Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus owners who obtained their phone through Sprint or T-Mobile, or got an unlocked one directly from Samsung, are now able to try out an early version of Android 8.0 (Oreo) through the Galaxy Beta program. This early beta version of the upcoming Oreo update is bound to have some bugs, and is thus offered strictly on an opt-in-only and fully reversible basis. Once a user signs up and downloads the update, they can easily go back to the current official software. Once the final version of the Oreo update is ready, users will be able to flash the update directly over their current software. Users who want to go back to official firmware but continue using versions of Samsung apps tied to the beta update can do so, as long as compatibility is not an issue.
In order to sign up for the beta update, users will first have to make a Samsung account, if they haven’t already, so that they can use the Galaxy Apps store. From that store, users can download the Galaxy Plus app, which has an opt-in to the beta tucked away in its settings. Once a user has opted in for the beta, just checking for a software update in the normal fashion will get a user onto the new software. In order to roll back, users will have down have a PC nearby that’s running Windows, or can at least run Windows software somehow, and use Samsung’s Smart Switch program. Particularly adventurous users can skip that and use a flashing tool like Samsung’s ODIN or its open-source, cross-platform Heimdall alternative, but this could void the device’s warranty.
A similar testing method was used to give Galaxy S7 owners an early taste of Android 7.0 (Nougat) last year, with the program and process being largely the same. The Galaxy Beta Program has been around for osme time, and introduced early builds of upcoming updates to a good number of Samsung phones. In this particular case, the powerful and popular Samsung Galaxy S8 has sold incredibly well compared to predecessors amid a climate of consumer awareness in tech, so this beta may well end up seeing more users than previous incarnations.