Both the Samsung Galaxy S8 series of devices and the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be receiving an update to the company's new One UI at some point in the future, according to a recent Twitter post from industry insider "Ice universe." Ordinarily, insider information and rumors of this sort are delivered in a fashion that gives total obfuscation to the source for a variety of reasons. However, this new leak reportedly comes directly from the top, having been reportedly provided by a senior Samsung official.
Background: Of course, the assertion that the news comes from an executive as Samsung doesn't bring immediate validation to the claim. However, if the leak turns out to be accurate, it is going to be a very good thing for those who haven't decided to upgrade to Samsung's latest flagship smartphones or phablet. That's because reports prior to this seem to have contradicted the news with officials at the company reportedly indicating that none of those devices would be receiving the new interface update. Not only did that give some users pause about whether or not they'd receive any future UI improvements. It also raised questions about whether the older smartphones would get an update to Android 9 Pie at all, which forms the basis of One UI. Moreover, the new design appears to be Samsung's only foray into Android 9 Pie. That's disconcerting since Samsung had previously said that it would be providing users on those handsets with an update to the OS in the future.
As to the new UI itself, Samsung hasn't provided an in-depth walkthrough of the redesign but has said that there are a few areas where improvements are being made. For starters, interactive elements will be more purposefully separated between the upper and lower portions of the display. Interactions with the user will primarily be relegated to the lower half, well within reach of user's thumbs and enabling more comfortable grip, taps, and swipes. An example image provided at the new interface's announcement highlighted that separation via an image showing message contents at the top of the display while the messaging list and other interactive elements line up on the bottom. The same carries through to other example applications used to highlight the concept, splitting actionable information at the top from the actions themselves along the lower portion of the interface. While that should make navigation and other UI-related tasks more comfortable and natural, the company isn't ignoring aesthetics with its update either. Apparently following in Google's Material Design 2.0 footsteps, Samsung is rounding out edges, adding darker theme variations, and redesigning icons, while minimizing the number of elements on a given screen.
Impact: In the meantime, there's been no indication as to when users on older Samsung flagships might see the changes in question begin to roll out. There also haven't any clues provided as to whether either the Snapdragon or Exynos iterations of the device might see differences in terms of what exactly is included with One UI if and when it lands. It wouldn't be too unusual for that to happen, particularly if any of the newly redesigned features depend on Samsung's in-house chipsets in some way, although it isn't necessarily a likely scenario.