Android, as we have seen on many smartphones (Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi to name a few) is a mobile operating system based on a simpler operating system kernel called Linux. It is then coupled with a range of other open source software to expand its functionalities and make it more useful. Almost every smartphone manufacturer that we have heard of today that isn't Apple is currently using this operating system in their devices.
Originally developed by a consortium of companies, it is spearheaded by Google with companies like Samsung, LG Electronics, HTC and many others joining in. It aims to create an open platform for the numerous players in the industry to adopt a common ground for which to create new handsets.
Android is free and open-sourced in nature, and manufacturers can freely adopt Android in any form with their own modifications albeit a few restrictions by Google if manufacturers choose to use Google's suite of services and the Android trademark.
Samsung’s One UI is Samsung’s take on the Android operating system as each manufacturer is free to adjust or remove features as they see fit to the benefit of their users. In their own words, One UI’s aim is meant bridge the seams between hardware and software so they “work together in perfect harmony”.
It’s worthwhile to note that the update revisions on One UI do not correlate to the major updates that the Android operating system has as a whole. Currently Samsung One UI 3.0 will come with Android 11 with its new sets of features.
You can expect to see a wide range of new features and optimizations going into One UI 3.0, as Samsung mainly focused on improving the user experience of the software. The layout is optimized where most of the user elements that the user will most likely press and interact with is positioned in the middle of the screen. All in all it helps to make larger display phones much easier to use than if it wasn't optimized for that. Imagine constantly having to reach your thumb to the top of your screen, sometimes resorting to holding your phone in one hand and using it with the other hand.
One thing that I would like to highlight is the gesture navigation option introduced in Android 10 and subsequently brought into Samsung smartphones with One UI 2.5. Using gesture navigations, it by default would replace the bottom black bar of what was the navigation bar with a small line that only occupies a fraction of the original bar.
Doing so frees up a good deal of screen space for a more immersive experience. Whenever in full screen videos or playing games in general, the pesky navigation bar will be hidden. Not only that, it feels more refreshing and less confined when you are in the home screen too.
Gesture navigations seems tedious to learn at first as you have to unlearn the muscle memory from button presses that you have gotten used to for so long. Still, I find that using gestures for going to Home or the Recent Apps drawer feels a lot more natural and fluid to use. In One UI 3.0, you can even remap sliding from edge for Back resulting in easier navigation as you don't even need to reach the bottom of your phone.
One added feature in One UI 3.0 is enabling the double tap to sleep, where if you double tap anywhere empty on the home page your device will lock and turn off the display, negating the need to physically press the power button. This can take off some of your qualms when worrying about pressing the power button too much. You can enable it by: Settings -> Advanced features -> Motions and gestures -> enable Double tap to sleep
Another neat feature introduced in One UI 3.0 is the viewing of your device notification history. If whenever your status bar gets cluttered with unwanted notifications and you happen to clear all of it along with 1 important notification, you can now view the dismissed notification from the last day. You would need to enable the feature in the settings for this function.
They also worked on streamlining the share UI so that it doesn’t recommend all the apps that may not even be compatible to share the file with. So it’s just a clean layout with only 1 row of suggested apps and then another row for the people you shared with the most.
Building on the improved usability of One UI 2.5, the new One UI 3.0 seems to be a great quality of life update to Samsung devices. Hopefully Samsung can continue providing better software support, when ironically OnePlus who was popular for timely and long term software support has faltered. You can check when your device will receive the software update here. Keep in mind that Samsung does not push a software update globally to a device model at once, it varies by region.