For owners and users of Samsung’s premium smartphones in the country, it must’ve been quite a frustrating last few months seeing reports of smartphones that cost tiny fractions of what their devices with edge-to-edge displays being upgraded to the latest version of Android, version 9.
While we have known for a while that January 2019, in keeping with Samsung’s traditional update lineup, would be the month to keep our eyes on for the said update, one can never really be sure when it comes to Samsung until they have received the update on their devices.
Even worse, over the last few days, we have heard of the update release date being pushed further into February.
As such, it must have come as a pleasant surprise to many Galaxy Note 9 users in Kenya when they started receiving the Android 9 Pie update this week.
Over the last two or so days, the update has been seeding to Galaxy Note 9 units in the country.
Kenya has been identified as one of the 19 countries that are first to receive the update. This is despite users of the device in the country not having been prioritized during the beta testing phase for the said update.
According to screen grabs shared by one of our readers, the update clocks in at just under 1.6GB so if you have the Note 9 and are looking to upgrade to Android Pie, you will either need to find a decent wireless hotspot or stock up on bundles for the process to complete successfully.
Of course, Android Pie arrives on the back of Samsung’s new user interface, One UI.
One UI brings with it several new features to Samsung’s take on Android. While there’s the obvious deserved visual overhaul, users will be glad to note that Samsung was also keen on strict attention to detail by adding some rather small but extremely useful features.
Like, for instance, while it is commonplace to lock one’s home screen when using third-party Android launchers, that hasn’t been the case when using the stock Samsung launcher. That changes with One UI as users get to lock app icons and widgets from moving around, something that was previously limited to accidental touches like, say, when a device is in a handbag or pants pockets.
There’s even more.
With Samsung going all in on biometric features, more so those involving the face, since the Galaxy S8, it has become increasingly irritating that one still needs to press the power button to get a Samsung device to wake and start scanning their face for unlocking. What if that didn’t happen? That’s the case with One UI’s “lift to wake” feature which removes the need to press the power button. Progress.
There’s also another feature that has been available in some apps like Google’s Photos app as well as the default image gallery apps on other devices that Samsung Galaxy devices have been lacking, at least natively, so far: a recycle bin. Yeah, some habits, thanks to using Windows, have been hard to part with. One of those is obviously the need to be able to go back and undo some of our actions. Like deleting photos accidentally, for instance.
In One UI, users have up to 15 days to recover any images they delete from their device’s gallery application by going to the Trash section which is accessible by tapping the three-dot button in the Pictures tab of the Gallery app. While this feature has existed in some form on Samsung devices before, it’s been limited to content synced to Samsung’s cloud service.
Upon opening the gallery app for the first time after updating to Pie, users will be prompted to turn on the trash feature. The same can be done much later from the gallery app’s settings.
As can be seen in the above update notes (see screen grabs), one of One UI’s biggest overhauls is the Samsung keyboard which gets new emoji, themes and a floating mode to make it easy to use anywhere on the Note 9’s huge 6-inch display.
There are also many more changes to the camera, some pleasant and some that will require some getting used to. For instance, it now takes an extra step to start recording videos and “Selfie focus” is now called “Live focus”.
A Galaxy Note 9-specific feature that should be available with this Pie update, and which should delight all the gamers reading this, is Dolby Atmos for gaming which can be found in the sound settings on the device, in addition to the already-existing Dolby Atmos sound setting.
Other One UI features are simply Samsung’s own take of native Android Pie features. Like the rotating shortcut when a device is used in a position/orientation different to that it is locked to (portrait/landscape), Adaptive Brightness, Adaptive Battery, gestures etc.