Users won’t be able to disable Magazine UX, the Samsung UI that “dismayed” Google

by: Bogdan PetrovanFebruary 5, 2014

Samsung Galaxy TabPro 8.4 -2 hands on

Magazine UX will be a fixture of the user experience on the new TabPRO and NotePRO tablets, as users won’t be able to disable it.

Samsung announced yesterday that the NotePRO 12.2, TabPRO 8.4, and TabPRO 10.1 will start shipping in the United States on February 13, with the TabPRO 12.2 to follow sometime in March. One of the core software features of these new devices is Magazine UX, a tile-based homescreen replacement that serves info such as weather, news, and social updates in widgets that users can configure and resize. Some compare Magazine UX with Windows Phone’s UI, but the truth is tiles are a growing trend in UI design, making appearances in HTC’s BlinkFeed, the feed aggregator Flipboard, and other apps.

A Samsung spokesman told Computerworld that users won’t be able to completely disable Magazine UX on their NotePRO or TabPRO:

[quote qtext=”Users do not have the option to ‘turn off’ Magazine UX. It is built into the Pro series tablets. Users can add or delete Magazine UX and standard Android screens as they wish, but at least one Magazine UX screen must be present at all times. The ‘classic’ home screen is standard, with the Magazine UX accompanying it. And of course, users can change this and set Magazine UX as the default. ” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

The reason this is significant is the report from last week that suggested Google executives were “dismayed” by Magazine UX when the interface debuted at CES. According to Re/code, Google was not happy about Magazine UX straying from the interface of stock Android, and thus contributing to fragmentation and confusion within the Android ecosystem. Google reportedly managed to convince Samsung to “consider dumping or altering the Magazine UX interface”. In the greater context, including the sale of Motorola to Lenovo and a 10-year cross-licensing patent deal between Samsung and Google, many have seen the agreement as part of a broad alliance between the two technology giants.

Now Samsung probably couldn’t drop Magazine UX even if it wanted to, so soon after its debut. The UI could even make it to some smartphones – leaked screenshots of a new UI that Samsung is allegedly exploring show a Magazine icon that could be a shortcut to Magazine UX. From the look of the Galaxy S5 apps that leaked so far, Samsung is giving TouchWiz a revamp, with a flatter, more modern look. It remains to be seen if the flagship smartphone will run Magazine UX; if Samsung was planning to use it before the Google deal, it will probably go ahead with it. The effects of the agreement with Google will probably take months to show up in products.

  • tocsin

    So what do custom launchers not work or something?

  • Ben Jowett

    Download and flash Google Experience Launcher

  • Android Guru

    And where’s the custom launchers here? now don’t tell me they’ll never be compatible with these devices… o.o

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Custom launchers will still work, but for anyone sticking to Samsung’s TouchWiz launcher, one screen will have to be of the Magazine UX. It’s like HTC’s BlinkFeed scenario, where you couldn’t disable BlinkFeed initially, though HTC added the option for that later on.

    • Zargh

      The ability for OEMs to disable homescreen switching ability got added in 4.3:

      So Samsung COULD prevent Custom Launchers working if they wanted to. The question is, will they?

      • AA :P

        ouch, thats a bad one – the ability to turn off switching. so much for customization!

  • MasterMuffin

    Everyone hated the W8 (and WP) tiles, but now it’s okay when everyone else uses it. I haven’t seen any articles anywhere saying how bad the new UI from Samsung is or raging how nobody likes it and it’s just bad bad bad etc…

    • Tanner Hoyt

      Because there’s a lot of hatred on this site and among the general Android community for anything not Android. For example:

      Apple releases 64-bit processor: “OMG marketing gimmick apple sucks lol ANDROID FTW#$@!!”

      Had Android done it first the response would’ve been: “LULZ, WHERE ARE YOU APPLE? Android is leaving your sorry, non-innovative ass in the dust!!!232@ You guys suck and everything you do sucks and will always suck! Take a bite of of that apple!!#@”

      • MasterMuffin

        I believe that’s true with all the communities actually :)

        • Tanner Hoyt

          Yes, although I feel like the hatred for Apple on Android fansites tends to be the strongest. It has really gotten out of hand. I can’t say anything good about Apple without being accused of being an “iSheep”. It’s sad it has gotten to that point.

