- The Verizon Galaxy S20 version will be the first to get the Android 11 and One UI 3.0 upgrade.
- Samsung plans to roll out Android 11 to other Galaxy S20 version soon, with other 2020 and 2019 flagships to be upgraded in the months to come.
- Several mid-range Galaxy devices will also receive the Android 11 update next year, once the rollout for the high-end handsets is complete.
As it happens with every new Android release from Google, it’s the Pixel phones that got Android 11 first a few months ago. Many smartphone vendors have improved their Android release schedules significantly, in the past few years, with many of them supporting Android betas right alongside Pixel phones. Samsung has never been at the forefront of Android releases, lagging well behind some of its rivals. This year, the Korean giant is finally doing things differently. Samsung has already committed to upgrading many Android devices to Android 11, not just the Galaxy S20, Note 20, and other flagships. And Samsung will provide several years of software support to many of these handsets. What’s more exciting is that Samsung is ready to start rolling out Android 11 right now, in early December. While it all starts with the Galaxy S20, this is a much faster rollout than in other years. However, most Galaxy S20 users might have to wait a while to get their upgrades, as Verizon Galaxy S20 owners are treated first to Android 11 and the new One UI 3.0.
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As with other major Android updates, Samsung is placing its own user interface atop Android 11. You’ll still get the main features that Google built into Android 11, but with Samsung’s One UI on top. That’s the new user interface that Samsung unveiled a few years ago when it announced to the world plans to release its first-ever foldable handset. Samsung has been testing One UI 3.0 for the past few months, as it’s customary for every major Android release.
Some of the Android 11 highlights include better privacy features, a new conversation mode that makes it a lot easier to stay in touch with your favorite contacts, especially during the pandemic. Messaging improvements include the new floating bubbles that work just like Facebook’s Chat Heads. The new OS also supports simpler notifications, including the kind of silent notifications you’d prefer from some apps. Samsung is packing all those features inside the new One UI, adding a few customizations of its own. One UI 3.0 includes a new app drawer, additional content for the always-on display, a double-tap to lock the phone, a new long-press menu, and faster access to widgets. Android Police has a great roundup of One UI 3.0 features.
Verizon announced on Tuesday that all the Galaxy S20 versions it sells would get the Android 11 update in the US, but other versions should follow soon, both in the US and other countries.
Samsung plans to update additional handsets to Android 11 and One UI 3.0, including the Galaxy Note 20, Z Fold, S10, and Note 10. Following the release on flagship phones, Samsung will update mid-range Galaxy handsets next year, but users will have to wait several months to get that Android 11 update notification.