The first Samsung Galaxy Android 9 Pie update has surfaced, but don’t expect an official release to happen anytime soon.
Android 9 Pie is rolling out to Google’s Pixel line and phones from select OEMs, but we’re still waiting on news about Samsung’s fleet of Galaxy tablets and phones.
While many of its rivals have announced their plans for Android Pie, Samsung hasn’t released a roadmap for devices like the Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 9, and Galaxy S8. That said, it looks like the company is starting to develop Android 9 Pie for at least one popular Galaxy smartphone.
Last September, Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo update was spotted lurking in a Galaxy S8 benchmark. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were both eventually selected for Samsung’s Oreo beta and they were among the first Galaxy devices to get the final version of Android 8.0 Oreo.
While the Galaxy S8 Oreo update first surfaced in September, the first Galaxy S8 Oreo beta didn’t start rolling out to users until November.
The official version of Android Oreo hit Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ models in the United States in early 2018 after a lengthy stint in beta.
So while the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will likely be among the first Galaxy devices to Android 9 Pie, there’s no telling how long the process will take.
If Samsung sticks to its roots, we could see a Galaxy S9 Android Pie beta launch later this year. And if that happens, an official release could be several months away, at least.
Of course, there’s also a chance the Galaxy S9 Android Pie beta and the official release roll out a little faster than Android Oreo.
Older devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 run Android Oreo, but Samsung chose not to deliver Project Treble inside their Oreo updates.
Google says it’s “working with a number of other partners to launch or upgrade devices to Android 9 this year.” If Samsung manages to get Android Pie out in 2018, the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will likely be first in line. If you simply can’t wait, there are ways to get Android Pie on a Galaxy S9 right now.
For now, Samsung continues to roll out Android Oreo updates with some devices making the jump from Android Nougat to Android 8.1 Oreo. Android 8.1 is a newer version of Oreo that made its debut on board the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy Tab S4 in August.
Expect Android Pie to Arrive a Little Faster Than Oreo
It's not on board the Galaxy S8/Galaxy Note 8/Galaxy S7 Android Oreo updates, but Google's Project Treble, one of Oreo's key ingredients, is on board the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ and that's excellent news.
In a nutshell, Project Treble's goal is to help cut down the amount of time it takes for companies to release major Android software updates. This is obviously a huge problem with Samsung and its Galaxy smartphones.
Android Oreo started rolling out for Pixel and Nexus devices back in August, 2017. Samsung's first Android Oreo update landed in early 2018.
According to Google "Project Treble separates the vendor implementation (device-specific, lower-level software written by silicon manufacturers) from the Android OS framework via a new vendor interface." A formal vendor interface doesn't exist in earlier versions of Android .
So what does Project Treble mean for Galaxy devices like the Galaxy S9 that come with Project Treble? It means Samsung will be able to release Android updates without having to wait for its chip manufacturers (Qualcomm) to send an update. And that could translate into a much faster Android Pie upgrade for the Galaxy S9 and other Galaxy devices.
Qualcomm's also promised "fast commercial availability of the next version of Android." The company says that by "having early access to Android P, Qualcomm Technologies optimized its software on Snapdragon 845, 660 and 636 Mobile Platforms to ensure readiness for OEMs to upgrade to Android P at the time of launch." The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ both utilize Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chip.
Samsung has reportedly started working on the Galaxy S9 Oreo update in most regions around the world, a sign that a release could indeed come faster than Oreo. An early version of the update has also leaked out for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy Note 9.
We'll believe it when we see it, but the days of getting Android updates months and months after Nexus and Pixel devices could end with Android 9.0 Pie.