          • AA :P

            that’s probably because apple wins in the courts quite unfairly many times. they also come across as pretty arrogant, and there’s no central entity that counter’s apple’s silly claims. the fans naturally take the cudgels. I find the windows phone fans the most annoying. they come in packs rig voting comp[letely in their favour, they hunt in packs and take down critics systematically – both android and iphone fans. they send hordes of those from their favorite windows sites “lets counter these luddites about how ludicrously cool windows / nokia” is

          • Tanner Hoyt

            I don’t consider it unfair. Google and their OEM partners did violate a ridiculous amount of Apple’s patents.

            And Windows Phone fans are just really defensive because their OS is barely off the ground. I actually thing they have a bright future ahead :)

          • AA :P

            i consider apple’s patent ridiculous ,and it should not have been granted in the first place. nor should it have been ever considered valid for something as ridiculous as patenting geometry.

          • MasterMuffin

            I think it’s because there are so many Android fans. If you take 100 thousand random people and one thousand random people, there’s a high chance that there are more idiots in the group of 100 thousand people!

          • Tanner Hoyt

            That is partly the reason, no doubt. However, even among “educated” Android fans I often still find intense hatred. It kind of reminds me of the Wii, and when every Xbox and PS fanboy bashed it for no reason.

          • MasterMuffin

            I end this by saying APPLE SUCKZ BALLZ

      • AA :P

        actually, much of thos responses to the trolls that dwell on android sites. i see very little android trolls on mac sites (in whatever little time that i spent on apple sites when i strayed there), whereas I see plenty of apple trolls pretty much everywhere, even hardcore android only forums

    • AA :P

      it does happen – but not exactly like how you expected it to be. the blow is almost completely soft, because when windows brought it out – it was out of whack for the desktop – much of the criticism is for the desktop UI – which is an ill fit (without touchscreen desktop monitor, even then…).

      also, when htc came up with theirs, it was criticized by many. now, the critics have either grown tired, or there’s enough precedence.

      so, what has happened was expected. unless of course you did not.

    • Joshua Hill

      Nobodies reviewed the device in full yet and you’re already bitching!

      Sounds like somebodies already made up their mind regardless of how good or bad Samsung’s new UI is.

      • MasterMuffin

        Yes I’ve made up my mind, I like the new UI. Problem?

  • Jayfeather787

    We can’t disable? :( CUSTOM ROMS TO THE RESCUE!!!

  • Marcus Winchester

    This actually looked nice and modern but Google of course likes the boring and useless standard 4 by 4 icons and a few cruddy widgets to match. I know the beauty of Android is customisation but Google’s incessancy on keeping a stale design like that annoys me.

  • Ben Lutgens

    This is the type of behavior that will steer me away from the samsung devices that I love. They need to stop this shit. If we want to uninstall or disable their bloatware, we should be allowed to.

  • 7thton

    God bless Play Store editions. And the Nexus line.

  • Shubham Singh

    I actually liked it and i dont understand why people at google are “dismayed” that is more likey the how the android is or the way we like it freedom make a device look the way one likes, make a skin the way you like and still it is android 100% inside. I think its a quality evolution from touchwiz

  • jack

    Pathetic android phones full of unwanted crap. I wonder why you hypocrites insist in using a phone that the hardware fights against its software

  • amozhi

    Well…it is a WIN-WIN situation for microsoft. If people don’t like magazine UX then android will not grow. If people likes magazine UX then people will start using Windows.
    Anyways it is loss to Android and Samsung.
    Microsoft dug his own grave with the introduction of Metro and Samsung going do the same.
    Once they became big, every company thinks that they can dictate terms to customers. Samsung is no different and they are going to suffer a lot

  • Abdelrahman Tarek

    Will the tab pro 8.4 get the official lollipop upgrade ??