Samsung has been notoriously slow to update their long portfolio of smartphones. It usually takes close to 6 months or longer for them to update any of their flagship devices to the latest version of Android. Thanks to our friends at Firmware.Science, we were able to get an early hands-on of the upcoming Samsung Experience 10 update based on Android 9 Pie for the Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy S9+. This is a very early development build of Android Pie, so there are some bugs, incomplete UI elements, and broken features.
Rydah from the SamCentral Discord installed this test build and was able to provide us with these screenshots. We will post a guide on how to install Android Pie with Samsung Experience 10.0 on the Snapdragon Samsung Galaxy S9+ soon.
Update: Guide is now available here.
Samsung Experience 10.0 SystemUI Changes
With the new Android Pie update, you will notice a lot of changes to the System UI. The most apparent change is the new AMOLED Dark theme. Samsung is calling this the night theme. It seems as though it is broken in this build, though, and is always enabled even though there should be a light theme available.
Next up is the new card style UI with curved edges. This is very similar to what the Google Pixel has on its version of Android Pie. This is shown in the notifications and in the settings app. You will also notice the redesigned Quick Settings pulldown. It now has the rounded buttons without the quick access to changing settings, like connecting to Wi-Fi without opening settings. Samsung has also chosen to make the full pulldown far fullscreen.
You can also see that the lock screen has been updated. The lock screen now has the time close to the center. It is also using a new design for the clock. The quick app shortcuts at the bottom of the screen have now been replaced by the color of the icons.
The recent apps overview menu on Samsung Experience 10.0 has also been revamped in the Android Pie style. It now has the dock at the bottom and has the recent apps overview scrolling horizontally instead of vertically. This is very similar to what users are able to do with Good Lock.
Samsung Experience 10.0 System Settings
As stated before, Samsung is releasing the new Night theme with this update, which is essentially a native dark mode. It will support manually enabling it, a scheduled time, and an automatic mode for enabling it when in the dark. You will also be able to decrease the brightness of the screen automatically.
Samsung has also added a new motions and gestures menu. This has all of the old gestures like a swipe on the fingerprint scanner and palm swipe to capture. This was updated with a new feature: lift to wake. This will wake up your phone when you pick it up from a table. Motions and gestures also get a new tab within the Advanced Features settings.
The next feature is the new gesture control. Samsung didn’t add the same gestures as Google built them into Android Pie. This is simply swiping up from the bottom of the screen in the position where each button is located. It’s only enabled when the navigation bar is hidden. There’s also a setting to show little UI indicators where you should swipe up on.
Samsung Experience 10.0 System Apps
The Samsung dialer app has been revamped with the new night theme. It also has moved the options like recent, keypad, contacts, and places to the bottom of the screen. Currently, on Samsung Experience 9.0 and 9.5, it has them on the top below the search bar. The search bar has also gotten a bit wider and thicker.
The Messages app for SMS and RCS has also been updated. This has the same curved card design. Since this is a system app, it also supports the new night theme. Just like the Dialer, it has moved the conversations and contacts options to the bottom of the screen. The UI inside of Messages seems to have gotten the same treatment as most other apps. The compose bar has gotten a bit taller and wider and the icons slightly redesigned.
The Bixby Home app has also gotten a new UI. It is very similar to the other apps with Samsung’s new design language. It has gotten curved borders and a night theme. This update of Bixby Home doesn’t have any new features yet, but those could be coming soon. The Setup screen was also changed a bit and both Bixby Home and the setup screen support the night theme.
Samsung Mail, Gallery, My Files, Samsung Internet, and Camera Apps
Just like most other system apps in Samsung Experience 10.0 on the Samsung Galaxy S9+, the Samsung Mail, Gallery, and Camera apps were all updated. The email app got updated with the same rounded corners. This seems to be one of the few apps without support for the night theme. There aren’t any new features that have been added with this update. The Gallery and My Files were updated with the new rounded corners as well, but not much else. Samsung Internet got a redesigned UI with these same design principles.
The camera got a whole new UI. It now has the option for what I can only assume is macro versus micro shots. This is the tree and flower in the bottom center of the screen. Samsung has also moved around some settings and options. Currently, the front-facing camera and AR Emojis crash when you try to use them.
Overall, this update is a pretty big one. It’s really nice to see the progress Samsung is making with Android Pie, even if this is just an early engineering build. This build isn’t very stable but it gives us a great look at the new UI and what’s coming when Samsung releases an official beta for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hopefully later this year or early next year.
It took Samsung until early November 2017 to get their first Android Oreo builds released. It’s just mid-September 2018 and we already have functioning builds of Android Pie for the Samsung Galaxy S9+. This is a good sign for Project Treble and the future of Samsung updates. Anything is better than waiting almost 6 months for an update.