Samsung is starting to roll out updates to Android 11 and One UI 3.0, its customized interface, to some of its latest phones. The first up are Galaxy S20 series devices in the US, Korea, and most of Europe, which will start receiving updates today. Updates for the Note 20, last year’s Note 10 and S10, and the Z Fold, Z Fold 2, and Z Flip are planned to arrive in the “coming weeks.” Updates for the Galaxy A series will arrive in the first half of 2021.
The updates come three months after the launch of Android 11. Samsung has historically been slow to deliver Android updates even to its latest phones. Three months isn’t a huge wait (it maintains the same pace as last year), but a number of other phone manufacturers, including OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo, managed to deliver Android 11 on day one this year. Samsung’s updates take longer in part because it heavily customizes Android with its own interface.
One UI 3.0 mostly brings visual refinements to Samsung’s existing interface. Menus and widgets are now presented with a frosty, translucent background, rather than the grayish look they previously had. Samsung has also added some richer lock screen widgets and a redesigned volume menu, and it says animations should be smoother, and camera autofocus should be faster. Android Police has a thorough rundown of the changes.
It’s not entirely clear how soon any given phone will get these updates, even though the rollout is starting today. Samsung’s software rollouts often start slowly, and they’re frequently held up on a carrier-by-carrier basis. To illustrate just how chaotic it can be: Verizon preempted Samsung’s announcement and started rolling out this update to the Galaxy S20 5G UW yesterday.