“It’s 8.0, though, and not 8.1 so the question remains, when do we expect to see Android 8.1 on this thing?”
That is the question I posed a month ago when HMD Global, through its Chief Products Officer, confirmed the start of the rollout of Android 8.0, Oreo, for its entry-level smartphone, the Nokia 3.
Now, the device which has been retailing for just under Kshs 15,000 since last year when it debuted in the local market, is getting the long-awaited update, at least months after its more pricey siblings started doing so. The Nokia 8 received its Android 8.1 update back in February while the Nokia 5 and 6 joined the fold at the end of March.
HMD Global, the licensee of the Nokia brand from old Nokia, notes in a press release sent earlier in the day that its Beta Labs programme, which allows users and developers to help test software before it rolls out to everyone officially, has so far signed up over 50,000 members.
It is some of these members that the company turned to to test Android 8.0 on the Nokia 3 four months ago before it eventually started releasing it to everyone last month.
The Android 8.1 update for the Nokia 3 started rolling out on May 19th and should be hitting more devices not just in Kenya alone but also in other regions around the world, in days to come for those that haven’t received it yet.
Android 8.1 brings lots of improvements to Oreo but most of those are under-the-hood i.e. the user may not be able to see them but will feel them. The most noticeable of Android 8.1’s features include the restriction on apps to send just one chime per second (no more annoying notifications), the indication of battery status of connected Bluetooth devices on the quick settings shade among other minor feature bumps.
The Nokia 3 is one of the cheapest smartphones in Kenya that offer a pure Android experience with guaranteed updates. Its position is now being challenged by the entry into the market of even cheaper devices that offer pure Android under the Android Go programme. However, its superior spec sheet which sees it double both the memory and the storage configurations of the likes of the Nokia 1 means that it retains its competitive advantage.