Google released Android 11 a few months ago, but the software has only been available on a small number of phones thus far. That’s changing with news that Samsung has started the Android 11 rollout with the Verizon Galaxy S20 family. Not only does this include the Googley Android 11 enhancements, but it also has numerous Samsung-specific changes as part of the One UI 3.0 revamp.
Android is a more mature platform these days in more ways than one. Android 11 is the “R” release of the platform, but it’s the second to come without a dessert-themed codename. The feature set also changes much less from one version to the next. Many of the changes are deeper optimizations, security enhancements, and developer tools. There are still a few new features Galaxy S20 users will see after the Android 11 update, though.
As with most Android 11 phones, the S20 Android 11 update will add a new Conversations section to the notification shade. There, you’ll see all your messaging app alerts separated from email, smart home, and other app notifications. The notification shade will also have a persistent notification at the top for media playback. This space can hold several simultaneous media notifications so you can quickly access content from different places. Samsung also included Google’s notification bubbles in the update, which is like Facebook Chatheads for any messaging app.
Samsung’s One UI software experience looks similar to the v2.5, but the theme is a bit lighter throughout, and it adopts a frosted glass effect in several places that looks quite a bit like iOS. Samsung also made numerous changes to its custom features like Video Enhancer, Bixby Routines, the lock screen, and so on.
For those on Verizon, the update should be live now. This is much faster than Samsung’s update timeline in years past. Google’s OS improvements like Treble and Mainline have made updates easier to develop, and Samsung has stepped up its software support as a way to differentiate itself from other smartphone makers. Currently, only Google (and sometimes OnePlus) can get updates out the door faster than Samsung.
With Verizon’s update approved, we expect it won’t be long until other carriers give the okay. Once the carriers have all approved the update, Samsung will release the unlocked update. Yes, that’s not the way most OEMs do it, but Samsung users will probably still get Android 11 on their unlocked phones quicker than anyone with an LG or Motorola phone.
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