Samsung has announced the availability of a public beta of Android 12 for Galaxy S21 devices, just a few weeks before the final OS is expected to become officially available on Pixel phones. Samsung boasts that it is releasing these betas sooner each year, but it is only by a week or two this year compared to 2020.
The beta programme will open for registration on September 14th, the same day the iPhone 13 is introduced. To experience it, users must register via the Samsung Members app — and if Samsung follows prior practise, the number of available slots will be limited. It is now only available in the United States.
Launch of the One UI 4 Beta
As per Samsung press release the One UI 4 Beta Program enables customers to preview improved features of One UI 4 prior to its official release. In select markets2, users of the Samsung Galaxy S21 series1 can register for the beta programme using the Samsung Members app on their devices. Participants will get the opportunity to preview the new One UI 4 design and features3 and provide comments. Samsung further stated that they will take feedback from the beta program to fine-tune the One UI 4 user experience prior to releasing a final, optimised version later this year.
We don’t yet know how much of Google’s design language Samsung intends to apply on the Galaxy S21. One UI already included a plethora of theming possibilities and Samsung’s store was brimming with more items consumers could purchase (though most are fairly garish). Indeed, Samsung’s list of what’s new in One UI 4 includes the phrase “theme options.” Samsung’s official list is as follows:
- A plethora of theme options allow you to customise the look and functionality of your device, including the home screen, icons, notifications, and wallpapers.
- Widgets that have been redesigned and enhanced now allow for extensive customization — from visibility to look.
- Additionally, you gain simple access to a more rich and diversified collection of emojis in one location.
Samsung is also implementing Android 12’s visual indicators for microphone and camera usage. Additionally, it will provide toggles for totally deactivating those sensors.
New widgets will also be welcomed, as the most of them across the majority of Android versions have grown to seem a little dated. As seen at the top of this piece, Samsung’s widgets appear to be tidy and feature large rounded corners. They do not, however, go as far as Google’s new widgets.
As Google develops a stronger opinion about how Android should look on its Pixel phones through Material You, a critical question will be whether those opinions translate well to non-Google phones. Samsung has been going in a very consistent aesthetic direction for some years, but it has been one that incorporates more white space and larger typefaces than Google’s latest designs. Samsung is, however, adopting some of the larger, bubbly rounder corners for notifications.