Samsung Experience 9.0, the company's revamped and rebranded TouchWiz, is now offering a beta version of Android Oreo to all Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus owners based in the United States, UK, and South Korea, just more than two months after Google released the software to the public.
Samsung Experience 9.0 Rolled Out
Samsung Experience 9.0 is of course Samsung's own take on Android Oreo, but that's always the case with manufacturers who have their own customized Android skins. As of Nov. 2, "select" handsets will get to use the new software, but they are nonetheless testers, so they'll be expected to give Samsung feedback on performance, stability, usability, and report whatever kinks they find in general.
The company isn't sharing exactly what Samsung Experience 9.0 includes, but early release notes suggest it focuses on Android Oreo's architecture improvements above everything else. If true, the software update includes user interface tweaks such as notification badges. It could also feature improved sound quality and overall performance.
Changes specific to Samsung are also included, such as a native GIF keyboard, a better cloud storage system, and a new game mode featured in DeX, the phone's "desktop" mode.
Samsung Experience 9.0 Requirements
Again, Samsung said the update is only coming to select devices. To get it, users would need to have a Samsung Account, and those in the United States must have a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus on either Sprint or T-Mobile to qualify as beta testers. Alternatively, they can also enroll unlocked versions of the phone, but it must be carrying SIMs from the aforementioned carriers. In the UK, users just need to have the unlocked version of the phone.
Of course, it goes without saying that beta testers should expect snags and performance hiccups if they're going to download the update. Discovering errors, kinks, bugs, and all sorts of anomalies is the point of being a beta tester, after all.
Samsung promised that there will be additional rounds of beta registrations, so users who fail to join in their first try can attempt to join later. When the initial program ends will vary depending on the country.
The crucial question, of course, is when Samsung plans to roll out a final, stable version of Android Oreo for all Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus owners, because it took until January before Android Nougat reached Galaxy S7 and S7 edge users this year.