Samsung's custom implementation of Android 8.1 Oreo for the Galaxy Note 9 is now available for download, with SamMobile obtaining numerous firmware builds for the international variant of the handset powered by the Exynos 9810 chip. The units identified by the model number SM-N960F are sold in all markets besides North America and China, and should run the August 2018 Android security update out of the box. Samsung Experience 9.5 based on Android 8.1 Oreo is also part of the package, so the new firmware files are primarily aimed at tinkerers, whereas everyone else should already have everything they need from the moment they first boot their new device.
The Galaxy Note 9 officially released today following a two-week pre-order period that saw Samsung and its distribution partners push some aggressive deals and promotions, especially compared to the minor bonuses offered alongside advanced orders for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus earlier this year. That state of affairs was likely prompted by weaker-than-expected sales of the Galaxy S9 line that Samsung itself admitted prompted it to launch the Galaxy Note 9 earlier than planned so as to attempt regaining some momentum in the mobile market. The Galaxy Note 9 is still the most expensive smartphone ever delivered by the South Korean tech giant, starting at $999 in the United States. The more premium variant of the device with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage space retails for $1,249 but still isn't being offered by stateside wireless carriers.
Samsung already said it's hoping the Galaxy Note 9 will outsell its direct predecessor, with recent reports suggesting its pre-order performance already surpassed that of the Galaxy S9 series in certain markets. The newly released device is Samsung's final flagship handset for 2018, with the next high-end offering from the company being expected to debut early next year in the form of the Galaxy S10 family. The Galaxy Note 9 itself is expected to be updated to Android 9 Pie in the first half of 2019, whereas the Galaxy S10 line should run a custom implementation of that OS version out of the box.