Android 8.1 Oreo for Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play : Features and Release Date
Motorola brings Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play devices with pre-loaded Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS and has started the rollout of Android 8.0 Oreo for these devices recently. The next update after Android Oreo is Android 8.1 for Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play devices.
Google released the first developer preview of Android 8.1 on October 25th and the second and final preview came on November 25th. On December 6th, the Search giant pushed out the Consumer version of Android 8.1 Oreo. Motorola didn’t make any announcement officially regarding the Android 8.1, but Moto may begin the development of the Android 8.1 update for Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play devices very soon.
We expect that Moto Z2 devices most probably receive the update in late-June. The official rollout dates will be announced by Moto shortly.
Moto Z2 Play users may have to wait more time to taste the latest flavour of Android. Perhaps in late-June or July, Motorola will begin the Android 8.1 rollout for Moto Z2 Play devices.
Android 8.1 Exclusive Features
The Android 8.1 update is the first Maintenance Release (MR1) for Android Oreo and contains many security patches and bug fixes along with some exciting features.
Neural Network API
The Neural Network API is one of the exciting new features coming exclusively with the Android 8.1 update. With the feature, Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play users can enjoy much advanced benefits of machine learning. The API provides a base layer for the neural network learning frameworks like TensorFlowlite and Caffe 2 etc. Thus, on-device machine learning will be very much improved and developers can make their apps more user-friendly.
Due to on-device learning, latency of inferences has decreased and there is no need of any network connection. So battery performance will get enhanced. The learned data is useful in classifying images in Gallery according to user’s interest and predicting the user’s behaviour. In the Android P update, Google has further developed the API as version 1.1.
Revamped Power Menu
This is one of the under the hood improvements of Android 8.1. Google previously added the restart button to the powermenu and now shifted the whole position of the menu to the edge of the screen next to the physical power button. So the user can reboot or shutdown the device with single hand. The Search Giant also refined the user interface of Power Menu.
Google also implemented the night mode for the powermenu. The menu appears in day light theme during day time and in night mode during night time. So Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play users will get new themed power menu with the Android 8.1 Oreo update.
Increase in Free Space
Although, Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play users can expand storage by simply inserting MicroSD card, internal storage free space will influence the performance of the device upto some extent. The Android 8.1 Oreo update will increase the free space by clearing the cache of inactive apps. Apps store cache of hundreds of MBs which slows down the device. Clearing the cache of inactive apps not only speed up the device but also increases the free space.
Wi-Fi Speed Labels
Wi-Fi Speed labels are one of the new features arrived with the Android 8.1 update. Through the labels, users can quickly check the speeds of open Wi-Fi networks near by them. The Open Wi-Fi networks in the Wi-Fi sections appears along with their speeds labelled as Slow, OK and Fast. So users can easily connect to a faster Open Wi-Fi and save battery and time.
The Wi-Fi labels also helps to determine, which Open networks are able to support 4K video streaming, VoWi-Fi and other features. The Fast labelled networks supports all these features while OK labelled networks supports only some of them. Google may improve the feature further in the upcoming Android P update.
Buttery Smooth Scrolling
Google Pixel and Pixel 2 users already enjoying this feature with the update and yet to come to Moto Z2 devices. According to Pixel 2 users, the Android 8.1 update improves the scrolling quality probably because of an extra buffer. Due to the improvements, scrolling on the screen becomes very smooth like butter.
Because of the buttery smooth scrolling, the responsiveness of the devices decreases a bit. But this is acceptable to most Pixel and Pixel 2 users. Moto Z2 Force and Moto Z2 Play users may also get the Buttery smooth scrolling experience with the Android 8.1 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.
Bluetooth Battery levels in Quick Settings
Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL flagships unveiled with a feature called Bluetooth Battery levels in Quick Settings. In the Android 8.1 update, Google further improved the feature. When the user swipes down the on the home screen, the battery levels of the Bluetooth device connected will be displayed in the Quick panel next to the Bluetooth icon.
So on Android 8.1 platform, users can easily check the Battery levels of their Bluetooth devices quickly from the home screen. Actually, Apple brought this remarkable feature to iPhones with the iOS 9 update. Now this useful feature arrived to Android devices with the Android 8.1 Oreo update. The Search Giant will refine it further in the upcoming Android Pistachio Ice Cream aka Android 9.0 operating system.
Improvements to Notifications
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.
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.
Security patches and bug fixes
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.
We will update this post soon with more details about the Android 8.1 update.
Update on 16/1/2018 :
On December 27th, a major US carrier Verizon began the rollout of Android 8.0 Oreo for Moto Z2 Force edition. Later, on January 5th, T-Mobile also started rolling out the update for Moto Z2 Force edition flagship.
Verizon’s update includes December security patch and comes in size of about 890 MB. T-Mobile’s update comes in size of about 980 MB and also contains December 1st Security patch. The updates are still rolling out and many consumers are yet to receive the update, as it is a phased rollout. Moto Z2 Play is yet to receive the Android 8.0 update the rollout dates are still unknown.
Update on 24/1/2018 :
Motorola begins the soak test of Oreo for Moto Z2 Play in Brazil, a month after Z2 Force soak test. The size of the update weighs about 1.1 GB and the version number is OPS27.74.
By seeing the Moto Z2 Force rollout timeframe, we can intelligently predict the consumer rollout dates of Android 8.0 Oreo for Moto Z2 Play. Most likely in late February or March, Motorola may begin the final rollout of Oreo for Moto Z2 Play.
Update on 5/6/2018 :
After rolling out the Android 8.1 update for Moto X4 and its Android One editions, Motorola started rolling out the update for Moto G5S Plus devices. Most likely, the next devices in line to receive the update are Moto Z2 Play and G5 Plus. Moto Z2 Force may receive the Android P update directly without Android 8.1.
The rollout details of Android 8.1 for Moto Z2 Force and Z2 Play devices are yet to be revealed.