Coming sooner than usual this year
Samsung has not only set the high mark with its software update commitments, but it also manages to get Android updates out to its devices faster than almost anyone else. While nobody’s going to be dropping updates on day one with Pixel phones, the gap has reduced noticeably, especially compared to its TouchWiz days. Before Samsung delivers a significant new Android and One UI release, we tend to see a few months of testing, and for One UI 4 with Android 12 last year, Samsung started its beta program in September. The company reportedly intends to do even better this year, and could release the first Android 13-based One UI 5 beta by July.
The tentative timeline comes from SamMobile sources, who note that while the target right now is July, there could still be delays. While there’s no word about an ETA for the eventual public release, an early beta program could allow Samsung to get that ready significantly earlier than usual. For reference, last year the One UI 4 beta program was announced in September, followed by the public release in mid-November.
Google got us started with Android 13 back in February as a developer preview. The first public beta for Pixel phones should drop later this month, with the OS reaching platform stability in July, and the final release coming sometimes thereafter. It took Google a little longer than expected last year to release Android 12, and it’s entirely possible we could see it doing something similar this time around. That might further allow Samsung to reduce the gap between Android 13’s public release for Pixel phones and its own releases for Galaxy devices.
The Android 13 timetable also means that the Korean company’s upcoming foldables — the Fold4 and Flip4 — will not launch with One UI 5. Instead, this report claims they’ll likely run the Android 12L-based One UI 4.1.1 with foldable-specific enhancement in tow. This shouldn’t be surprising since this is exactly what happened last year, too — the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Flip3 launched with Android 11-based One UI 3.1.1 and were updated to Android 12 a few months later.
Going by Samsung’s track record, the One UI 5/Android 13 open beta should first be available for the Galaxy S22 series. The program will probably slowly expand across regions and to more devices in the following months.
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