Update #3: Samsung has now released the stable Android Pie build for the Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+. It has sent out the update ahead of schedule, not that anyone's complaining.
Update #2: Samsung has launched the One UI (Android Pie) beta program for the Galaxy S9. Click here for our hands-on with One UI for the Galaxy S9. It has confirmed that the Android 9 Pie update will be released for the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9/S9+ in January 2019.
Original story follows:
Ever since Google detailed Android Pie at its I/O 2018 developers' conference earlier this month, we have received a lot of queries about the Samsung Galaxy Android 9.0 update release roadmap. As expected, Samsung hasn't said anything right now about when we can expect the Android Pie update for Galaxy smartphones. It hasn't even responded to calls for an explanation about why the Galaxy S9 hasn't been included in the Android Pie public beta program. However, based on our experience of mapping Samsung updates, we can make a preliminary estimate.
The Samsung Galaxy Android 9.0 update release list below mentions all of the handsets that will most certainly receive this update in due course and those that won't be upgraded to Android P. We say “certainly” based on our opinion and not on official statements from Samsung because there have been none so far with regard to the Android Pie update for Galaxy smartphones. The list below might change over the next few months if it's updated based on any new information that comes in by that time.
Update #1: Android 9.0 screenshots for Galaxy S9 have been leaked. Samsung is currently testing the Android Pie update for the Galaxy S9 in all markets.
Possible Samsung Galaxy Android 9.0 update release roadmap
- Galaxy S9: First in line for the Android Pie update
- Galaxy S9+: Idem (as above)
- Galaxy Note 9
- Galaxy S8: Second in line
- Galaxy S8+: Idem
- Galaxy Note 8: Idem
- Galaxy A8 (2018): Idem
- Galaxy A6 (2018): First in line for the Android Pie update
- Galaxy A6+ (2018): Idem
- Galaxy J6 (2018): Idem
- Galaxy Tab S3: Second in line
- Galaxy J7 (2017) (Since J7 (2016) received two major updates)
Samsung Galaxy handsets that won't get Android Pie
- Galaxy S7: Already received two major Android updates
- Galaxy S7 Edge: Idem (as above)
- Galaxy A5 (2017): Idem
- Galaxy A3 (2017): Idem
- Galaxy J5 (2017): Idem
- Galaxy A5 (2017): Already received two major Android updates
- Galaxy A7 (2017): Already received two major Android updates
- Galaxy Xcover 4: Xcover devices don't often get major Android updates
Samsung Galaxy Android 9.0 update release timeframe
As it stands in May 2018, it's still early to speculate precisely when Samsung will release Android Pie for compatible devices. Some of its devices can run the beta version but Samsung's handsets aren't supported in Google's Android Pie public beta program. Google will likely release Android Pie officially this fall and it's only after that will we get a better idea of how soon Samsung might release Android Pie for its handsets.
Whether or not the support for Google's Project Treble on the Galaxy S9 will make a difference remains to be seen. The project is meant to ensure the swift arrival of Android updates so many will be interested to see if that translates into a faster Android P rollout for the Galaxy S9 as well.
New Android Pie features
Android 9.0 Pie brings a few substantial innovations to the Android operating system. It brings a new gesture-based navigation system, leverages machine learning to reduce energy consumption and stricter privacy guidelines for apps. It will be interesting to see how the user interface changes particularly translate to Samsung's Galaxy handsets when they're fused with the company's custom skin known as Samsung Experience.
That will only become clear once Samsung launches the Android P beta program for the Galaxy S9. If history is any indication, that's probably going to happen towards the end of this year.
The estimates that we have made above are in line with what has transpired over the past couple of years. Samsung has traditionally released two major Android updates for its Galaxy S, A and Note series. The Galaxy S9 will be first in line for Android Pie as it arrives with Android O (Oreo) and is now due to receive at least two major updates. The Galaxy Note 9 will be running Oreo as well but much like the Galaxy Note 8, it will receive Android Pie only after it has been released for the Galaxy S flagship.
The Galaxy S8 and Note 8 were launched with Android N (Nougat) and both have recently been updated to Android Oreo. Android Pie will be their second major platform update and most likely the last. The Galaxy A8 is yet to be updated to Android O and that makes Android Pie its second major update.
Samsung has only released one Android platform update for devices in the J series – except for the Galaxy J3 (2016) which did not even get one. Devices like the Galaxy S7 that are already two generations old will get their final platform update to Oreo in the near future.
This might change if Samsung decides to shake up its update policy between now and next year. For example, if it makes a decision to release platform updates for popular handsets for at least three years after they're launched. There's no indication as yet of that happening but if it does, we'll be the first ones to let you know.