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What is Samsung One UI and how will it change Galaxy phones?

Samsung’s first foldable smartphone got all the attention at its SDC 2018 developer conference, but the company made some other interesting announcements during the show, including something it called One UI.

It’s basically Samsung’s new skin overlay for its Android smartphones.

We’ll need a deeper dive before knowing all the little differences in One UI compared to its predecessor, but here’s what we know so far.

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What is One UI?

Samsung’s new interface design for its mobile devices is One UI. It debuted at SDC 2018. Described as a clean and minimal design, it’ll clear cutter and keep the most relevant content on the bottom part the screen for one-handed use.

What’s new in One UI?

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Natural interactions

From the promo video and various demos at SDC 2018, we spotted changes like rounded corners and redesigned icons. But the main difference between the company’s old user experience and the new one is a greater focus on large-screen phones. With One UI, common interaction areas are at the bottom of half of the screen so you can easily access them with your thumb. Before, you’d have to go to the top to access various features.

Samsung’s bundled apps will have more “viewing area” at the top, bigger header text, and an interaction area at the bottom. Again, this is supposed to make the UI cleaner, easier to use, and more intuitive – especially for those of you navigating on, say, the large-screen Galaxy Note 9.

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Made to focus

Samsung described One UI as the “most user-focused smartphone UX” it’s ever made, and specifically said it was “reengineered to reduce clutter and distractions”. For instance, there is a clearer, system-wide dark mode, as well as a something called “Focus Blocks”, which is supposed to groups things like related settings together on the screen so that they’re easier to see, tap, and access.

How does One UI look and work?

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See our gallery above for some screenshots. There’s also demo video from the SDC 2018 keynote toward the top of this page.

When can you try One UI?

An open beta will roll out starting November 2018 in the US, Germany, and Korea, followed by Europe and Asia.

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Which devices will get One UI?

One UI (and Android 9 Pie, as a result) will officially come to the Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus, and Galaxy Note 9 starting in January 2019.

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