Samsung's new mobile interface, One UI, will not be coming to the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, it seems. Samsung spokesperson actually confirmed this news to Tom's Guide, the company's spokesperson actually said that the UI will not be available on the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, or the Galaxy Note 8, that probably also means that other older phones will not be getting the update either. This is actually quite odd, and it raises a number of questions in the process. Samsung confirmed a while back that Android 9 Pie will be coming to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8, but it seems like the only iteration of Samsung's software that will run Android 9 Pie will be One UI, does that mean Samsung backtracked on its information and will not be providing Android 9 Pie update for the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8 at all? Well, it sure seems like it, at least at this point. Samsung Experience 9.0 was based on Android 8.0 Oreo, while Samsung Experience 9.5 was based on Android 8.1 Oreo, while One UI seems to be ready to replace 'Samsung Experience' altogether, which effectively means that the Android 9 Pie will probably not arrive to the Galaxy S8 series, and the Galaxy Note 8 at all.
Background: 'One UI' is Samsung's all-new Android-based software, as the company is looking to rebrand 'Samsung Experience UX'. One UI was announced yesterday during the Samsung Developer Conference, and that was only one of the announcements that the company made, as Samsung also talked about its foldable smartphone, while it showed off a prototype device as well, a phone with a large display which you can fold, and at that point a smaller display on the outside will activate. We're not here to talk about foldable phones, though, but Samsung new UI and its devices. One UI, on its own, builds on Samsung Experience UX (at least partially), as this is basically a much cleaner version of Samsung Experience UX, with a number of improvements / changes, it's not a small change at all. One UI will keep the most relevant content on the bottom of the display, as the company is calling this part of the display 'Interaction Area', while the top part of the display is referred to as 'Viewing Area'. That somewhat makes sense considering how tall phones are these days, as the interaction area will be used for interacting with the phone, as its name says, while the top part will focus on the info that it has to show you, like your messages.
Samsung actually said that One UI was made to reduce clutter and distractions, so that the user can focus on navigating its smartphone, and enjoy doing it. One UI removes actions and features from the display that are not essential for what you're doing at the moment, so it's dynamic. Let's take One UI's dialer as an example, as it removes the contact search bar one you start typing a number, and ti will simply show you contacts that match. The company had also announced that a system-wide dark mode will be available in One UI as well, and a ton of icons have been redesigned, the same goes for other UI elements. All in all, One UI is adapted to large smartphones, while its focus lies in simplicity, and ease of use. One UI will be based on Android 9 Pie, as already mentioned, and it will start rolling out to the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note9 handsets in January next year.
Impact: The Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note 8 were all launched in 2017, and not releasing Android 9 Pie for those three smartphones would be quite surprising, and quite a mistake by Samsung. There is absolutely no reason to doubt Tom's Guide report, and what Samsung's Spokesperson said, but if that is the case, will Samsung actually release Samsung Experience 10 after all, in order to cater to older smartphones, and push out Android 9 Pie their way? That seems quite unlikely considering One UI is coming in January, but it is an option. Not updating flagship devices that are less than two years old is not something that is recommended, especially not when it comes to a company which is usually quite slow when it comes to updating their devices, and under fire by consumers regarding all that. It is possible that the company's spokesperson made a mistake while giving out his response to Tom's Guide, and if that's the case, Samsung will surely correct it in the near future, but it sure managed to create a lot of confusion, and quite probably worry some Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note9 users.
One UI, on the other hand, seems like a positive step back. Samsung seems to have focused on what matters, and that it cleaning up its UI. It is true that today's smartphones are quite large, and due to tall display aspect ratios, they're also quite tall, so having a UI that will move most actions to the bottom part of the display seems like a good move. A system-wide dark mode is also a positive step back, as it is available in a number of skins out there, and even Google released it with Android 9 Pie, even though Google's iteration needs some work still, it's not exactly consistent. It will be interesting to see Samsung's new user interface in action, and it will also be interesting to see if the company did anything about background processes on its phones, as that is one of the main complaints when it comes to Samsung's skins. The company has a number of additional processes running in the background, which is why its skin is considered to be one of the heavier ones in the business. Samsung did not refer to any of that yesterday, so it remains to be seen if any actions were taken to declutter that part as well.
One UI was one of the main announcements yesterday, as the company's demo foldable phone surely took the spotlight. An idea that you can fold your smartphone and put it in your pocket, and then unfold it when you need a large display seems quite appealing, but it needs to be implemented properly. The demo device that Samsung has shown is not only quite thick and bulky, but it also took a while to show the outer display when folded, not to mention that its bezels were extremely thick. This is only a demo device, and stuff like that should not be of any concern just yet, as it remains to be seen what will the final product look like. The company is expected to announce its foldable smartphone in early 2019, quite probably during CES or MWC.