With the release of the M8, HTC decided to begin publishing some of its exclusive apps to the Google Play Store. While most of these apps aren't available for download unless you own an HTC device, this practice made it possible for the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer to issue updates to its users independently of carrier-modified firmware upgrades.
As Samsung developed its new Terrain Home launcher, it too looked toward the Google Play Store for distribution. While still in beta, Terrain Home offers a possible glimpse into Samsung's future design patterns while demonstrating a potential acceptance to the new trend of breaking manufacturer-specific apps out into the Play Store.
Now available on the Play Store for all devices running Android 4.2 or higher, Terrain offers some unique features. A customizable overview screen in the mold of Google Now resides on the left, while a searchable and alphabetized list of apps is integrated into the rightmost home screen.
Each of these screens come with their own customization options. Cards in the Terrain sidebar can be reordered and removed, while the home screen has its own set of standard launcher controls.
As the feature tour demonstrates when you first launch Terrain, the sidebar gives at-a-glance information that can be tailored to your specific needs. Not only does the organization of the app list make finding apps easy, you can also search your entire phone for contacts, apps, and other content in a single view.
If you'd like to get a glimpse of what Samsung's been working on lately from a software standpoint, go ahead and grab the launcher on Google Play.
What do you think? Is this a sign of things to come for Samsung? Will they begin to break more proprietary apps out to the Play Store? Let us know in the comments section below.