The first Samsung Galaxy Android Oreo release is finally here and today we want to take you through everything we know, and think we know, about the company’s plans for the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6, and other Galaxy-branded phones and tablets.
Despite the release of its first Galaxy Oreo update, Samsung still isn’t saying much about its plans for Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets. That said, we can fill in a several blanks for Galaxy smartphone and tablet users.
This roundup will walk you through the important things to know about Samsung’s Galaxy Android 8.0 updates and the Galaxy Oreo release for popular devices and mid-range phones and tablets.
We’ll continue to update this guide as we, and others, receive more information about Samsung’s plans for Android Oreo so bookmark this page and check back in with us for regular updates.
Samsung Galaxy Oreo Update: What’s New
Let’s start with a few things you should know about Android 8.0 Oreo and the new Samsung Experience 9.0 UI.
Samsung’s version of Android Oreo isn’t identical to the version Google’s rolled out to its Pixel and Nexus devices, but the two share a lot in common.
Google’s Android 8.0 Oreo operating system is packed to the brim with new features, tweaks, and enhancements. It comes with 60+ new emoji, redesigned emoji, upgraded Notifications, improved boot speeds, deeper colors, Autofill, and several new security features.
One other notable change: Galaxy Android Oreo users are now unable able to store fingerprint, iris, or facial recognition data unless a secure screen lock such as a pattern, PIN, or password is being used.
We’ve put together a guide that compares Android Oreo to Android Nougat. It’s a great start place for those that want to learn the ropes before Samsung releases its updates.
As for Samsung’s version of Android Oreo, here’s what we know so far.
The company’s brand new Samsung Experience 9.0 user interface is loaded up with new features, enhancements, and tweaks. Here are some of the features on board:
- Improvements to the Home Screen & Quick Panel
- Samsung Keyboard upgrades
- New Edge features
- Custom Colored Folders
- Improved Privacy in the Photo Gallery
- Clock Enhancements
- New emojis
- A whole lot more
Samsung recently published the first Galaxy S8 manuals depicting Android 8.0 (they’re in Portuguese) and you should take a look if you’re interested in the official version of Oreo.
We’ve also put together a list of the the best parts of the Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo update and the guide is worth a look.
The Galaxy Note 8 update’s also emerged in a series of screenshots showcasing the features on board. The Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update is quite similar to the Galaxy S8’s Oreo upgrade save for the S Pen features.
Speaking of the Note 8, Samsung recently updated its PENUP app to support Galaxy Note 8 devices running Android 8.0 Oreo. The support is just another sign that the Galaxy Note 8 Android Oreo update should follow the Galaxy S8’s.
The company is expected to debut new software in late February when it officially reveals the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagships.
The two Galaxy S9 models are expected to come with an enhanced user interface with new AI features and new wallpapers. However, if you don’t want to wait for the Galaxy S9’s new wallpaper, you can download it to your phone right now.
The Galaxy S9, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and Galaxy Note 8 will get the best version of Android 8.0 Oreo and the Samsung Experience UI, but that doesn’t mean every device will get the same feature set. Every Galaxy Oreo update will be a little bit different.
Older devices typically miss out on features and carriers often put their own spin on major Android releases. That said, it looks like the Samsung Experience UI could hit older devices like the Galaxy S7.
According to an admin on the Samsung community forums, the Galaxy S7 will get the Samsung Experience UI (formerly known as TouchWiz) sometime in the future.
The admin says the UI will be available in the “next update” for the Galaxy S7 which some people (us included) interpreted to mean Android Oreo.
A leaked version of the Galaxy S7 Oreo update out of Vietnam has Bixby Home on board, but some Bixby features are currently disabled.
Google’s released an Android 8.1 Oreo update for Pixel and Nexus devices, but we haven’t seen that version popup for the Galaxy S8 or any other Galaxy device.
As of right now, it looks like Samsung will stick with Android 8.0 Oreo. For more on Android 8.1 and its changes, take a look at our roundup.
Galaxy Android 8.0 Oreo Beta Closed
The Samsung Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 Oreo beta is now closed in the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Germany, Poland, and India.
Samsung USA closed up the Galaxy S8 beta on January 26th (in the United States) and the company is no longer responding to feedback from beta testers.
We don’t expect Samsung to launch Android 8.0 Oreo betas for other popular Galaxy devices.
Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 Oreo Update
The first Android 8.0 updates are rolling out to Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ Oreo beta testers in Germany, India, Poland, and France.
The updates are were rolling out to regular Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users in France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and several Scandinavian countries. The roll out was limited, but we expect it to expand to other countries, including the United States, in the near future.
We’re using the past tense for a reason. Samsung has reportedly halted the Galaxy S8 Oreo roll out in these countries due to unexpected reboots. Here’s the statement Samsung provided:
Following a limited number of cases where Galaxy S8 and S8+ devices have rebooted unexpectedly with the Android 8.0 Oreo, we have temporarily stopped the rollout of the update. We are investigating the issue internally to ensure that the impact to the affected devices is minimized and the rollout of the update can resume as quickly as possible.
The company is apparently developing new firmware for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, but it’s unclear when the new software will roll out.
This doesn’t impact anyone currently running Android 8.0 Oreo on a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+.
T-Mobile’s also confirmed a release for the Galaxy S8 Active.
