The Galaxy S8 and S8+ flagships received the Android 8.0 Oreo update a few weeks ago, while the update for Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge flagships is still in pipeline. Most likely the S7 series device will receive the update in April 2018, as the Wi-Fi Alliance certification is also completed.
The next update after Android Oreo is Android 8.1 for Samsung flagships, before the remarkable Android 9.0 P update. Google released the First developer preview of Android 8.1 on 25th, October and later the final preview on November 26th. Finally on December 6th, Google kicked off the Android 8.1 Oreo rollout for Google Pixel series and Nexus devices.
In Android 8.1, which is the first maintenance release, Google fixed many annoying bugs of Oreo and also included two major security patches. The latest Android update sporting API level 27 contains some remarkable features like Neural Network API, Redesigned power menu, Notification improvements, buttery smooth scrolling, Bluetooth battery levels and so on.
The Neural Networks API is one of awesome features coming with the Android 8.1 update for the Samsung flagships. The API provides a base layer for various Machine Learning Frameworks like Caffe2, Tensor Flow Lite etc. which train and build neural networks. The API supports the quick inferences through on-device Machine Learning without using network connection. So this feature reduce latency in response and supports faster AI processing by mere use of CPU and the battery efficiency also enhanced.
Due to the feature of on-device learning, the apps become available outside of network coverage. The processed data can be used to classify images in the Gallery according to the user’s interest and predicting the user’s behaviour. More refinements to Neural Networks API will come with the upcoming Android P update.
Bluetooth Battery levels are one of the awesome new features arrived with the Android 8.1 Oreo update. Originally, the feature debuted on Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL flagships which came with pre-installed Android 8.0. However, in the Pixel 2 flagships, users need to long-press on the Bluetooth tile in the QuickSettings panel.
In Android 8.1, Google further refined the feature and users now check the levels instantaneously from the Quick Settings Panel without long-press. The feature is very much useful to users, indeed. So Galaxy S8 and S7 devices may get this useful with the Android 8.1 update with some UI enhancements by Samsung.
Apple brought this feature to iPhones with the iOS 9 update in 2015. Now the useful feature arrived to Android ecosystem with the Android 8.1 Oreo update. The Search Giant may improve the feature more in the next Android 9.0 P aka Android Pistachio Ice Cream Update
Previously, in Android 7.1, Google brought the Restart button for stock android. Now in Android 8.1, powermenu and restarting screen undergone a complete visual overhaul. The new powermenu appears on the side of the screen, similar to that of Pixel 2 devices. So the powermenu is more userfriendly and on large devices, it will be easy to tap on the options with single hand.
Another visual change is that the menu appears in lightmode in day time while nightmode during night time, so that eyestrain will be reduced. The Restarting screen is introduced with Android 8.1 and the Shutting down screen also changed completely, and new screens appear with Material background overlay and fresh look.
Google has been trying to improve the smoothness of the Android UI since the launch of Android 4.1 Jellybean. Through the Triple Buffering of Project Butter, the Search Giant improved the smoothness of scrolling and other things in Jellybean. Now it seems that the Search Giant takes the smoothness another step forward.
The smooth scrolling without much frame drop rate in Android 8.1 is due to an extra layer of buffering over the previous Triple buffering. So the UI in Android 8.1 scrolls very smoothly but the responsiveness is slowed down a little bit. As the next update is currently in development stage, we probably see the increase in responsiveness in the final release.
The Android 8.1 update has revamped Battery Section in the Settings Menu which is very much useful to prevent excess drain of battery by the abnormal behaviour of some apps. For example if the Maps Preview app is draining battery through excess Location requests, the app will be displayed in the Battery section. So the Location requests are blocked in the section, the app battery drain can be prevented.
Previously, in the Android 8.0 Oreo, special app background restrictions came into play to prevent the background battery drain of app. Now Google refined the Battery section to facilitate the user to save more Battery. So Battery saving will be improved in Galaxy S7 and S8 devices after the Android 8.1 Oreo update.
Google made significant changes in this update to increase the free space in storage. The system automatically clears the Dalvik cache of Inactive apps, thereby reduces the size occupied by the app in the internal memory after the Android 8.1 update. So the user will be able to install more apps and store files like pictures, music etc. in the internal memory.
According to some reports, the Search is going enhance the reduction in app sizes further in the upcoming Android P update.
