Samsung is shipping Android 12 on its flagship phone in record time. The OS for Pixel phones shipped a little less than a month ago, and already today, Samsung is rolling out the Android 12 update for the flagship Galaxy S21 Chain.
Samsung’s version of Android 12 is called “One UI 4” and is heavily skinned. It replaces all of the Google stuff you designed in the new OS with Samsung’s own version. The most striking feature of Material You is that you can color-match your UI with your wallpaper, which is not saved in Samsung’s skin. You can manually “choose a color palette” via the UI to make the material look like you, but the color isn’t applied in as many places as Google’s UI. Mostly it seems to color the buttons and switches.
With no new UI, you are getting most of the basic changes and features. Android 12 privacy indicators made the cut, showing a green indicator in the upper-left corner any time the camera or microphone is activated. Samsung also has its own take on the Android 12 privacy dashboard. Most of the changes appear to be Samsung revealing its own Android skin, however, with features such as Samsung-specific apps such as Bixby and Samsung Calendar, new emoji and changes to Samsung’s custom share sheet and lock screen.
This is the fastest Samsung update ever, and it looks like the mystery is already beginning. Android 11 shipped in early September 2020, but Samsung didn’t ship a beta of Android 11 until late October. For Android 12, Samsung was actually shipping a beta ahead of Google’s final OS release, with the first beta build of One UI 4 landing on September 25.
Of course, the S21 series isn’t the only phone line that is getting the Android 12 update. The fine print in Samsung’s press release says: “At a later date the update will also be available on Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, S20 FE, Note20, Note20 Ultra, S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G, Note10, Note 10.” +, Galaxy Fold, Z Fold3, Z Flip3, Z Fold 2, Z Flip, Z Flip 5G, Galaxy A82 5G, A72, A52, A52 5G, A52S 5G, A42 5G, and Galaxy Tab S7 and Tab S7+.” If you bought your Samsung phone from a carrier, there’s a good chance that the release date will be delayed a bit as well.