AH 2015 Samsung LOGO-125

AH Primetime: Why Multi-Window Gives Samsung The Upper Hand

October 15, 2015 - Written By Ian Jardine

When it comes to Samsung and mobile software, their TouchWiz UI has often been the most derided and maligned of all the Android skins used by various OEMs. In fact, over the years it was not uncommon for Samsung to field criticisms of TouchWiz being nothing more than bloatware, meaning the company packed its software with apps and features that were impractical and, to put it bluntly, useless. But, over the last couple of years it appears that Samsung has listened to their critics and TouchWiz is more refined than ever as it uses a much lighter skin on top of Android Lollipop and has aimed to include features and apps that genuinely add to the overall user experience. One of these features that made its first appearance back in the aforementioned “bloatware” days of TouchWiz was the multi-window feature. When it first appeared the intention of it was indeed noble but its execution was a little clumsy. As TouchWiz evolved, however, so did the multi-window feature and in its current iteration as seen on Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, including the multi-tasking workhorse the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, multi-window is now more elegant and useful than ever.  Because of this, it is puzzling why all other Android smartphone manufacturers haven’t followed suit and included a multi-window feature in their own software.

Most people live very busy lives nowadays, from a high school student all the way up to a business executive, there is no doubt that being able to do two things at once on a smartphone would come in handy for everyone. From being able to send a text while playing a game or sending an email while using the calculator, the benefits of a multi-window feature are obvious. Samsung had lead the way on this over the years and now Samsung flagship users can enjoy a smooth, fluent multi-window experience that is unparalleled in its practicality. A select few other smartphone manufacturers have attempted a multi-window feature on a more limited scale but one who hasn’t attempted it all and which makes very little sense is Google itself.

There is no doubt that a multi-window feature is the most useful when using devices with larger screens so, for many, it came as a surprise last year when Google revealed its largest smartphone ever, namely the Nexus 6, and it didn’t make multi-window a standard feature with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Now it is a year later and the release of the latest Nexus smartphones and the latest version of Android, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, is upon us and there is no sign of a multi-window feature. Considering that the marketplace is now flooded with options for Android phones thus making for an extremely competitive atmosphere it is confusing as to why Google and other Android OEMs would allow Samsung to continue to set the trend when it comes to such a valuable feature like multi-window. Until they do, at least as far as this feature goes, Samsung can do what little people ever expected them to which is to have the upper edge in the Android software department.