Samsung is currently in the process of testing the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus with Android 8.0 Oreo, Dutch tech blog Galaxy Club reported Tuesday, suggesting that the company's upcoming flagship duo won't run the latest version of Google's mobile operating system once it's released. Albeit no additional information on the matter has been provided by the source, the possibility that the Galaxy S9 lineup runs Android 8.0 instead of 8.1 out of the box seems highly plausible, with Samsung's Galaxy S-series devices generally launching with the latest major iteration of the mobile OS and rarely receiving an upgrade to Google's incrementally revised firmware builds.
As that state of affairs is believed to be unchanged in the immediate future, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will likely jump directly to Android P from 8.0 Oreo, much like the Galaxy S8 family is now set to be upgraded to Oreo from Android 7.0 instead of later builds of Nougat. Software development for a major smartphone is usually a prolonged affair and one of the main reasons why Samsung isn't optimizing every single Android build for its devices but usually sticks to major OS iterations, albeit some exceptions still apply. According to recent reports, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus will mostly provide incremental upgrades over their predecessors and won't be significantly different to them in terms of design or even specs. The larger device is believed to feature 6GB of RAM instead of 4GB and both are expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 845 that Qualcomm has yet to announce, but base storage configurations and screen sizes are said to remain the same. The two handsets will also succeed the dual-camera setup of the Galaxy Note 8, possibly with some minor improvements, and the same goes for the rear-facing fingerprint sensor that should be repositioned and situated more centrally.
While Samsung's main flagships usually launch in late winter around Mobile World Congress, the largest phone maker in the world is now rumored to unveil them as early as mid-January, being expected to bring both handsets to the latest iteration of Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's still unclear whether an earlier reveal will translate to a pre-MWC commercial release, with some insiders claiming that it won't and that the Galaxy S9 lineup will only make a cameo at CES 2018 before officially launching closer to MWC 2018.