Opinion

Galaxy Note 9 and Android 9.0 P update: How long will we have to wait?

No, we don’t actually know how soon the Android 9.0 P update will arrive on the Galaxy Note 9. But as someone who’s been getting extremely impatient about getting a Note 9 in my hands, I’ve come to realize that there’s one area where Samsung will probably fall behind once again, and that’s software updates. Not regular software updates, but major ones, like Android 9.0, which Google will officially release sometime in the next two months.

How soon will the Galaxy Note 9 get Android 9.0?

One thing is clear: The Galaxy S9, as Samsung’s mainstream flagship, will be updated to Android 9.0 before the Galaxy Note 9. This has always been the case for major OS upgrades, despite the Galaxy Note flagships commanding higher price tags. But that’s not a huge problem as a major update for a Note device arrives not long after the Galaxy S flagship from that year. The problem is a generic one: Samsung still takes too long to roll out big updates to its flagships.

And it makes sense as well. With the millions of devices the Korean giant sells, testing has to take longer in order to make sure things work properly once the consumers have installed the update. Of course, as 2018 has shown, all that time in the oven and more expansive beta testing hasn’t exactly helped Samsung release problem-free Oreo updates to most of its devices. But it’s still acceptable that Samsung takes the time it takes to release new versions of Android.

Well, it was acceptable. It may not be so anymore, now that Project Treble has entered the scene.

Project Treble may do wonders… or it may not

What is Project Treble? The simple version is that it is designed to make it easier and faster for OEMs to release software updates. And it has already been put to use by some companies, with Android 9.0 betas available for some non-Google devices. Those are mostly devices that run stock Android, but that doesn’t change the fact that those devices may quickly get the stable Android 9.0 update later this year. With Samsung’s phones, we don’t yet know if Project Treble will actually help.

The Galaxy Note 9, for all the awesomeness it will be packed with (big battery, more storage, more feature-packed S Pen, stereo speakers, and possibly better performance), may end up being just as disappointing as any other device before it as far as software updates are concerned. I’ll still be getting one, despite knowing that I might have to use Android 8.0 Oreo for months after Android 9.0 is released by Google. But it would be great if Samsung can increase its pace and bring us Android P ahead of the usual schedule, both on the Note 9 and on the Galaxy S9.

Does Samsung’s software update policy make a difference to whether or not you buy one of its flagships?

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