Samsung details all the Galaxy S8 features you don't have access to (unless you're in China)

China, as most of you may know, has a very different smartphone market from the one in most Western countries – the four big local smartphone manufacturers, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi, have sort of carved their own niche in terms of design. But this applies even more so to their smartphones' user interface, which often relies more on maximizing usable screen space rather than minimalism; or in other words, a Chinese UX is way busier than what most of us are used to.

Meanwhile, a company such as Samsung, which pretty much dominates the worldwide Android market, struggles to keep up with local demands. And while these problems run far deeper than just their phones' UX design, the company has nevertheless taken a number of steps to optimize the Galaxy S8 in China, which it has now detailed in a post on its official blog.

Home screen

Anyone who's used a Chinese brand smartphone will immediately recognize the first change: by default, all apps on the S8's Chinese version are placed on the home screen, with no app drawer present.

This is, of course, following the path set by the iPhone, which, for those unaware, is kind of a big deal in the People's Republic. And seeing as Google conducts pretty much no business in China, the Google search bar is also nowhere to be seen.

Exclusive apps and services

Diving deeper, the Chinese also get a couple of exclusive services: a special app, called Samsung Assistant, as well as a service called Yellow Page found inside the Phone and Messages apps, both serve to help consumers connect with businesses. Examples include setting up a doctor's appointment, buying movie tickets, and more. After completing such a transaction, the Assistant pulls relevant information, such as traffic conditions and departure times and presents it to the user.

As for why – the answer might just lie in the massive Chinese chat service QQ, which makes a bulk of its profits not through advertising, but rather through micro-transactions built right into its interface. It has been providing most of the services Samsung boasts about for years, and the fact that it's still primarily a chat app explains why Sammy would choose to bake some of this functionality into its own messaging app. 

Other region-specific features

Moving on, a number of other, more minor China-tailored features can be found inside Samsung's other apps, as well: Smart Manager, for example, now allows users to purchase additional mobile data as well as block robocalls. 

The Calendar app supports the lunar calendar, the Camera has a different set of region-specific stickers, apps such as Music, Video, and Health all get access to relevant regional services, and the keyboard is specially tailored for "seamless" Chinese input. All of these sound like mundane changes, but are, in fact, the essentials needed for a company not to seem out of touch with a whole country's user base.

Oh, and lastly, Chinese S8 users also get a built-in Screen Recorder app. Seriously, Samsung?

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8 inches
    2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh
  • OS Android 9.0 Pie
    Samsung One UI
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2 inches
    2960 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera)
    8 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 4GB RAM
  • Storage 64GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh
  • OS Android 9.0 Pie
    Samsung One UI



11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

in sort: chinese S8 get more bloatware, and no google services

8. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Chinese consumers get special treatment because competition is tuff over there. Unlike Americans only value two party systems. The answer is simple, competition benefits consumers, duopoly will only end up two party systems and you have to choose lesser evil

7. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Wonder if the international variant has such features, especially the screen recorder...if it's merely missing in the Snapdragon variant, then it makes sense as presstitutes from the US keep bahing "bloatware"/"gimmick".

6. twens

Posts: 1191; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

The truth is simple, Americans love iOS with its no features approach. Why would Samsung bother to keep giving you guys features when they know tech blocks will write a novel about how useless the features are and apple fans will also call them bloat or gimmicks? You guys just don't know what you want anymore. Smh

9. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

I don't agree. Is iOS in China the same as in outsise? If no, it is not because of iOS we have simplistic design for products outside of China.

10. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Wrong, Samsung did not give special treatment became Americans basically have no choice. Samsung's rival in US is only Apple just like Democrats' rival is only Republicans. Fanboyism is strong in USA, Android fanboy have to buy Samsung no matter what just to keep Apple in second place, Samsung is basically telling the consumers, 'buy me because Apple sucks, if you buy third party Apple will become no.1 in market shares. ' Americans value fanboyism over competition, full stop

2. WPX00

Posts: 513; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

Is the Chinese version still Snapdragon this year?

1. Phonehex

Posts: 778; Member since: Feb 16, 2016

Damn , now i want the chinese rom so bad !

3. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Ye sits foolish for us to have a minimalist dumbed down design. But thinking better, I think that the Chinese market is a head of us because of all the competition. People are srarch to take the phone with the most features so manufacturers cram up the device. This shows also the hypocrisy of sh-err Samsung that will never make any effort when it doesn't need to.

4. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Name a major player who makes more effort.

5. juandante

Posts: 679; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

Why only Major? Your comment is hypocritaly biased probably because you are a blind Samsung fan boy.

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