Samsung has reportedly begun updating the Galaxy Note8 to a stable Android 9 Pie release in a couple of European countries including Bulgaria and Slovakia, according to a recent report from SamMobile. Specifically, the update is available for the model number SM-N950F launched in the aforementioned markets, and pushes the software version to "N950FXXU5DSB2."
The new software package includes the Android security patch for February 2019 and introduces One UI to the Samsung Galaxy Note8, making it the OEM's third smartphone model to feature the new proprietary UI following the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy S9.
Last November it was reported by a Samsung spokesperson that the One UI will not be released for the Samsung Galaxy Note8 but the Android 9 Pie beta released for the device in January did come with the new UI attached, and it appears that this major feature did make the cut for the final stable release.
One UI focuses primarily on improving the user experience by resizing and relocating certain UI elements. With the new UI, Samsung's applications will generally tend to display the content on the upper half of the screen, while reserving the lower half for on-screen controls. Likewise, the UI is dynamic and hides buttons and other elements whenever they are not relevant to the user. Android 9 Pie should also improve battery life with the help of Adaptive Battery, and notifications should now offer more interactivity through the notification shade.
Although the update has seemingly launched only in a couple of European countries so far, the rollout is likely to expand into additional markets over the course of the coming weeks. Samsung usually releases new major software updates for its smartphones gradually in order to be able and pull the plug in a timely manner in case something goes wrong, so if the update will go on without a hitch in Bulgaria and Slovakia then more countries should be following suit.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 which was released six months prior to the Galaxy Note8 is another one of the OEM's older flagships that have been tested using Android 9 Pie beta and will likely enjoy a public release soon, but no exact launch dates have been set so its arrival will be just as surprising as this latest release for the Galaxy Note8.
However the Galaxy S8 will be the furthest point back in time Samsung is willing to go for the Android 9 Pie update, and support for upcoming major OS releases is expected to end with Android 9 for both flagships launched in 2017. They were originally released running Android 7.0 Nougat and were both updated to Android 8.0 Oreo roughly one year following their market debut.
Samsung Galaxy Note8 owners who are eligible for the update can wait for the update notification to arrive or alternatively they can open the Settings app and head down to the "Software update" section to attempt and trigger the installation process manually. Either way, users are advised to start the process while the smartphone is fully charged to avoid unscheduled reboots.