Google’s confirmed its Android P update and we expect a long list of Galaxy devices to get upgraded to move on from Android Oreo. In fact, Android 9.0 P could arrive a little faster than Android 8.0.
Most Galaxy users are focused on Android Oreo and rightfully so. The Android 8.0 Oreo update is currently pushing out to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy A series, and the Galaxy S7 with the next batch of updates is expected to arrive in mid-to-late May.
Now that many Galaxy owners have upgraded to Android 8.0 Oreo they’re wondering about the future and what’s coming next.
You can expect a slew of Android 8.0 Oreo bug fix updates, monthly security patches, and if we’re lucky, an Android 8.1 Oreo roll out. You can also expect an Android 9.0 P update for some, but not all, Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
Earlier this year Google confirmed Android P, presumed to be Android 9.0 and known internally as Pistachio Ice Cream. The company released a Developer Preview (a beta) for its Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, and Pixel 2 XL smartphones.
Android P will replace Android Oreo later this year and it’ll deliver an assortment of changes including new features, enhancements, tweaks, and fixes. It’s an exciting upgrade for Pixel users and it should be an exciting upgrade for Samsung Galaxy users as well.
Samsung hasn’t confirmed Android P and those announcements probably won’t come for many months. That said, some Galaxy users are curious about what might happen down the road so we’ve put together an early Samsung Galaxy Android P roadmap.
In this early guide to the Samsung Galaxy Android P update we’ll take you through some things you should, and shouldn’t, expect from the update and the release.
Some parts of the release are extremely difficult to predict at this stage, but we can make some educated guesses using the Samsung’s standard release protocol for Android updates.
Expect Android P to Arrive Faster Than Oreo
It’s not on board the Galaxy S8/Galaxy Note 8/Galaxy S7 Android Oreo updates (at least not yet), but Google’s Project Treble, one of Oreo’s key ingredients, is on board the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. 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 P 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.
We’ll believe it when we see it, but the days of getting Android updates months after Nexus and Pixel devices could end with Android P.
Expect a Galaxy S9 Android P Beta
Unless it drastically shakes things up with Android 9.0 P, we expect Samsung to release an Android P beta for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.
In late 2016, Samsung launched an Android Oreo beta for the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The beta gave users a chance to try the features early, but more importantly it helped Samsung squash bugs ahead of the software’s release in 2018.
In late 2015, Samsung released an Galaxy S7 Nougat beta. Like the Galaxy S8 Oreo beta, the Galaxy S7 Nougat beta was limited to select devices in select regions.
The company also ran an Android Marshmallow beta for the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy Note 5 back in 2015.
Nothing is confirmed, but we expect the company to take a similar approach with the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, (if we’re lucky the Galaxy Note 9) and Android P.
If you own a device like the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy Note 8 or if you own a mid-range Galaxy phone or tablet, your chances of seeing a beta are much slimmer.
Expect These Galaxy Devices to Get Android P
The most prominent question we’re currently getting from Galaxy owners is: “Will my device get the Android P update?” We’re not Samsung so we can’t give you a definitive answer, but here’s what we think will probably happen.
Samsung typically stops updating Galaxy devices with major Android releases after two updates. This isn’t public policy, but it’s a protocol the company’s followed for several years now.
The company’s slowly improving but popular devices like the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 are still in danger of missing Android Oreo.
That said, devices from 2017 and 2018 should be in the clear. The Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will get Android Oreo, so will the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. Mid-rangers from 2017 and 2018 should get the upgrade to Android P as well.
If you own an older device there’s a good chance you’ll have to root in order to get Android P features running on your Galaxy phone or tablet.
Expect These Galaxy Devices to Get Android P First
Apple’s iOS updates roll out to everyone all at once, but Samsung’s Android software releases have a pecking order. Here’s what you can expect from Android P.
Flagship devices usually get first dibs on new software. For instance, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were the first devices to Android 8.0 and Samsung’s new Experience 9.0 UI. The Galaxy Note 8, the company’s other flagship from 2017, was next in line.
Once the company deploys software for its flagship devices, the update starts hitting older devices and mid-rangers. So what does this mean for Android P?
It means the Galaxy S9 will likely be the first to get Android P. After that we’d expect the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S8, and Galaxy S8+ to be next in line followed by devices in the Galaxy J, Galaxy Tab, and Galaxy A series.
Samsung’s shortened the gaps between updates for flagship and mid-range devices, but we still expect the more well-known, better adopted devices to get their Android 9.0 P upgrades first.
