Google previews Android 8.1 upgrade

Alex Dobie

Alex Dobie

Android's Beta Program at the moment is only compatible with Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel C, Pixel XL, Pixel, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

Google released an early version of the mobile operating system Android 8.1 Oreo.

Google has made a developer preview version of Android 8.1 Oreo available to download on Pixel and select Nexus devices, before the full public version launches in December.

"Notification Dot is a new way for developers to indicate that there's an activity in the app", said Dave Burke, vice president of Android Engineering. New additions include optimisation for Android Go devices, with 1 GB of memory or less, and a neural networks API to bring on-device machine learning to Android.

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Android Oreo 8.1 also brings the Bluetooth battery level.

It may be mentioned that most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG and Huawei are yet to release the Android 8.0 Oreo update to its flagships and popular devices.

It is likely that the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus and the new Galaxy Note 8 will be among the first mobile devices to update to Android 8.0 Oreo. It can also be downloaded and flashed to your device or loaded through the Android emulator. I did find it somewhat confusing that some notifications triggered an alert while others didn't, though in retrospect this seems to actually a feature and not a bug.

Other enhancements in the OS upgrade include easier autofill for saving passwords and other form data and a shared memory API to let apps allocate shared memory for faster access to common data. The second preview will be released in November and offer "near-final system images for final testing", with the final release to follow during or after December.

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