Samsung Galaxy Android 8.0 Oreo Release
As for the Samsung Galaxy Oreo release, here’s what you need to know as push toward your upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy Android 7.1.1 Update
Samsung is rolling Android 7.1.1 Nougat out to select devices ahead of the Android Oreo update.
Most Galaxy phones and tablets run Android 7.0, but a select few, including the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, now run the newer Nougat build.
Samsung’s reportedly tested Android 7.1.1 Nougat on flagship devices like the Galaxy S7, but we expect devices running Nougat to stay on Android 7.0 ahead of the Android Oreo release.
These Galaxy Devices Should Get Android 8.0 Oreo
Samsung hasn’t released a full list of devices it plans to upgrade to Android Oreo, but that doesn’t matter. Samsung typically upgrades devices for two years which means we can put together a list of probable Galaxy Android 8.0 updates:
- Galaxy S9
- Galaxy Note 8
- Galaxy Note 7 FE
- Galaxy S8 (Released)
- Galaxy S8+ (Released)
- Galaxy S8 Active
- Galaxy S7
- Galaxy S7 Edge
- Galaxy S7 Active
- Galaxy A8 (2016)
- Galaxy A8 (2018)
- Galaxy A8+ (2018)
- Galaxy A7 (2017)
- Galaxy A5 (2017)
- Galaxy A3 (2017)
- Galaxy J7 (2017)
- Galaxy J5 (2017)
- Galaxy Tab S3
- Galaxy Tab E 8
These devices appear on an unofficial list of Galaxy Android 8.0 updates from Chinese-language site Weibo, an unofficial list of update from XDA-Developer forums and several of them have appeared on an Android software update list at T-Mobile.
T-Mobile’s confirmed a handful of other Android 8.0 Oreo updates ahead of Samsung’s announcements.
The U.S. carrier’s announced plans to upgrade the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy J7 Prime, Galaxy Tab E 8, Galaxy S7, and Galaxy S7 Edge with Android 8.0.
The rest of these updates are in the carrier’s “Manufacturer Development” phase which means T-Mobile and Samsung have agreed to support a new software update.
Multiple reports claim that Samsung’s now focused on developing the Android 8.0 Oreo update for the Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy A5, Galaxy A3, and Galaxy Tab S3.
In fact, the Galaxy S7 Oreo update recently leaked on one lucky device in Vietnam.
U.S. carriers are also testing the Galaxy S8 Active Oreo update. The Galaxy S8 Active is the rugged version of the Samsung Galaxy S8. Unlike its predecessors, the Galaxy S8 isn’t an AT&T exclusive. It’s also sold on Sprint and T-Mobile.
Active-branded devices typically lag a little behind the flagship devices, but Galaxy S8 Active users should get Oreo soon after the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
These Galaxy Devices Might Not Get Android 8.0 Oreo
If you own a device that’s two years old or one that’s received two major Android updates, the odds of getting a boost to Android Oreo are slim.
This means popular devices like the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5, despite what T-Mobile is saying, are on the chopping block.
Along with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5, here are a few other devices that might stay put on Android Nougat:
- Galaxy S6
- Galaxy S6 Edge
- Galaxy S6 Active
- Galaxy Note 5
- Galaxy A7 (2016)
- Galaxy A5 (2016)
- Galaxy A3 (2016)
- Galaxy J3 (2016)
- Galaxy J2 (2016)
This isn’t an official list and we could see some names added, and subtracted, from both of these lists before everything is said and done.
A Samsung customer service rep recently claimed that the Galaxy S6 Android Oreo update would start rolling out in January or February, but we don’t expect that to take place.
If these devices do stay put on Android Nougat it doesn’t mean software support will end. Samsung and its carrier partners support devices with security updates and bug fixes well beyond the two year mark.
The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge, two devices that were left behind on Marshmallow, recently got upgraded with the company’s latest security patches.
Samsung February Update
While you might have Android 7.1.1 Nougat and Android 8.0 on the brain, your next update probably won’t be Android 7.1.1 or Android Oreo.
The company recently pushed its January security update and it delivers patches for several critical security flaws. The update is now rolling out to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6, and others.
Google recently pushed its February security patches, and we expect Samsung to push out its own version of the February update in the near future. The Galaxy S8 Oreo update comes with the February update on board.
The company is reportedly developing the February update for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 without Android 8.0 so there’s a chance the Note 8 gets these patches before it gets Oreo.
For more on the contents of Samsung’s security patches, have a look at Samsung’s security bulletin.
Install Oreo If You Want to Improve Your Security
If you value your security, and we assume all of you do, you should think about installing the Galaxy S8 Oreo update soon after it arrives for your phone.
Samsung continues to release important security patches for Galaxy-branded devices and your Galaxy S8's Android 8.0 Oreo update should bring the latest patches from Samsung, and Google, to your phone.
If you failed to download an older security update from another month, you'll get those patches when you go to install Android Oreo on your Galaxy S8 for the first time.
The Galaxy S8 Oreo update also comes with security improvements to Samsung Pay, Samsung's popular mobile payment solution. If you use Samsung Pay, you should probably download the Android Oreo update soon after it arrives for your phone.
It also comes with some enhancements to Find My Mobile including the ability to remotely back up Secure Folder to Samsung Cloud when you lose your phone and a way to lock up Samsung Pass using Find My Mobile.