South Korean tech giant Samsung is rolling out a One UI 4 public beta update, which is based on Android 12. It will be available for Galaxy S21 devices.
As per The Verge, this comes just a few weeks ahead of when we expect the final OS to be officially available for the first time on Pixel phones.
Samsung is touting that it is managing to get these betas out earlier every year, though this year it's only by a week or two compared to 2020.
Registration for the beta program will begin today, the same day the iPhone 13 will be announced. Users will need to register in the Samsung Members app to try it -- and if Samsung repeats the past, the number of open slots will be limited. It's only available in the US as of now.
The beta is actually for Samsung's One UI 4, its version of Android. That distinction is important because one of the major changes in Android 12 is how different it looks. On a Pixel phone, all the buttons are big and the colours change dynamically based on your wallpaper, a style Google's calling "Material You."
On a Galaxy S21 phone, we don't yet know exactly how much of Google's design language Samsung intends to use. One UI already had lots of theming options -- and Samsung's store was chock full of more users could buy (though most are fairly garish).
Sure enough, Samsungs rundown of what's new in One UI 4 specifically calls out "theme options." Here is Samsung's official list:
1. A wealth of theme options let you adjust the look and functionality of your device, giving you tools to configure your home screen, icons, notifications, wallpapers and much more.
2. Redesigned, upgraded widgets offer deep customization -- from visibility to appearance.
3. You also get convenient access to a more robust and diverse array of emojis all in one place
Samsung also is adopting Android 12's visual indicators for when the microphone and camera are in use. It will also have toggles for turning those sensors off completely.
New widgets will also be welcome -- most of them across most versions of Android have begun feeling a little antiquated.