Expect the Galaxy Note 9 to Run Android Oreo
Google’s Android P release date is set for sometime in Q3, probably July or August, which is the same window Samsung typically uses to announce its new Galaxy Note 9. There’s a chance it runs Android P out of the box, but at this point we’d expect it to come with Android Oreo.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 rumor mill is starting to pickup speed as we push into the year. Samsung itself even confirmed the Galaxy Note 9 at MWC 2018.
We don’t have a long list of confirmed features, but you can expect the Galaxy Note 9 to come with an assortment of hardware and software upgrades. We just don’t expect Android P to be among them.
Android Oreo launched for Nexus and Pixel devices in August of last year. The Galaxy Note 8 also launched in August, with Android 7.1.1 Nougat instead of Android Oreo.
With an Android P release scheduled for Q3 and the Galaxy Note 9 looking like it’ll launch in a similar window, it’s hard to picture Samsung delivering this kind of turnaround, even with Project Treble.
A more likely scenario? The Galaxy Note 9 launches with the latest version of Android and Samsung Experience UI and gets Android P sometime later in 2018.
And indeed, Samsung is reportedly testing Android 8.1 on the Galaxy Note 9 and that’s a much safer bet than Android 9.0 P.
Keep an eye out for Galaxy Note 9 rumors and benchmarks as we head into the fall. We should see its software leak well in advance.
Don’t Expect Android P Anytime Soon
Google managed to push Android P out a whole lot earlier this year (March as opposed to May for Android Oreo), but that doesn’t mean Android P will arrive for Galaxy devices anytime soon.
The Android P Developer Preview arrived early, but Google plans to put it through several months of testing before it’s released to the general public.
According to Google’s Android P timeline, the company will push developer previews three and four in June. The fourth Android P beta will be the first release candidate.
The fifth Android P developer preview for Pixel devices will arrive sometime in July or August followed by an official release in Q3.
All of this is subject to change based on how the software does in testing, but we don’t expect Google to stray too much.
Again, we expect Samsung to offer an Android P beta to Galaxy S9 users and we’d expect that beta to stretch for several weeks.
If Samsung’s able to get Android P out this year, and that’s still a big if, it’s probably not coming until late 2018.
Older Device? Don’t Expect the Best Version
We can’t predict which features Samsung will pick from Google’s version of Android P and what features it’ll deliver with its next user interface (outside of Bixby 2.0), but we can say this: Samsung’s Galaxy Android P updates probably won’t be created equal.
If you own a newer device like the Galaxy S9 or if you’re planning to buy the Galaxy Note 9, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Flagship devices always get the best version of Android and Samsung’s Experience user interface.
If you own an older device, you might not get the full suite of Android P/Samsung Experience features. In most cases, features are held back due to software limitations or performance concerns.
For instance, Samsung held the Galaxy S7’s Always On Display feature back from the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5.
We expect Android P updates to be similar, but if you want the absolute best software experience Samsung has to offer (the most features, tweaks, etc), you’ll want to buy the latest device.
Really Old Device? Don’t Expect Support to End
If your device fails to secure an upgrade from Android Oreo to Android P don’t expect software support to just end.
Samsung might cut major updates off at the two-year mark, but older devices will continue to get bug fixes and security patches.
The company recently together lists of Galaxy devices getting monthly, and quarterly, security updates. Here’s how it breaks down for May and beyond:
Monthly Security Updates
- Galaxy S series (S9, S9+, S8, S8+, S8 Active, S7, S7 edge, S7 Active, S6 edge+, S6 Active)
- Galaxy Note series (Note 8, Note 5)
- Galaxy A series (A5 (2016), A5 (2017), A8 (2018))
Current Models for Quarterly Security Updates
- Galaxy A3 (2017), Galaxy A7 (2017)
- Galaxy J1 Mini, Galaxy J1 Mini Prime
- Galaxy J2 (2016), Galaxy J5 (2016), Galaxy J7 (2016)
- Galaxy J3 Pro, Galaxy J3 Pop, Galaxy J7 Pop
- Galaxy J3 (2017), Galaxy J5 (2017), Galaxy J7 (2017), Galaxy J7 Max, Galaxy J7 Neo
- Galaxy A8+ (2018), Galaxy J2 (2018)
- Galaxy Tab S2 L Refresh, Galaxy Tab S2 S Refresh
- Galaxy Tab S3 9.7, Galaxy Tab Active2, Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016), Galaxy Tab E (8.0) Refresh
- Note FE
So even if the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 don’t get Android Oreo, they’ll get security patches for the foreseeable future.