After teasing about its upcoming beta program a few weeks ago, Samsung has officially opened up registration for Galaxy S21 series users to get early access and try out the One UI 4.0 beta based on Android 12. This year’s release is earlier than usual, as the stable release of Android 12 isn’t even out yet. In comparison, Samsung’s 3.0 beta last year got rolled out a month after the debut of Android 11.
The One UI 4 Beta Program is open to Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra users in China, India, Germany, Poland, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S. with varying release dates. Eligible users can sign up to preview the OS using the Samsung Members app and use some of the latest features being developed for the final version, including more customisable and transparent data settings.
Samsung says they’ll use the data from the beta program to fine-tune the final release coming later this year. Interestingly, the beta registration is being pushed out on the same day as Apple’s event, which is expected to launch this year’s iPhone.
One UI is the company’s custom Android skin, which looks markedly different from vanilla Android. Google’s upcoming version uses a new design theme called Material You, which is a major design revamp from previous versions of the OS. Seeing as Material You is a fundamental part of Android 12, it’ll be interesting to see how Samsung will integrate the AI theming into One UI’s aesthetics.
Samsung does say that 4.0 will have theming options that span from home screens, icons, notifications, wallpapers, and more, in addition to customisable widgets. From the pictures shown of the beta, it seems Samsung phones will be getting the microphone and camera indicators from Android 12 that show when these components are turned on. And of course, users will have even more customisation options in the AR Emoji Studio.
Coincidentally, a recent rumour based on internal Google documents suggests that the tech giant might be planning to officially release Android 12 for Pixel phones on 4 October, less than three weeks from now. Last year, One UI 3.0 was pushed out to Galaxy S20 phones a month after its public beta, so Samsung users who won’t be joining the beta programme might not have to wait that long for this year’s rollout.