OneUI 5 and Android 13 Tiramisu
Samsung recently made the OneUI 5.0 beta available. Based on Android 13 Tiramisu, this is a very forgettable release. Base Android T upgrades are kept to a minimum while regressions remain prevalent. I can talk about the very welcome idea of asking users before apps shower us of ads under the covert of "notifications" but this will surely only be a matter of introducing more developers to "dark-patterns 101", AKA the discipline of steering users to select an option preferred by the developer via UI/UX design. Think about those cookie pop-ups, where the option to let websites track and monetise you very easy to locate and select, while refusing is hidden under more screens or even behind a paywall.
I wish I could go on about base Android 13 T but there is noting else, apart for the ongoing push to limit media and files selection even further, à la iOS. So, let's talk about OneUI 5.
There's only one problem hampering this discussion about OneUI 5. There is nothing major or worthwhile to glance at. All the changes listed online would feel at home in a minor x.1 release (or more appropriately, x.2). Some things are simply an exercise in shuffling features around, like the OCR option being un-bundled from Bixby Vision or one of Samsung's OCR Reader apps. Then, we have features that either make their return after being subject to a previous release's wave of regressions or that should've been there ages ago. I'm talking about the pop-up view gesture that was there nearly a decade ago but was removed in Oreo or Pie, or the histogram in Pro mode.
And the rest is pretty much overloading the OS with Emoji options, some who strike me as particularly cringe-worthy, like coupling two emojis to make a video with dances and poses, or AR Emoji stickers, which sounds like a sure-fire way to make me barf. They're really going all-in on this, even including the Internet-favourite trend of Japanese glyph misuse.
Perhaps the only good news is that you can finally disable the frankly useless swap file Samsung introduced as "RAM Plus". Remember that smartphone NAND cannot be replaced and that a swap file is not only excruciatingly slow but also implies a lot of small write operations. Knowing that the block size can be obscenely huge (eg. 8KB), this could cause your smartphone's storage to prematurely fail.
Of course, if you think I'm being too harsh on Samsung, you can see for yourself the changelog here.
So, I suppose the next thing you'll be interested about is...
| OneUI 5 Beta
...but don't expect anything. I unfortunately have precious little time (unlike what I expected last week, I'll post an update on this soon) and have to balance my duties wisely to shelter myself from dementia. Hmm, perhaps that's a bit much but the fact of the matter is that OneUI 5 is not worthwhile. Not worthwhile for me to hunt for and maintain the files online, not worthwhile for you to backup your data, flash the beta and deal with the bugs and re-installation, if applicable.
It seems this year is not a good one for operating systems. On the mobile space, there is nothing of interest. On desktops, Windows 11 has under performed to the point Microsoft is considering to revert back to the more pragmatic 3 years release cycle for new OSes, which might actually be great news. Yearly releases are a fairly inane idea, where developers have to keep up with APIs regressing at a frantic pace and OEMs must debug everything and hire even more UI/UX designers to remodel Android and their apps every single year, all for little to no benefit. Perhaps this warrants another in-depth discussion of its own but if you can name a truly worthwhile change introduced in Android 11-13 or OneUI 3-5 that isn't reintroducing an old feature, do let me know. I cannot.
The good news might be that, since it is a release devoid of any substance, it might be released in stable channels in a timely fashion, well before the year comes to an end. The bad news is that one of your precious few Android OS upgrades promised by your OEM of choice was wasted.