The Android 8.1 update brought some improvements to notifications. Apps can only make a notification alert sound once per second in Android 8.1 and they are also able to be completely muted. This doesn’t affect the notification behaviour.
Previously with Android 8.0, Google brought Notification Dots and Channels to the most popular OS in the World. Now with the first maintenance release update, the Search giant brought necessary improvements to make user experience much better. User annoying notifications will be lost with the latest update.
In the Android 8.1 update, Google made some visual changes in order to provide better user experience. The visual changes include automatic fading of navigation bar buttons and the Search bar in Settings.
When the navigation bar buttons not used for two seconds, they will fade in both light and dark themes. So that eys strain will be reduced and screen burn-in of the buttons won’t happen quickly. The full fledged Settings bar in the Settings Menu will make Settings search easy for users. Previously, only a Search button was present in the Settings menu. Now in Android 8.1, full light Search bar appears in the Settings app.
This is one of the useful features coming with the Android 8.1 update. Recently on January 22nd, Google enabled the feature on Pixel and Pixel XL devices. Under this feature, open Wi-Fi Networks appear with the following labels Slow, OK, Fast, Very Fast. The Veryfast label means 20+ Mbps, Fast means 5-20 Mbps, OK means 1-5 Mbps and Slow means 0-1 Mbps. With this feature, users can determine which is the best open network and to stream HD videos and Calls over Wi-Fi.
Autofill is a new feature arrived with the Android 8.0 Oreo update and very useful to users. In Android 8.1, Google has much refined the feature, so that password managers and autofill services use the Autofill framework easier. The user interface and the options regarding creditcard details are also improved in Android 8.1.
With the Autofill APIs, users can automatically fill forms and logins in most of the apps using the password managers like Lastpass, 1Password and Google Autofill. In Chrome, the feature is not usable till now, but Google solved the issue in the Android P preview. So more optimizations to Autofill will come in future.
In Android 8.1 final release, Google included two security patches dated on 1st and 5th December which contain numerous fixes for recently discovered security vulnerabilities. The Search gaint also included 48 additional bug fixes in the consumer release. According to the Pixel and Nexus 5X users, performance and battery backup have improved slightly after installing the Android 8.1 update.
The official change log of Android 8.1 for Galaxy flaships will be revealed in coming days.
Samsung may start the development of the Android 8.1 update for Galaxy S7 and S8 devices in Q1 of 2018.
Previously, Samsung merged the Android 7.1 and 7.0 updates and released as Android 7.0 update for the unlocked Galaxy S7 devices in January 2017. So this time also the South Korean tech giant may release the Android 8.1 update separately in Q2 of 2018 for its flagship devices, as already the rollout of Android 8.0 has completed in most regions. The unlocked Galaxy S7, S7 Edge and Galaxy S8, S8+ flagship devices in the US and South Korea may receive the Android 8.1 update earlier than other Carrier locked devices.
Carrier locked Galaxy S7 and S8 devices may get the Android 8.1 update in Q3, 2018. The confirmed release dates of Android 8.1 for Galaxy S8 and S7 flagships will be revealed soon.
We will update this post soon latest news about the Android 8.1 update for Galaxy S7 and S8.
Update on 25/1/2017 :
Samsung’s USA team announces that the Oreo Beta program for Galaxy S8 and S8+ will end on tomorrow, January 26th. So no further Android Oreo beta releases will happen in coming days and no support for the beta participants. But the Oreo beta users can communicate each other through the program.
So it seems that Sammy is getting ready for the Public release of the remarkable Android Oreo update containing awesome features. Most probably on the upcoming week, the South Korean tech will begin the consumer Oreo rollout in the US. More details about the Android Oreo update can be found out here.
Update on 8/2/2018 :
Finally, the Android Oreo consumer rollout begins for Galaxy S8 and S8+ users. A few hours ago, the South Korean giant starts the rollout of the most anticipated update the flagships in Europe. Both German and Dutch beta users report that they have received the Oreo update notifications. The size of the update is 487 MB and brings the new Samsung Experience UI 9.0. The non-beta users might start receiving the update from tomorrow onwards.
According to Sammobile, the update hasn’t brought the Treble support to the Galaxy flagships, as expected before. Since the Oreo Beta didn’t feature Project Treble some analysts predicted earlier that no Treble support would come to Galaxy S8 and S8+. The next big update for the flagships is Android 8.1 before Android P.