Samsung’s really got the ball rolling with the Android 8.0 (Oreo) updates for its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus flagships. The first of the consumer ready updates, which also include Samsung’s own Android skin called Samsung Experience 9.0, began rolling out to users in Germany as early as February 8. Now, the update is also beginning to hit users in India. Given the short order of release between the two regions, it stands to reason that other areas of the globe are going to follow quickly from there. Beta users are reportedly getting first dibs on the new software, with the more general population of Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus users starting a day later. That means non-beta users in Germany should have started to see the update on February 9, while the same will be true in India starting February 10. As always, users will have to be patient since these updates can take a few days to roll out and in some regions will be delayed by carriers.
With regard to the updates themselves, as mentioned above they include Android Oreo underneath Samsung’s custom overlay. That means they’ll get all of the new features included with the new version of Android and some extras provided by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, the one part of Oreo Samsung is not taking part in is Google’s Project Treble but that may or may not turn out to be a problem, given how quickly Samsung is rolling out these updates. Samsung Experience 9.0 includes improvements to the keyboard, device search, Bixby Briefing, and Color Lens. However, it also improves biometrics security for the devices and there are some subtle tweaks to the U.I. in a few places. As with Oreo itself, most of the changes are not user-facing but under the hood where they can improve the overall experience. The user-side Oreo changes include notification dots on icons which are displaying notifications, which also adds a shortcut via long-press to view those notifications. Aside from that, videos now support picture-in-picture mode, there is new emojis, autofill for passwords has been improved, and boot times should be much better.
For those feeling less than patient about waiting for the over-the-air update to hit their devices, users can check manually for updates by navigating to the settings application. Near the bottom of that menu, users should be able to click a “Software Updates” option which may or may not speed up the process. In the meantime, there’s still no word on when the update will be available for the other members of the Galaxy S8 family – namely the Galaxy Note 8 and the Galaxy S8 Active. It would make sense for these updates to follow relatively quickly but so far Samsung has kept most news about that under wraps.