Hello, Folks! Today I’m going to talk about the latest pretty major update to Android which is Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s not a completely new version but they made some significant changes. So, it should be pretty interesting especially if you have one of the latest phones that is capable of upgrading to this and it was released just a couple of days ago and it is available either over the air. So, you might be getting a notification that you can upgrade or Google also provided the update files that you can apply yourself if you want. But that’s beyond the scope of this discussion you can look up how to do that if you want it right away. So, let’s get into these updates-
Changes In Pixel or Pixel XL: –
What to expect when updating from Android 8.0 to Android 8.1 on a Pixel or Pixel XL. A new boot animation, a new font on the lock screen and various other places in the OS, the search bar has been relocated from the top down. Just above the navigation bar translucency within your quick settings and app drawer meaning you will able to lightly see your home screen or whatever app you have open from behind, selecting a dark wallpaper enables a dark theme. Navigation bar icons that dim Android solution to alleviate possible burn-in or image retention. A live clock icon that coordinates with the current time, a brightness percentage in your display settings, the menu to power off or a restart your phone has been trimmed down and move closer to your power slash lock button. Powering off and restarting your phone shows off new animations.
Changes In Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL: –
Now, while all of these features have been readily available on both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL with Android 8.0. Here’s what you can expect when updating the 8.1 with these 2nd Generation devices. Most of these should apply to the 1st Gen Pixels as well unless otherwise noted- A white Navbar in certain apps like Settings, Gmail and Maps. A dedicated gestures category in system settings, A battery indicator next to the Bluetooth Icon, In quick settings to let you know how much juice is left on your connected device. The Netflix app gets Picture-In-Picture, improved Audio when recording video on the Pixel 2 XL, the update to Android 8.1 provides a much needed Audio fix to the Pixel 2 XL. Android Oreo logo is finally a proper Oreo.
Some important updated features that I’m going to talk about in description-
Android Go: –
It’s not really a feature but almost like an entirely new system of Android that Google is calling Android Go. It’s basically a very light version of Android that is meant to be run on lower and budget devices such as those that have less than 1 gigabyte of RAM specifically. The idea is that not every Android Phone or a Flagship with tons of processing power. There’s a lot of very basic phones that function but maybe don’t really run a lot of latest apps that are really huge in file size.
So, they created this version that has specialized apps, for example, there is a YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go and you would install this on your Go Android operating system. If you do have a device running Android Go, there will also be a special version of the Google Play Store and one feature of that is it will suggest apps that are more compatible and better running on your Go System, for example, they gave was Instagram, it’ll suggest a more lightweight version of Instagram that presumably Facebook wrote especially for devices that maybe aren’t the most powerful. So, it’ll list different apps that probably would run better on your device instead of having to run the latest than chew up all your memory. So, this isn’t probably a feature that most people will use but it still will open the door for a lot of people who want to latest stuff but don’t have a super-powerful phone.
Visual Core: –
This next feature is pretty awesome actually but unfortunately for some of your, it’s only available on the latest Pixel Phones so Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Because it uses what is called the Visual Core Chip into these devices but wasn’t really enabled before. This Visual Core chip basically is a dedicated chip on the Pixel boards that is meant to process images so it allows different apps through an API to use Google’s really amazing HDR Plus feature without having to use the special Google app which was required, before you had to use Google camera app and any other devices could only take basic photos.
Now a lot of the articles that I read suggest that the Visual Core chip was completely disabled all together now. But I’m not a 100% sure whether it’s the case that it was disabled altogether and was now activated. So, even Google Camera photos will be improved or that the Google camera was still using it before and now it’s unlocked for all apps. But in any case, it should improve photos significantly because you’re getting a dedicated chip that’s gonna be processing these images and we know that the Google Camera app takes amazing photos with the HDR Plus. So, now, other apps can take advantage of that as I mentioned you have to actually enable this feature even if you do update.
- So, to do that, you go to the developer options and if you don’t know how to enable developer options that’s petty easy.
- Go to the debugging section and look for the option Camera HAL HDR+ and toggle that on and that is what enables this feature.
- Some reason it’s not enabled by default so in that condition you can follow these instructions.
Battery Level: –
Next feature don’t worry it is available on all devices and that is, you can now see the battery level of a Bluetooth device you’re connected to just by swiping down on the notification bar. Before of course, it would show that you’re connected to something but you couldn’t really see, you’d have to check on the device itself.
- But now, in addition to going into the settings and going to the Bluetooth section. You could also look at it there and it shows the percentage.
- Now, when you swipe down from the notification bar into the quick settings it’ll show you a little icon with the battery that will fill up according to how much charge is on that device.
Wi-Fi Speed Level: –
Now, this next feature is actually pretty awesome and that is, Google will now be compiling lists of WiFi Speeds for public hotspots. So, when you go into the WiFi settings to pick a Hotspot to connect to if it’s public, it’ll now potentially be able to show you the speed of different Wi-Fi hotspots before you ever connect.
So, you may know that right now Google kind of uses data to compile a list of safe Wi-Fi Hotspot that you can connect to like Domino’s, McDonald’s or something. They’re probably trustworthy and then it also encrypts that data so it’s completely safe even though it’s a Public hotspot. So, now presumably they’re gonna be also testing all those Hotspots for different speeds. So, if someone walks into a restaurant and Google is saying all right well this Hotspots really slow it’ll give a rating for that Hotspot for the next people that show up.
Apparently, there will be four different ratings and those are Slow, Okay, Fast and Very Fast. Now, this hasn’t been totally rolled out yet because I guess Google has to compile all this data first so it’s not like they instantly have all this. Of course, it might only be available from devices running Android 8.1 so they have to wait till a lot of people upgrade to collect the data as well.
Based on some reports that people have been doing, they kind of tested speeds for what each one will be and they say that basically, the Slow ratings is 0-1 megabits per second, an Okay rating is 1-5, Fast is 5-20 megabits per second and then Very Fast is 20+ megabits per second. Also, if you do want to enable this you have to navigate into the following settings-
- Go to a regular Settings App
- Then Network & Internet, then Wi-Fi
- At the bottom, you scroll down and go to Wi-Fi preferences
- Then click on Advanced and then Network rating provider and presumably after that if there is data available on any Hotspots, it should show it now.
So, I think this is pretty awesome it’s gonna allow people to use trusted up Wi-Fi Hotspots without having to worry about the normal issues because Google and Android will be putting them on a VPN and you can actually see the speeds ahead of time like I said much time before you never want to connect to a Public Wi-Fi Hotspot. If you are not connected through some sort of encrypted VPN because there’s a lot of issues that I’m not really going to get into but it’s good that Google is protecting its users.
Colour Mode: –
Another small update which is just for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL devices and that is, you can now change the colour mode to be more saturated. So, some of the complaints to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL where apparently, people didn’t really like the colour scheme, they looked a little bit off to them at least.
- So, now If you Go into the Settings and display options, you’ll see the choices between Natural, Boosted or Saturated colours.
- Now, for me, on the Pixel 2, I like the saturated options more. Maybe it’s not as realistic but really who cares about that.
So, I guess those are just the features that I thought were worth noting, there’s a lot of different bug fixes and stuff but those are pretty minor. I guess I would say that this wasn’t really major update. There’s a couple of that was notable at least but nothing worth getting cited over.