Almost a month after Samsung started its Android 9 Pie beta program for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus, the South Korean tech giant is now distributing a new Android Pie beta update to selected devices in the United States. The latest software package, which has a file size of 589MB, mostly brings fixes to the issues discovered in the previous versions of Android Pie beta for the Galaxy S9 handsets. Among the software bugs that this upgrade seeks to resolve are the freezing of the dialer application, the disappearance of the Close All button, the failure of iris scan to work when using Samsung Pass, and update errors experienced by users either with the Google Play Store or with the Galaxy Apps. Moreover, this update also allows the handsets running Android 9 Pie beta to utilize data roaming overseas. Aside from resolving software issues, this update also brings the December 2018 Android security patch to units of the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus running Android 9 Pie beta. This patch fixes a number of critical vulnerabilities found in the media framework and the system portion of the operating system.
Background: Samsung began the distribution of Android 9 Pie beta to volunteers in the United States, Europe, and South Korea a few weeks ago, and the tech giant is expected to deploy the stable version of the operating system to the majority of its customers in January 2019. Android 9 Pie brings a variety of new functionalities to the two devices, including some of the features found in the stock version of the operating system. Among the features that Android Pie will possibly bring to the Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus are Adaptive Battery, which utilizes artificial intelligence to limit the resources provided to rarely-used applications, and Adaptive Brightness, which takes advantage of AI to determine the appropriate level of brightness for the device’s display given a specific lighting environment. Furthermore, the update should also bring One UI, the latest iteration of Samsung’s proprietary skin. In One UI, Samsung made options and buttons more accessible to the user by dividing the screen into two parts. The lower part is where the user will interact and control what is observed in the display, while the elements of the application and the user interface can be seen at the upper half of the display.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus were launched earlier this year, and it shipped with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. Both handsets shipped with 4GB of RAM and the variants of the two devices shipped to the United States feature the Snapdragon 845 chipset. The key difference between the two devices are the display sizes and the number of rear cameras. The Galaxy S9 sports a 5.8-inch display and a single 12-megapixel camera while the Galaxy S9 Plus features a 6.2-inch display and dual 12-megapixel rear shooters.
Impact: Given that Samsung incorporates a wide variety of proprietary features on top of stock Android, there is a need to test the updates for any incompatibility and software bugs either with the device’s hardware or with the Android operating system. This process of testing beta versions of the software should prevent Samsung from distributing bug-filled updates to the majority of its customers, who are still running the stable version of Android Oreo.