Since its devices starting rolling off the mill early this year, HMD Global has positioned itself as the ambassador of all things “pure” Android that the Android platform has been missing. With the exception of the rare effort by third parties, Android purity has been largely a preserve of Google and not any of its various hardware partners. Those, prefer to tweak Android to their own tastes thus passing on to consumers software that bears no semblance to Google’s beside the core functionality.
In an interesting development, HMD Global has so far resisted the allure of tampering the software to add any experiences that are a departure from the Android vision according to Google. And it has not stopped at just that. It has also committed to continually updating the devices it offers under the iconic Nokia brand with the latest software from Google. In fact, it is promising to do so through to the next version of Android after the current one, Oreo.
Talking about Oreo, HMD Global has been testing the software on its flagship Nokia 8 smartphone for a while now. Product chief Juho Sarvikas has been teasing early test builds of the software on Twitter since mid-September, shortly after the device started being available in most markets. Now, users of the device who are willing to take the risk, can opt-in to help HMD Global test Android Oreo on its best smartphone. This can be done by signing up through the Nokia beta labs portal.
The Nokia 8 has been officially on sale in Kenya since mid-September. It is not clear at this point if HMD Global is restricting access to the beta build of Android 8.0 to users of the device in particular regions so it is safe to advise any fellow countrymen with the device out there to try their luck.
HMD Global joins a growing of device makers who have opened Android 8.0 beta-testing programs. Huawei recently invited users of its late 2016 smartphone, the Mate 9, to beta test firmware based on Android Oreo while Sony’s similar process has led to the Xperia XZ getting Android Oreo in the last few days.