When Samsung unveiled the Fold3 and Flip3 earlier this month, it did something a little different with their software. Because One UI 4 is right around the corner, Samsung scrapped the 3.5 update and released the new foldables with an incremental 3.1.1 version instead. Because most of the new features are specifically for foldables, many wondered if existing phones would get the update or skip straight to One UI 4.0. Now we have our answer, as the Galaxy S21 series is being updated with some improvements from 3.1.1, even without formally graduating to 3.1.1.
Samsung has had an ad problem for a while now, much to the dismay of users. When you're spending up to $1800 on a flagship device, seeing ads anywhere in stock apps or your notification shade is unacceptable. Thankfully, this could soon change.
Samsung has steadily been improving its software update speed over the last few years. Security patches are already impeccable, but major Android updates are still two or three months behind Google. In June, there was a rumor that Samsung would be releasing One UI 4 based on Android 12 earlier than in recent years. That seems to be the case, as one of the community managers accidentally announced the beta early before swiftly deleting the post.
Back in 2017, the Galaxy S8 represented a big step in the evolution of Samsung's flagship S line-up, removing the home button and igniting the war on display bezels in the process. Four years later, it's still a great-looking phone, but it's sadly reached the end of the line when it comes to updates — Samsung has ended software support for both the S8 and S8+, as well as moving other older devices to a less regular update cycle, and adding new phones to the schedule.
SoundAssistant has improved a lot this year, with new features like Bluetooth Metronome making it an even more valuable part of the Good Locks suite. The module is getting even better now, with tighter Theme Park integration and plenty of new customization options.
Samsung has continued to improve its update speed every year since One UI first debuted, and the way it rapidly releases security patches each month is the standard by which all other (non-Google) Android manufacturers are judged. There's still room for more improvement, though, like with the way the S20 had to wait until December 2020 for its Android 11 update. According to some recent rumors, Samsung might be gearing up to release the next big Android version faster than ever.
At a digital Mobile World Congress event today, Samsung is showing off its designs for a new generation of Galaxy wearables. But it's sticking to the One UI software side of things, declining to debut new wearable hardware, or even talk very much about that new combined Wear OS platform that it will be running on. It's a bit of a downer after those recent leaks of a next-gen Galaxy Watch 4 from last week.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Every year there seems to be plenty of articles discussing how to make your new Samsung phone feel like a Pixel. Last year I even wrote one for those of you who do want a Pixel-like experience. I don't necessarily think it's a good idea, however — if you want your phone to be like a Pixel, you should have bought a Pixel in the first place. It also gives the impression that One UI is terrible, or at least worse than stock Android. While some might agree with that, I certainly don't. In my opinion, One UI is the best flavor of Android out there, and it has lots of features and tricks that deserve more attention.
I used Google devices exclusively for years. At the time, I loved my Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, the first two generations of the Pixel (XL versions), the Nexus 9 and Pixel C tablets, and even the Pixelbook. But after a few weeks with the Pixel 3 XL, I had to face a truth that I'd been trying to deny: Google hardware makes too many compromises. I went through at least three of each Pixel, all replaced on warranty for one reason or another. And the 3 XL wasn't faring any better in the software department, with the music app constantly being pushed out of memory and the camera failing to save many of the pictures and videos that I took.
The Galaxy S21 series surprised many of us when it came with Google Messages as the default SMS app rather than Samsung's own. Google even made some changes to make the app fit in, altering the color palette to match Samsung Messages and adding support (finally!) for Galaxy Watches. Google has taken this one step further this week, completely redesigning Messages to match One UI's aesthetic.