Android 8.0 is still new. In fact, if anything, it still has the shine and, according to Google itself, it is only accessible to just 0.2%. That’s a drop in the ocean considering that Google estimates that there are over 2 billion active Android devices out there. However, that does not deter future development and advancement of the platform as evidenced by today’s revelation by Google that Android 8.1, the successor to 8.0, was entering its developer preview phase.
To those with eligible devices (read Pixels and Nexus) signing up for the Android Beta program guarantees a front row seat to test-drive the next point update to Android (Oreo).
What’s new in Android 8.1?
Android 8.1 brings with it minimal improvements to the expansive feature set that 8.0 debuted. These include improvements to the autofill feature of Android Oreo that makes things easier for developers of password managers like LastPass, limiting apps to just one notification alert sound per second (yaay! Anyone close to me will tell you how irritating it becomes when my phone’s data is turned on after being offline for a while… buzzing with notifications every micro-second), better memory management that should come in handy for low-RAM devices like the ones that Google will be introducing under the Android Go (which will be based on Oreo) program next year, allowing apps to manage wallpaper colours and having the Android system proactively police instances when in-app browsers try to redirect users to sites deemed as unsafe by Google.
Android 8.1 developer preview is available for a bunch of devices that are a rumour in the Kenyan market i.e. the Pixel, Pixel C, Pixel XL, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P (more details here).
Now, let’s get back to worrying about when Android Nougat will hit at least a quarter of the devices before shifting attention to a version of Android that won’t be seeing double digits till 2018.