The wait is finally over. Google has announced Android O, its version number, name and update information. This is not a beta we’re taking about nor a developer preview; it’s the real deal. And as expected, Google made the announcements after the solar eclipse concluded earlier today during a brief livestream event held in New York City, followed by Google’s annual statue unveiling (for each new update) in front of Googleplex on the company’s front lawn.
Over recent months, Google has rolled out a total of four Android Developer Previews. Google’s timeline was as accurate a prediction as they come, concluding with the official release in late August. We’re here now, and the update has begun its roll out process. This means, it won’t be long before Google announces details to a hardware event where Pixel 2 phones, expected to be among the first running the new version of Android, will be announced.
The tech and research giant was ahead of its typical paces all year-long so that manufacturers and developers could prepare the latest update for their devices and/or apps ahead of the today’s release. The idea is to reduce some of the platform’s fragmentation using the preview builds to eliminate bugs and increase the software’s adoption rate by manufacturers and carriers. And this year, Google applying an extra push to its partners to get the update out. Google went as far to confirm that hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo by “the end of this year.” Google also confirmed that the update for carrier variants of Google-made phones such as Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are being actively worked on. With the help of Project Treble, we’re excited about the coming year, as it shouldn’t be long before some of today’s top devices see the update arrive.
Google has now updated its Android.com domain to reflect the latest software build under the Android ‘version’ tab. The system overall has been confirmed as Android 8.0 Oreo. Did you predict it? This comes after Android 7.0 Nougat and though it skips a whole number, the update is more of an under the hood update designed to increase performance efficiency. The tag line is “Open Wonder” and the update is being described as “smarter, faster, secure, more powerful and sweeter than ever.”
Inside Android 8.0 should be a new Oreo Easter egg, replacing the Octopus, which was most likely a code-name. If you’re familiar with what came in the fourth Android O beta release, Google says there aren’t many noticeable additions other than some minor touches and design changes in the public build. Thankfully, we don’t have to write out each and every new feature for you, because Google has been so kind to compose a list and post them to its webpage. Google even lets you test some features on the web using interactive buttons and GIF images. Some big ones include redesigned notifications, performance and battery improvements by further restricting background data, picture-in-picture mode, new adaptive icons, auto-fill, and a redesigned settings menu. See here and here, where we’ve rounded up all the major ones and how to use them. The full list of features can be read at the new Android Oreo webpage here or in the images below.
Google has posted the latest system image files, which we’ll link near the bottom of this article. As a reminder, only compatible Nexus and Pixel owners will be able to flash the new version, and doing so will wipe all device contents. These are the Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and Pixel C tablet. Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 owners are out of luck. It’s not recommended by Google nor us to flash unless you’re familiar with how to code. That’s why there are over-the-air updates for less experienced users. An OTA update will “start rolling out in phases soon” to both regular Pixel and the above mentioned Nexus devices running Android 7.1.2 Nougat with the August security patches. Those presently on the Android O Beta program are being updated over-the-air right now with the public release of Android 8.0 Oreo, and with it they’ll be exited from Google’s pre-release program with no loss of data. Now that the software is out of beta, it’s 100% safe to download and install.
Google is expected to run things similar to last year when it comes to future Android Oreo updates. The software will likely go into a maintenance schedule for the remainder of the year, and there should be a few of them along with continued monthly security patch updates. The first could already be in the works and should polish up the Android Oreo interface and solve any problems reported with version 8.0. It could be Android 8.0.1 and be out as early as next month in the form of an early developer preview, but this is just our speculation. Users can send feedback to Google here.
The best part of being a Pixel or Android Oreo compatible Nexus device owner is now. Unlocked smartphone owners will start to receive the update after Android One handsets, with carrier phone owners coming last, if at all. You can always purchase one of last year’s devices, the Pixel or Pixel XL, which frequently go on sale (see here). And if you ever wonder when your device will be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo, drop by our Droid Updates series, which includes all the updates in the industry and runs weekly.
Installation: The files are available here. Follow the instructions at your own risk.
The OTA links are not yet live. They’ll be posted here very soon -> [OTA download links]
Do you like the name Android Oreo or would you have preferred a different name? Let us know your thoughts on the update in the below included comment section or watch the full show at the link below.
UPDATE: Google may have halted the Android 8.0 Oreo over-the-air update for those on the Android Beta program due to an error. We’ll keep you updated.