Samsung recently released the list of devices that will receive Android 9 Pie next year as well as the expected dates of the software upgrade deployment. According to the South Korean tech giant, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will both get the latest version of the Android operating system in January 2019, and it will be followed by the Galaxy Note 9, which will obtain the update in February next year. Following the most recent flagship smartphone offerings, the company's 2017 flagships, the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 9, will all receive Android 9 Pie in March 2019. It is interesting to note that the list does not include the Galaxy Note FE, a handset that Samsung launched in 2017, although the omission of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge from the list is already expected, given that both devices already received two major OS updates.
Furthermore, Samsung also says that it will upgrade the mid-range and entry-level handsets released in 2017 and 2018 to Android Pie. Four mid-range handsets will receive the major operating system upgrade in April 2019, and these include the Galaxy A8 2018, the A8 Plus 2018, the A7 2018, and the A9 2018. On the other hand, the Galaxy J4, the J4 Plus, the J6, the J6 Plus, and the A8 Star will obtain Android Pie in May 2019. Samsung also mentioned that it will upgrade the Galaxy J7 2017 in July 2019, while the J7 Duo will receive the update in August 2019. Meanwhile, the tech giant will update the Galaxy Xcover 4 and J3 2017 in September next year.
Aside from its handsets, Samsung also listed the tablets that are eligible to receive Android 9 Pie. The first tablet from Samsung that will get the latest version of the Android operating system is the Galaxy Tab S4 10.5. This device will obtain the software upgrade in April 2019. Meanwhile, Samsung will update the Galaxy Tab S3 9.7 in September 2019, while the Galaxy Tab A 2017, the Tab Active2, and the Tab A 10.5 will get the software package in October 2019.
Background: The Android 9 Pie update will bring several new features to compatible Samsung devices. Among the new functionalities likely included with this software upgrade is the latest revision of the company's proprietary skin, known as One UI. With its newest software overlay, Samsung aims to make it easier for consumers to use the large displays of their devices by effectively dividing the screen into upper and lower areas. Users can now easily reach the control and navigation elements after Samsung concentrated these design components at the lower part of the user interface, now known as the Interaction area. The upper part of the user interface, on the other hand, shows other important design elements including the contents of messages or the current alarm details. Furthermore, One UI also brings a system-wide dark mode and new icons, as well as widespread use of rounded elements throughout the user interface. Aside from the redesigned user interface, this software update could potentially bring some of the stock features of Android 9 Pie to Samsung's devices.
Impact: It takes Samsung longer to update its devices compared to other manufacturers, although people may attribute this delay to the heavy software overlay that the company implements on top of Google's operating system. Furthermore, several factors, which include carrier certification and discovery of software bugs, may delay the deployment of the operating system upgrade to its devices.