Android 8.1 Oreo beta starts rolling out to the Essential Phone

Essential has just announced that Android 8.1 Oreo is now available for the Essential Phone in the beta form. The US company confirmed last month that it will update the flagship directly to Android 8.1 Oreo, thus skipping Android 8.0.

The first beta build of Android 8.l Oreo is being pushed OTA (over the air) to those who’ve been using beta builds of Android 8.0. Otherwise, you’ll have to download the file from Essential’s website and flash it manually on your smartphone.

We also have a complete changelog that contains all the new stuff added by Essential, such as smart text selection, …


Nokia 8 will soon get Android 8.1 Oreo, beta update now available for download

In a surprising move, HMD Global announced that its flagship, Nokia 8 will be updated to Android 8.1 Oreo very soon. For the time being, owners of the smartphone can download the first Android 8.1 Oreo beta build released by HMD and send their feedback to help make the update bug-free.

Those who want to try Android 8.1 Oreo before the Finnish company releases the stable version can join the Beta Labs Program, which does not seem to have a limited number of spots. HMD Global’s Chief Product Offices, Juho Sarvikas, confirmed Android 8.1 Oreo beta will bring a host of new features to the Nokia …

Android 8.1 factory images with January security patch now available for these stock Android models

Factory images are useful for those who don’t have any patience and won’t wait for an OTA update to hit their handset. It also helps those who are customizing their device get back to the latest Android build, just in case they screw up. New Android 8.1 factory images for three carrier specific stock Android devices are now available, and come three weeks after Google first disseminated the January 2018 security patch with an update. In addition to the factory images, these particular models will also receive the update OTA.

Let’s end the suspense. The following handsets now have an Android …

Feature on Android 8.1 will help you connect to the fastest public Wi-Fi hotspot available

Speed Labels is coming via an update to those handsets currently using Android 8.1. This feature will give you speed estimates of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Armed with this information, you will be able to connect to the faster Wi-Fi network if you have a choice between multiple options. Once the update is disseminated (it is expected to be pushed out starting this week), open Wi-Fi networks will be characterized on your phone’s display as  being Very Fast, Fast, OK and Slow.

Obviously, the speed of your Wi-Fi connection can determine the capabilities you have with your phone. According …

Google launches lite version of Gboard, but only for Android 8.1 devices with low RAM

Unveiled last year, Google’s Android Go platform is meant to allow users who can’t afford expensive smartphones to benefit from the same Android experience using cheap devices. In order for that to work, many Google apps need to be optimized to run on smartphones with less RAM.

That’s how the so-called “Go” apps appeared last year. Maps Go, YouTube Go, and now Gboard Go are lite versions of their full-fledged counterparts. While some of them are available for download via Google Play Store, the new Gboard Go app hasn’t been listed there yet.

However, it appears that Google is rolling …

Mystery ZTE phone gets certified by Wi-Fi Alliance with Android 8.1 installed; is it the Axon 8?

ZTE is not a brand that dominates the conversation around the dinner table in the states, although its profile might have received a little boost with the release of the ZTE Axon M. The dual-screened folding phone (yeah, we said it) may not offer the form factor that the Samsung Galaxy X will, but these are still early days for this category. We digress. What we want to discuss now is a new mystery model from ZTE that was just certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Carrying the model number Z2321U, the Wi-Fi Alliance lists the device as an LTE/CDMA Multi-Mode Digital Mobile Phone. More interesting …

Action Launcher updated with AdaptiveZoom, more Android 8.1 Oreo goodies

The bulk of Android users who decided to customize their smartphones are mostly using three, maybe for Android launchers that are listed in the Google Play Store. One of these popular apps, Action Launcher has just been updated with several new features and improvements.

The latest Action Launcher was recently released in the Google Play Store as version 33 and introduces AdaptiveZoom, a new feature that expands the background of an app icon to the entire screen when you swipe on it. In order to benefit from this feature, you’ll need to use adaptive icons in the …

Installing Android 8.1 has led to problems swiping on the Pixel 2/2 XL and certain Nexus models

Android 8.1 activated the Pixel Visual Core feature, enhancing the images taken with the already highly regarded cameras on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. And while the update also brought a security update with it, the new build created a little problem of its own. It was back on December 7th when the first thread appeared on the Google Support Forum describing an issue that was preventing some Pixel 2/2 XL and Nexus users from swiping up on the lock screen to enter their PIN code.

According to the threads that have been posted, it can take multiple attempts at swiping before the handset figures …

Nokia 2 to be updated directly to Android 8.1 Oreo

HMD Global plans to update all its Nokia-branded smartphones to Android Oreo, the Finnish company confirmed a while ago. In fact, Nokia 8 has already received the update, while Nokia 5 and 6 are now going through the beta testing.

Although they are aimed at the entry-level segment Nokia 2 and 3 will be updated to Android Oreo as well. Despite the fact that both pack hardware that in theory might not run Android OS as smooth as a mid-range smartphone, thanks to Android Go, at least one of these devices will have no issues with Oreo.

According to HMD’s Juho …

Google looking into reports of slower Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner after Android 8.1 update

Some Google Pixel 2 XL users are not happy about what happened to their handset following the update to Android 8.1 earlier this month. According to the Google support forum, several Pixel 2 XL owners found that the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone is taking longer to unlock their device. For example, one user of the device said that it took “a good second” for the screen to turn on after activating the fingerprint sensor.

Apparently, there is a workaround for the sluggish biometric reader. Turning on the always on feature will allow the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel 2 XL …