Hub, Not Hubris
Android is probably familiar ground to most of our readers, and its usability is generally beyond question. However, manufacturers need to differentiate from each other, and the one key enhancement that today's smartphones must have is an app or widget that makes it easy to control all your social media services. HTC has FriendStream on their Sense UI, Sony Ericsson has their social-centered Timescape widget, and Motorola the MOTOBLUR widget. In Samsung's case, we had high hopes for the Social Hub app, Feeds and Updates widget in its efforts to add some "social currency", so to speak, to the Galaxy S i9000.
The problem is that we found the Social Hub concept to be too basic to anyone who's even moderately involved with their online social network. If you read on, you'll see why...
Similarly, the Feeds and Updates widget only allows you to update your statuses, reply to posts and comment on them. No viewing of images, no "Like"-ing of posts, no Direct Messages on Twitter - nothing else. According to Samsung, Social Hub is still in development to fully integrate with your device's contacts and calendar. As such, what you'll get now is a basic version, which should see an upgrade as the months go by.
The Galaxy S i9000, like many other Android phones, does integrate Facebook updates and image browsing with each contact of yours that's on Facebook, once you've signed in to the service. But this is a staple component of Android anyway, and when all things are considered, Samsung's social networking solution on the Galaxy S i9000 looks less like a "Social Hub" to us than a mishmash of apps which could have been much more focused in their execution: one single app, one place to view your social feeds and to update your status on all services.
In the same vein, we also didn't like the various UI enhancements that Samsung added to the Galaxy S i9000. These would not be a problem in themselves, except that there is no way to disable them...
Some of Samsung's efforts have paid off in the form of several nice touches, though. Check these out: