One UI, Samsung’s custom user interface for Galaxy devices, gets a couple of version upgrades each year. There’s the major update that accompanies each new version of Android and introduces various design and UX changes along with new software features. There are also two minor version updates that accompany Samsung’s new flagship devices in the first and second half of the year respectively.
One UI 3.5 is set to be the next such minor update. Samsung is gearing up to launch two new foldable smartphones for the second half of 2021 and a Fan Edition variant of the Galaxy S21, and One UI 3.5 is likely to be preloaded on these devices out of the box if history is any guide (One UI 2.5 was introduced with Samsung’s flagship devices launched in H2 2020, while One UI 1.5 hitched a ride on flagship Galaxies launched in H2 2019).
One UI 3.5 design and enhancements
One UI 3.5 isn’t expected to bring any changes to the user interface, as those are reserved for major One UI updates (the next big one is One UI 4.0, coming with Android 12). That said, since One UI 3.5 is still a few months away, it cannot be said for certain if Samsung will stick to its usual routine.
One UI 3.5 features
What new features One UI 3.5 will introduce is another mystery at this time. However, expect to see plenty of new camera features being part of the package, as is the norm. These camera features will debut on the new flagship phones (the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, and Galaxy S21 FE; no new Note is coming this year, for those wondering) and will later arrive on existing Galaxy flagships like the Galaxy S21 series. Some of them may also make their way to mid-range and budget phones.
We can also expect Samsung to further its partnership with Google, possibly preloading more of the latter’s apps on devices that launch running One UI 3.5. One UI 3.1, for example, introduced support for Google Discover on the home screen and made Google Messages the default SMS app. With Samsung moving from Tizen to Wear OS for its next smartwatch, perhaps the Wear OS app will be one of the new Google apps that come installed out of the box? We will have to wait and see.
One UI 3.5 release
One UI 3.5 is expected to arrive with Samsung’s new flagship devices in the second half of this year, as mentioned earlier. As for eligible devices, the list should be pretty long thanks to Samsung’s commitment to long-term software updates. Eligible devices should include most Galaxy devices that are running Android 11 and One UI 3.1. However, devices that are also eligible for an update to Android 12 may not get One UI 3.5. Samsung will probably upgrade some of those devices directly to One UI 4.0, which is expected to arrive a few short months after version 3.5.