Android Oreo: The latest wave of handsets getting Google’s flagship software

Android O was officially unveiled as Android Oreo – or Android 8 – in August. Some of the promised phones have the next-generation software, others are being geared up to get its successor Android 8.1, and more recently Google revealed which smartwatches will be getting Android Wear Oreo. 

We’ve also begun looking ahead to Android P, expected to launch later this year. 

In the meantime, the latest phones to join this list of Android Oreo devices were the newest handsets from Sony, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 range, and Nokia’s new phones – all unveiled at MWC 2018. Scroll down to see the list.

Android Oreo

Android Oreo is the latest version of Google’s Android software. Ahead of the big reveal, it was known as Android O but its official moniker is Android 8.0.

READ NEXT: Google Assistant comes to iOS in the UK

The Android Oreo update follows the release of Android Nougat last summer and is a significant improvement. This is not the first time Google has partnered with a well-known brand for its Android Software. Android 4.4 was known as Android KitKat. 

Android Wear Oreo list

Android Wear Oreo update is available for the following watches:
  • Fossil Q Venture
  • LG Watch Sport
  • Louis Vuitton Tambour
  • Michael Kors Sofie
  • Montblanc Summit
Watches that are set to get the Android Wear Oreo update at a later date include:
  • Casio PRO TREK Smart WSD-F20
  • Casio WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch
  • Diesel Full Guard
  • Emporio Armani Connected
  • Fossil Q Control
  • Fossil Q Explorist
  • Fossil Q Founder 2.0
  • Fossil Q Marshal
  • Fossil Q Wander
  • Gc Connect
  • Guess Connect
  • Huawei Watch 2
  • Hugo BOSS BOSS Touch
  • LG Watch Style
  • Michael Kors Access Bradshaw
  • Michael Kors Access Dylan
  • Michael Kors Access Grayson
  • MIsfit Vapor
  • Mobvoi Ticwatch S & E
  • Movado Connect
  • Nixon Mission
  • Polar M600
  • TAG Heuer Tag Connected Modular 45
  • Tommy Hilfiger 24/7 You
  • ZTE Quartz

Android Oreo update list, release date and handsets

Google’s own Pixel and Nexus devices were among the first to get the Android Oreo update via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and, following the rollout of the final developer preview, all Pixel and Nexus devices will be getting Android 8.1. This includes the Nexus 5XNexus 6PGoogle PixelGoogle Pixel XLPixel CPixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

The tech giant plans to roll the Android Oreo update out in phases. The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, both released in 2014, will not be getting the Android Oreo update as Google only supports older handsets for two years with software updates. 

READ NEXT: OnePlus 5T review

The list of devices announced so far is below and will be updated as appropriate:

If you can’t wait for the update, Google has posted the OTA (over-the-air) download links for Android 8.0 on its developer site, and factory images for Pixel and Nexus devices were uploaded to its public site.

These allow people to install the Android Oreo update before their carrier pushes the update to their phones. It should be noted that you need a certain level of technical knowledge, and the technique does come with a series of warnings. The full download OTA links for Nexus and Pixel devices are available here, while factory images for Nexus and Pixels are here.

Android Oreo update features

Android Oreo focuses on new features in two major areas Google is calling “Fluid Experiences” and “Vitals”.

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Android Wi-Fi strength

As part of the latest update to Android Oreo, Google announced an incredibly useful feature that should spare you suffering on slow Wi-Fi connections, especially those in public places. 

Once you’ve updated to Android 8.1, you’ll be able to compare the strength and speed of all Wi-Fi networks that appear in your nearby connections list. Signal strength will be shown on the Wi-Fi icon, and a fuller icon means the signal is stronger. 

Connection speeds will then appear under the names of public networks, and of course speed can change with signal strength. The list below gives you an indication of what you’ll be able to do on connections of certain speeds: 

  • Slow: You’ll be able to use Wi-Fi calling, make phone calls and send texts
  • OK: You’ll be able to read webpages, use social media, and stream music
  • Fast: You’ll be able to stream most videos
  • Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos

You can, alternatively, disable this feature by going into Settings, Network & Internet | Wi-Fi | Wi-Fi Preferences | Advanced | Network rating provider | None.

