Android 8.1 update for Sony Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact
Xperia XZ1 is a flagship device from Sony running on Android 8.0 Oreo straight from the box. Sony XZ1 Compact is a small sized flagship device which is also running on in-built Android 8.0. The next major Android update for these flagship from Sony is the Android 8.1. The upcoming update contains exciting features like neural networks API, Bluetooth battery levels and so on.
Google released the first developer preview of Android 8.1 Oreo on October 25th, later the second preview arrived with some bug fixes on November 26th. The AI chip on Pixel 2 has been activated through the Second preview of Android 8.1. Finally, the consumer release of Android 8.1 happened on December 5th and the rollout for Pixel and Nexus devices began on December 6th.
Due to the Project Treble of Android 8.0 Oreo, the update rollout will take place shortly after the release. So Sony may start the official rollout of Android 8.1 for Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact devices in March or April 2018.
Android 8.1 Oreo Features
The preview of Android 8.1 contains some system UI changes borrowed from Pixel 2, Easter egg, SMS connect and minor refinements. These features might be refined in the final release and more new features probably be added in the final release. More details about the Android 8.1 features will be revealed in coming days.
The Bluetooth battery levels feature of the next iteration of Android shows the battery level of the connected Bluetooth headset in the Quick Settings toggles.
Neural Networks API 1.0
Google brought the Neural Networks API 1.0 with the Android 8.1 update which provides a base layer for neural networks like Caffe2, Tensor Flow Lite etc. and improves the on-device Machine Learning. With the help of the Neural Network API, android may automatically classify the images in the Gallery, according to the user’s interest.
The Neural Network API provides the functionality of on-device machine learning without connecting to Internet. So the processing speed will be increased and Battery usage also will be reduced. In the upcoming Android 9.0 P, Google introduced a much refined version of Neural Networks API with version number 1.1.
Redesigned Power Menu
Google redesigned the Power Menu in Android 8.1, so the new power menu gives fresh appeal to the users. The Power menu appears on the right side of the device instead of the previous centre menu. A new dark mode feature also added to the powermenu, so the menu appears in day time with light theme and in night time with Night mode. So eye strain will be reduced with the Android 8.1 update.
Buttery smooth User Interface
The upgraded Nexus 5X, 6P and Google Pixel users reported that the scrolling has totally redefined in Android 8.1 Oreo. Most likely due to the addition of additional buffer layer to Android Renderer, the scrolling pretty smooth and butter like. The smooth scrolling is now applicable to whole system-wide and not only limited to the Settings Menu.
The Apple iOS has been praised for its unique smoothness in scrolling and animations because of the whole usage of its processing power when user touches the screen. But in Android 8.1, Google has refined the scrolling to reach that level without affecting the responsiveness much. However, according to some users opinions, the responsiveness of the system has decreased after the Android 8.1 update due to buttery smooth scrolling, but that is in acceptable range. Google may do further optimizations in the Android 9.0 P update.
Also Read : Android 8.1 update for Galaxy S7 and S8
Bluetooth Battery Levels
This is another useful feature of Android 8.1 Oreo update. Through the Bluetooth battery levels feature, user can easily determine the battery level of the Bluetooth device directly from the homescreen. In Pixel 2, Bluetooth Battery levels appear in Quick settings toggles and can be checked by swiping down with two fingers on the home screen.
In Android 8.1, Google refined this feature much, so the user can check the battery level by simply swiping with one finger on the home screen to see the Bluetooth icon along with the battery level in the Notification bar. So Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact users can check the battery levels of their Bluetooth devices quickly from the home screen after updating to Android 8.1.
Increase in Free Space
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.
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 in the first maintenance release, the Search giant made improvements to made user experience much better. So user annoying notifications will be lost with the latest update.
Speed labels to Open Wi-Fi Networks
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.
Redesinged Battery Section
In Android 8.1, the battery section of the Settings Menu has redesigned to improve the battery life. In the section, we can see some interface changes and the list of top battery draining apps and their methods of draining. So if an app consumes more battery than usual due to excessive requests, the App and the request name will be displayed in the Battery section. For example, Maps app usually drains battery by sending excess requests for the Location service.
So Xperia XZ1 users can take appropriate measures for the battery draining apps by restricting the requests, after updating to Android 8.1 Oreo.
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.
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 updated Pixel and Nexus 5X users, performance has been improved a lot after Android 8.1 update and Battery backup also refined in this update.
We will update this post soon with more details about the Android 8.1 update for Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact.