Samsung has been making and still makes impressive smartphones. Each year, their flagships earn ranks among the best smartphones in terms of quality, hardware and overall performance. However, where all Samsung phones seemed to have lagged behind the competition, is their software.
Sure, their flagships run Android, just like every other manufacturer with the exception of Apple. But it is to note that it isn’t the vanilla stock Android found in Xiaomi, Motorola or even Nokia phones. What Samsung uses is a User Interface (UI) over the Android operating system called TouchWiz.
TouchWiz has been here ever since Samsung started making Android phones and over the years has gotten better than what it used to be. However, Samsung failed to make it better than the UIs other manufacturers were using even though it was packed with the most features. People complained that it was bloated and felt sluggish to use.
So does that mean that Samsung phones will forever be held back by their UI? No. Because Samsung announced at their Developer Conference, back in 2018, that they’ll roll out the all-new One UI on their current flagships with the Android 9.0 Pie. Now One UI will be replacing TouchWiz as the user interface on all future Samsung smartphones running Android 9.0 or higher.
What is One UI?
One UI is supposed to be a decluttered, simple and close to stock Android experience you can get on a Samsung. It is also supposed to improve the performance of Samsung phones by a considerable amount, which is why people have been anxiously waiting for it. Samsung did release the Beta versions for some devices and even the stable version in Europe and Asia. However, now its finally coming to the US.
Updates in the US
Samsung has just started rolling out Android 9.0 to the Galaxy S9 and S9+. It started off with just Xfinity customers but later started hitting Sprint, Verizon and AT&T, reportedly on January 31st, 2019. On the same day, some AT&T Galaxy Note 9 owners also reported seeing the updates on their devices. This seems to be going as planned according to the roadmap Samsung provided regarding the US software updates. It is as follows:
- Note 9 (January 2019)
- S9/S9+ (January 2019)
- Note 8 (February 2019)
- S8/S8+ (March 2019)
Seeing, as February has already started, we are expecting to see some Note 8 owners also getting a taste of the Pie. While S8 and S8+ owners might have to wait for a bit, at least in the US. Samsung users in Europe, Middle East and Asia have been lucky in this regard. Their units, especially the non-carrier ones have started getting the updates as far back as late December 2018.
As you can see in the screenshots above, there are some visual changes as well. The icons for the system apps have all changed. The soft buttons for home, back,
and recent apps are different. The search bar has a more rounded design as compared to the squared off one in TouchWiz. If you notice the notification bar, the time has shifted to the left side as well.
With the Galaxy S10 just around the corner, it’s evident that it’ll come out with One UI out of the box. We now have a taste of what to expect and from the looks of it, it might just be the best smartphone of the year… until the next Note comes out.