Android Oreo: Fluid Experiences

Google Assistant from every app: Code found on the Android Developers website has revealed that Android Oreo will let you open Google Assistant from within third-party apps, removing the need to open it separately. It is likely to only work on supported apps, which will be few and far between in the first instance, but it does add to the multitasking nature of Android Oreo, and shows Google’s significant push to promote its AI. 

Picture-in-picture: one of the most significant developments in Android Oreo, this feature is focused on multitasking. It lets you keep one app, for example, Netflix, in a small floating window while checking your email (or anything else you fancy) full-screen.

Autofill: This Android Oreo feature makes the autofill feature available on apps outside of Chrome. This means that, with your permission, Autofill will remember your logins for Twitter, Facebook and more.

Smart Text Select: This feature automatically recognise items like phone numbers, place names and addresses, making it easier to select what you need quickly with a single tap in Android Oreo.

Notification Dots: This new feature in Android Oreo lets you quickly see your new notifications and easily clear them by swiping away.

Android Instant Apps: Android Oreo will let you jump straight into new apps from your browser without needing to install them first.

Android Oreo: Vitals

Runtime: The major change under the Vitals umbrella is extensive improvements to the Android runtime environment. What does this mean? Primarily, faster performance, much quicker boot times and apps that launch faster as well. Google says devices will boost twice as fast, which is a nice bonus for the rare times your handset needs a restart.

Google Play Protect: With Android Oreo, you’ll be able to scan freshly downloaded apps on your phone for security threats. This Android Oreo feature will also give developers a bunch of new tools to help them produce apps that make more efficient use of resources such as CPU, memory and data use in a bid to improve battery life.

Background limits: Android Oreo has been designed to help minimise background activity in the apps you use least.

Signal strength and speed

Android 8.1 introduced a feature that let you see how strong a Wi-Fi signal is, and how fast the connection will be, on public networks before you connect. 

Android Oreo: Google Lens, Assistant, Photos, and more

 Elsewhere in Android Oreo, there’s a bunch of updates related to Google Assistant and Google Photos: both major parts of the Android experience.

Google Lens: This tool is all about analysing live images rather than static ones, interpreting everyday objects like buildings, flowers and signs and providing information on them as you point the camera at them. Lens will be able to recognise what you’re pointing your camera at and offer to perform follow-up actions on that information.

Google Assistant will also be able to interpret written free-text queries as well as spoken ones and also process payment-related actions, bringing it up to par with Amazon Alexa.

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Google Photos: The built-in photo app is getting a host of new features in Android Oreo, including tools to help you share photos with friends and relatives and the ability to print photo books directly from the Photos app on your phone. The photo books service will only be available in the US at first, though, with more countries coming on board later this year.

Emoji: Android Oreo is getting the fully redesigned emoji set, including over 60 new emoji.

Accessibility button: This redesigned button will let you quickly access from the navigation bar accessibility features, like magnification, and functionality within accessibility services, like Select to Speak.

Ambient screen: This feature highlights incoming notifications with larger fonts. It highlights the app name and gives immediate access to actions.

Find my device: Android Oreo comes with a feature that lets you locate, lock or remotely wipe your phone or tablet if it’s lost or stolen – similar to Find my iPhone on iOS

Android Oreo developer features

For developers, Android Oreo includes new tools for app builders:

Autosizing textview: This tool automatically fills a TextView with text, regardless of the amount.

Fonts in XML: Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android Oreo. Developers can use fonts in XML layouts and define font families in XML.

Downloadable fonts and emoji: With downloadable fonts, developers can load fonts from a shared provider instead of including them in their APK. 

Adaptive icons: In Android Oreo, developers can now provide a “full-bleed square shaped icon”. 

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How to install Android Oreo 

When Android Oreo is available for your phone or tablet the software will be pushed to your phone automatically. To check if your phone is ready for the update, go to Settings, About Phone (or About Tablet) and click System Updates. You will then be guided through how to install. 

Ahead of Android Oreo being released to your device, it’s a good idea to enable Android’s built-in backup tool. Go to Settings, Backup and reset and check ‘Back up my data’ as well as ‘Automatic restore’. This will keep your phone backed up automatically via your Gmail account. This means if something goes wrong with the update, you buy a new phone, or you just want to pull in your contacts, apps and more, you can simply sign in with your Gmail account and the data will be downloaded and restored. 

Image: 00はがはがはが used under Creative Commons/Google

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