After teasing the launch of Android Oreo 8.1 last week, Google has finally launched the Android 8.1 developer preview for all the Google Pixel and Nexus devices. This new version of the Android Oreo is expected to sport various under-the-hood-changes that add a lot of features in the newest version of Android. The update’s headline feature seems to be a new Neural Networks API (NNAPI), which Google claims will help the apps by providing hardware acceleration for on-device machine learning operations.
Furthermore, the update also packs in some major bug fixes and improvements, as well as some subtle changes that might improve the overall user experience. The update is already up for grabs for people using the Google Pixel and Nexus devices and it’s expected that it will also roll out for other Android Oreo supported devices later. Here’s a list of all the new features and changes that the new Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview has to offer to you.
Android Oreo 8.1 features
Light/Dark system UI theme
When the Android Oreo was launched. many people who started using it criticized the OS for having a white theme for all the aspects of the system UI, including the volume sliders, notification bar, and even the quick setting panel. However, this issue has now been addressed and solved by Google in the Android Oreo 8.1 developer preview update. The newly introduced WallpaperColors API in the OS now grabs the color from your wallpaper and changes the color of the system UI as per the wallpaper. So now if you set a lighter wallpaper then the system UI would be brighter and, if you’ve set a darker wallpaper on your smartphone, then the UI would seem to be darker.
A new semi-transparent quick settings panel
The quick setting panel has got some new visual changes in the new Android Oreo 8.1. Now, the quick setting panel features a semi-transparent background. This lets you continue seeing what’s behind the panel without pulling it up. The new quick settings panel works well with the new adaptive coloring feature, which adds up to the looks of the new Android 8.1. Furthermore, the padding of the tiles themselves have been increased ever so slightly, and the user icon is also removed completely from the quick settings panel.
Android 8.1 has completely revamped the user interface for the Settings application. You can find the new update has a completely revamped top toolbar. Instead of having an icon on the right side of the toolbar for searches in the Settings, the search option is now present in the top of the settings menu. You will now find the settings menu more eye-catchy and prominent in addition to its simplicity and effectiveness. The whole setting menu now feels like the one present in the Google Pixel 2 device.
The Oreo easter egg
If you’re already using the Android Oreo 8.0 then you might have noticed that when you try to access the Android Oreo easter egg, the one which is accessed by clicking the Android version 7 time in the about phone settings, an orange O icon. However, it has now changed with this new update. Now if you try to access the Android Easter Egg, you’ll find the Oreo cookie easter egg instead of the orange O icon that was present.
This is one of the most noticeable changes in the Android Oreo 8.1 developers preview update. The bar is now more compact with the icons getting smaller, compact, and visually good. Furthermore, the Navigation Bar has also received a key behavior change, which automatically dims the Notification Bar whenever there’s no touch input. This is probably an effort from Google to avoid the burn-in and image retention issues that are common in the OLED screens.
When the Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL were announced and launched, one of the most noticeable changes that people saw in the smartphones was the Power Options menu, which was changed from the pop up menu placed in the center to a more sleek and stylish option that appears on the side of the screen. You can find the exact Power Options menu in the new Android Oreo 8.1 update, which is a welcome change.
Some other changes
There are some less noticeable changes that you might miss as well, here’s a list of it.
- The date under the ambient display clock is back.
- There’s a new toast message UI.
- Long press on a notification now prompts a vibration.
- You now get a warning before turning off the mobile data.
These are some of the updates that you get with the new Android 8.1 update.
Tell us what you feel about these new improvements and updates in the comments below.