Samsung earned a bad reputation for being slow in Android updates, whether the main or even the monthly security fixes. This, however, may be a thing of the past and has turned a new page, committing itself to three years of updates starting with this year’s flagships. Continuing this new tradition, Samsung has just expanded the reach of its One UI 3.0 beta, which brings Android 11 to more phones, including last year’s Galaxy Note 10.
Samsung opened its One UI 3.0 beta program with this year’s flagships, starting with the Galaxy S20 and later including the Galaxy Note 20 series, as expected. In the past, it would take months after Google released a new version of Android before Samsung even launched its beta program, usually around December and January. The early start is already a big change in behavior, but Samsung is offering even more.
Samsung South Korea has announced that the Android 11 update will soon arrive on its 2020 foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G, as well as last year’s Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series. It didn’t take long for Samsung to actually start releasing the beta version of the Galaxy Note 10 pair. To be clear, this only covers Korean models and the beta program for these phones has not yet started in the US.
Compared to One UI 2.0, this next iteration is more incremental than revolutionary. Most of the changes focus on polishing the UI, although it does include some new features, like double-tapping the screen to sleep. The full list of phones compatible with One UI 3.0 is not yet final, but it covers a wide range of Galaxy S, Galaxy A and even some Galaxy M devices from 2019 to the present.
Samsung’s expansion of its One UI 3.0 beta program comes at a time when OnePlus is suffering backlash against its own upgrade strategy for the new Nord series of midsize phones. As if going to the opposite extreme, OnePlus decided that it will only update these phones once when it comes to major Android updates, making them look more like cheap, disposable phones.