchased|
|Type||Graphical user interface|
TouchWiz (or Samsung TouchWiz) is the touch interface created and developed by Samsung Electronics with partners, featuring a full touch user interface. TouchWiz is available only on Samsung devices. It is sometimes incorrectly identified as an operating system. TouchWiz is used internally by Samsung for smartphones, feature phones and tablet computers, and is not available for licensing by external parties. The Android version of TouchWiz also comes with the Samsung-made app store Galaxy Apps.
The latest version of TouchWiz is TouchWiz 6.0, which is on the Samsung Galaxy J1 mini Prime and TouchWiz Nature UX 5.0 on the Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) feature a more refined user interface as compared to the previous versions found on Samsung's older phones released prior to Galaxy S5's release. The status bar is now transparent during home screen mode in TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 and TouchWiz Nature UX 2.5. In TouchWiz 4.0 on Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Note (both later updated to Nature UX), some of the features added include panning and tilt, which makes use of the accelerometer and gyroscope in the phone to detect motion.
TouchWiz is used by Samsung's own proprietary operating systems, Bada and REX, as well as phones based on the Android operating system. It is also present in phones running the Tizen operating system.
TouchWiz was a central issue in Apple v. Samsung.
This was the original edition of Touchwiz, released in 2010, to support Android Froyo (2.1 – 2.2). This version premiered with the Samsung Galaxy S. A lite version of TouchWiz 3.0, with reduced features, was used on the Samsung Galaxy Proclaim.
The second version of TouchWiz was released in 2011, to support Android Gingerbread and Android Honeycomb (2.3 - 3.2.6). The Galaxy S II was the first device preloaded with TouchWiz 4.0. This version includes better hardware acceleration than 3.0, as well multiple touchscreen options involving multi-touch gestures and using the phone's accelerometer. One such feature allows users to place two fingers on the screen and tilt the device towards and away from themselves, to zoom in and out, respectively. "Panning" on TouchWiz 4.0 allows users to scroll through home screens by moving the device from side to side.
The third version of TouchWiz was renamed to TouchWiz Nature UX. It was released in 2012 and supported Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.1.1). The Galaxy S III, Galaxy Star and Galaxy Note 10.1 were the first devices preloaded with this version, although a lite version was used beforehand on the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. TouchWiz Nature UX contains more interactive elements than previous version, such as a water ripple effect on the lock screen, and "smart stay", a feature which uses eye tracking technology to determine if the user is still watching the screen. To complement the TouchWiz interface, and as a response to Apple's Siri, this version introduces S Voice, Samsung's intelligent personal assistant.
This version supports Android Jellybean (4.2.2) and was released in 2013; the Samsung Galaxy S4 was the first device to use TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0. Even more eye tracking abilities were introduced with this version, such as "smart scroll", which allows users to scroll down and up on webpages by tilting their head downwards and upwards, respectively.
TouchWiz Nature UX 2.5 was released in 2013 to support the last updates to Android Jellybean (4.3 - 4.4), and was first used on the Galaxy Note 3 and the Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. This version completely supports the Samsung Knox security solution, as well as multi-user capabilities. The camera was also improved in this update: shutter lag was reduced, and features like a 360° panorama mode were added.
This update was released in 2014 to support Android KitKat. It was first seen on the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. The home screen and settings menu were made more user-friendly with larger icons and less clutter. Also, icons in the context menus were removed, and any disabled options, where previously they would have been visible but unusable, now do not show up at all.
Some budget Samsung devices, such as the Galaxy Trend 2 Lite, Galaxy J1 Ace, and Galaxy V Plus, feature a reduced version of TouchWiz Nature UX 3.0 called "TouchWiz Essence UX", which is adapted for devices with less than 1GB of RAM. This version has an ultra-power-saving mode, which drastically extends the battery duration by making the screen grayscale, restricting the apps that can be used, and turning off features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
This is a slightly modified version of TouchWiz Nature UX 3.0, released in 2014 for the Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note Edge and Galaxy A-series (2015). Most of the changes made were minor, aesthetic ones, including an overhaul of the cluttered settings menu, the inclusion of quick setting shortcuts and centralization of the lock screen clock. However, the camera application was stripped down to its most basic features, nonetheless gaining an AF/AE lock.
This version comes with Galaxy S5, and so supports Android Lollipop and was released in 2015. Update 4.0 eventually became available to the Galaxy S5, Note 3, Note 4, and other Lollipop-compatible devices, but with less features.
This version of TouchWiz continued the design that was initially seen on the Galaxy S5, with slightly more rounded icons, but also incorporated Lollipop's additions and changes, such as making the notification drop-down menu merely an overlay instead of a full-screen drawer. TouchWiz Nature UX 4.0 also included a visual overhaul for the whole system, changing the black background in system apps to a white theme, similar to Touchwiz UX 3.5 seen on the Note 4 & A series. The black theme had been in place since the original Galaxy S, because it reduced battery consumption as Samsung mainly uses AMOLED display technology. It was changed because of a patent licensing deal with Google, which required that the TouchWiz interface follow the design of "stock" Android more closely.
With TouchWiz 5.0, Samsung reverted to the earlier, simpler naming system, without the "Nature UX" infix, perhaps to reflect aesthetic changes. This version was released in 2015 primarily for the Samsung Galaxy S6, and supports later updates to Android Lollipop (5.0.2 - 5.1.1). This update cleaned up the user interface, reduced the number of duplicate functions, and used brighter and simpler colours.
A new version of TouchWiz 5.0 was released in September 2015 for the Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+. The new version features updated iconography, with stock apps now featuring "squircle" icons instead of freeform.
This version of TouchWiz began during initial beta testing of Android Marshmallow on the Galaxy S6 in December 2015, for users who had signed up for the beta program, and became formally available in February 2016. It features a redesigned notification drop-down and colour overhaul, replacing the original blue and green hue to white. This version also removed the weather while centring and enlarging the clock on the lock screen, as well as bringing back the ability to customize the shortcuts on the lock screen. Icons are slightly modified with a flatter look, removing the shadows that featured previously. The Smart Manager was removed as an app, and was moved to a settings option instead.
On this version, Samsung also added the ability to change the display density setting, although this was initially only accessible through a third-party app as the setting was hidden by the system. An update to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge made it official, allowing users to change it under the display settings.
TouchWiz 6.0 also includes Google's additions to Android: Doze and App Standby to improve battery performance (although Samsung's own app optimization feature remains available, thus meaning there are two separate "app optimization" settings: one within the Smart Manager app, and the other within the battery usage screen), Now on Tap to quickly access the intelligent personal assistant Google Now, and Permission Control to limit the permissions granted to a particular application.
First released with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 for Android Marshmallow, the Grace UX was named after the device's codename, and eventually made its way to older devices, including the Galaxy Note 5 through an update (Korea only), and the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge through the official Android Nougat update. The Grace UX features a cleaner, flatter look to iconography and extensive use of white space. TouchWiz Grace UX devices also benefit from the Secure Folder functionality, which enables users to keep certain data, and even apps, behind a secure password.
In addition, for most countries, all the languages that were absent from previous versions will be available in this release, starting with the Galaxy Tab S3.
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