Samsung has just released a promised update for the Galaxy S9 and S9 +, which brings the latest version of Android 9 Pie, and changes everything to Samsung's new interface, One UI. And for "only", I mean "just for Xfinity Mobile customers," as Android Police grades. This makes the launch very limited for the US, although the update has been reaching international customers for over a month.
US customers on other networks (or who have devices unlocked) will need to wait a little longer. Samsung says that "upgrading to Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 + and Galaxy Note9 will continue to be rolled out to other carrier providers in the coming days and weeks."
In early January, Samsung issued a "Notice of Service" on its Samsung Members application detailing its planned roadmap for launching the software update, such as SamMobile reported. Looking at the dates listed, the launch of Galaxy phones is really coming. As of January 2, see what Samsung has informed customers about updates to their most popular phones:
- Galaxy Note 9 (January 2019)
- Galaxy S9 and S9 + (January 2019)
- Galaxy Note 8 (February 2019)
- Galaxy S8 and S8 + (March 2019)
Although Samsung Galaxy phones consistently have some of the best hardware (and definitely the best screens) that you can have on an Android phone, they have always had the reputation of getting behind in getting the latest updates. Fair or not, it is unlikely to change this year.
However, the differences between specific versions of Android have been importing less and less for consumers as the operating system matures. More important are the customizations that each manufacturer brings to their queues. Even the Google Pixel phones are not really "Pure Android" – they are from Google on Android.
If you have a Samsung Galaxy phone and live in the USA, sometime in the "coming days and weeks" you should get an update that shows the latest version of Samsung on Android. The new One user interface is designed specifically to make it easy to navigate content on a large screen, making headings much larger and moving the buttons you need to press the screen.
We are also less than a month away from Samsung's "Unpacked" event, which takes place on February 20 in San Francisco. In it, we expect Samsung to discuss up to five different phones: the Galaxy S10, S10 +, the so-called "light" version of the S10, its foldable phone and potentially even a 5G phone.
While it's good that Samsung has started the launch of Android Pie, the schedule is (as always) slower than customers want. And, as always with Android, the surest way to get the latest software is to buy the latest phones. Presumably, everything Samsung announces next month will come with the Android 9 Pie and the One UI from Samsung.