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Why no Android P beta for Galaxy S9 owners, Samsung?

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Last updated: May 9th, 2018 at 09:55 UTC+02:00

Let's be honest: Samsung's software update policy sucks, at least as far as its flagship phones are concerned. The Galaxy S8 and S8+ Oreo update took an awfully long time to reach every consumer, and the wait was even longer for Galaxy Note 8 owners, who paid considerably more than those who purchased the Galaxy S8. It's generally agreed that Samsung's software skin, called Samsung Experience these days, is what adds the extra development time for a major new Android upgrade, and the company also has to make sure the millions of consumers who buy its flagships don't run into problems after installing such an update, which is why it takes its time to polish things up.

But one can also argue those reasons don't hold up to scrutiny, as these updates still manage to have issues despite all the time in the oven and after Samsung running a beta test program for end users. And hey, I don't actually mind the delay in official updates as much as I mind the fact that Android P, the next version of the OS, will be made available as a beta for some non-Google phones while us Samsung users — Galaxy S9 and S9+ owners in particular — will most likely have to wait till the end of this year for getting the chance to test Android P.

Android P beta will come to more than just Google smartphones

And it's not like the phones on the Android P beta list are all running stock Android; there are even Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo devices on the list. It's possible the Android P beta will initially be vanilla Android just to give users a taste of what it has to offer, something Samsung cannot partake in as there's no way it will let people try out stock Android on its devices. The company will also need time to implement its custom skin and features, but at this point in time, it's hard for me to care about the reasons why such an early trial run of the next version of Android would be impossible for a Samsung device.

Frankly, Samsung needs to do better. Android helped Samsung reach where it is today in the smartphone industry, and Samsung lend an even bigger hand to the OS to help it become the world's most widely used mobile operating system. It should ideally be working alongside Google to make sure updates come out faster, or at the very least start dedicating some resources to bringing beta versions of the next major Android release much ahead of what the case is right now. I know many new features are often available on Samsung devices before Google thinks of implementing them on vanilla Android.

In fact, Google says it's Project Treble that's making it possible for these OEMs to release the Android P beta so quickly, and it would be a very nice gesture if Samsung can also get down to business and pick up its pace. Maybe the official Android P update for the Galaxy S9 will make its way to users soon after Google releases the final version for its own devices, but unless we see concrete evidence about Samsung putting Project Treble to good use, it's hard for me to believe things will be much different for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+.

What do you think? Should Samsung finally be pulling its act together now that other OEMs have gone as far as saying they will be letting their customers test the next version of Google's mobile OS, or are you okay with the state of affairs as long as Project Treble ensures the Galaxy S9's first major update doesn't take very long to arrive? Sound off in the comments!

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