Samsung is finally bringing Android Oreo to Galaxy devices via a beta version of its Samsung Experience software.
Samsung Experience — known as TouchWiz until last year — is basically Samsung’s “skinned” version of Android, with tweaks and alterations baked in for Galaxy-branded devices. The new Samsung Experience 9.0 beta version of Android is open from today in the U.S. for Galaxy S8 and S8+ customers on Sprint or T-Mobile networks, as well as those with unlocked phones. In addition, people in the U.K. with unlocked devices and those in Samsung’s native South Korea locked to SKT, KT, or LG U+ networks will also be able to apply for early access.
As with all Samsung Experience beta programs, only some users will be able to access the Oreo-based update — you must have a Samsung account and apply via the Samsung Plus app in the U.S. or Samsung Members app elsewhere.
Google first unveiled Oreo back in August when it rolled out the eighth major version of Android to its own Nexus and Pixel phone lineup. Last month, we reported that Oreo had hit just 0.2 percent adoption rate, which — to be fair — wasn’t hugely surprising given Oreo’s limited availability. Plus, the company’s latest flagship Pixel 2 phones had yet to go to market. However, Google is already rolling out Android 8.1 Oreo in developer preview, and the fact that Samsung — one of Android’s biggest adopters in the smartphone realm — is only just beginning to flirt with Oreo now will do little to quell criticism that Android updates arrive too slowly.
Given that this is a beta program, those who elect to upgrade can likely expect some bugs, but that is why Samsung is opening early access — it wants feedback on performance and usability from its early adopters.
Samsung hasn’t given any indication as to how long the beta phase will last or when the general public can expect to receive the update.