Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 9 are set to receive One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie in January 2019, the company announced at the Samsung Developer Conference (SDC 2018) in San Francisco, California on Wednesday. The company made the new announcement alongside unveiling its anticipated foldable smartphone form factor that is based on Infinity Flex Display and uses One UI to offer a tablet-like experience when unfolded. An open beta programme for the One UI will be available initially in the US, Germany, and South Korea later this month, followed by other countries in Europe and Asia.
"We will be releasing One UI for the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9+, and the Note 9 starting January next year," said Jee Won Lee, Senior Designer of UX Design, Samsung, during the SDC 2018 keynote on Wednesday.
In comparison with Samsung Experience UX that often requires two hands to operate the hardware, Samsung claims that One UI is built for "more natural and comfortable" one-handed use cases. The UX Design team at the company has been working on the new experience for the past year, and the prime target is to make the interface less cluttered. While the current Samsung Experience UX that is available across all the latest Galaxy models focuses on offering a range of new features to users, the company said that the new interface was aimed to offer a comfortable intuitive UX. The interface essentially works with the existing hardware that has rounded corners and thin-bezel Infinity Display panels. Also, it is designed to power the next-generation form factors, including foldable smartphones that will come with the company's Infinity Flex Display panels.
To bring one-handed use at the forefront, Samsung has transformed the upper part of the screen for viewing, while its lower part is designed for touch interaction. Lee showcased that the options on the Settings menu have been rearranged on the One UI to provide relative functions together. The company also regrouped various functions to remove the clutter and make the interface looks more clean and natural over the existing experience.
"With One UI, now you see only the essential features related to the task you are carrying out. It's a continuous and fluid experience where the necessary buttons appear when you need them and gently disappear when you don't," elaborated Lee during her keynote presentation.
Among other changes, the Phone app has a dynamic interface that disappears the search bar and menu tabs when you dial a number. "That's because we know the user plans to make a call the smartphone controls blend into the blank area of the screen, but they're still there when you need them now," said Lee.
Tabs on apps such as the Clock app have also been moved from the top to the bottom to make them easily accessible with a thumb. Similarly, pop-ups that are essentially to ask for user permissions appear at the bottom of the screen instead of the centre part of the screen. Samsung also applied the night mode that is already a part of its Internet app across the One UI to make it easier for users to view content in a dark environment. Some Android Pie gestures are also likely to be a part of the One UI.
Having said that, we need to wait until the debut of the One UI open beta to see what all the key changes Samsung has provided to end users.