It’s Official: Android 8 is “Oreo”

Posted on August 21, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 48 Comments

In what may have been one of the shortest-ever live tech announcements, Google revealed today that the next major version of the Android mobile platform will be called “Oreo.”

“Today, we are officially introducing Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest release of the platform, and it’s smarter, faster and more powerful than ever,” Google vice president Sameer Samat writes. “It comes with new features like picture-in-picture and Autofill to help you navigate tasks seamlessly. Plus, it’s got stronger security protections and speed improvements that keep you safe and moving at lightspeed.”

Of course, what we’re all wondering is when we can get it. I’ve been running various pre-release versions of Android “O”, as it’s been called until now, on my Google Pixel XL all summer. But now we have a schedule for when compatible devices can expect the update.

And it goes something like this.

Android 8.0 Oreo is heading out to Android Open Source Project (AOSP) devices today. So if you are using such a device—basically a de-Googled Android device—you can get it immediately.

Those with a Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, or Nexus 6P should see Android 8.0 Oreo “soon,” Google says: Builds have entered carrier testing.

Likewise, Pixel C and Nexus Player are listed as “soon.”

“We’ve also been working closely with our partners, and by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo,” Google notes. “Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version.”

You can learn more about Android 8.0 Oreo from the Android website. But I’ll begin exploring its new features soon too

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Comments (48)

48 responses to “It’s Official: Android 8 is “Oreo””

  1. SvenJ

    So, Soon™

    P.S. My Pixel, on public preview, actually got it yesterday late. Had server issues most of the day, but that finally cleared up.

  2. James Wilson

    I feel sorry for the developers. Are there any new features with Android O that are not available on earlier versions of Android? Are developers going to be able to take advantage of Oreo but still maintain backwards compatibiliy or do they just develop for the lowest common denominator?

    I noticed one of the features was 'autofill' and showed Twitter. Does this mean you have to log into apps every time you use them currently?

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to James_Wilson:

      You don't have to feel sorry. In fact there is only a small set of things phones not running Android 0 can't do when it comes to apps. The reason for this is Google has Android Play Services which updates phones back to Android 4. something to have most of all the new API's.

      Do a google search for "genius-google-play-services" and it explains it all.

      • James Wilson

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Got it. Interesting and useful. This seems to imply that Google Play Services is a closed set of API to allow developers to use various google specific cloud services such as search, maps, identity management, the store and so on and that those interfaces are being updated rather than the specific runtime features of each OS.

        This would also imply that Android apps would therefore need to be heavily based around Google's products to be able to take advantage of this. If you don't use google - you have to write it all yourself.

        Equally, to take advatange of certain design features like material design, you need at least Android 5.0? What happens if you write an app that uses Material design and you try to install it on a KitKat or older phone (pre 5.0) - does it still work? Will it just not show up in the Store for older devices? What about the loads of new design features in Oreo e.g. font scaling, different ways of using Google ID, background task changes etc. Just don't use them?

        KitKat is only three years old (replaced by Lollipop at the end of 2014) so there is probably quite a few phones out there running this platform. Do developers not use Material on purpose then to target this older crowd? What about other SDK features unrelated to Google Services?

        • Lateef Alabi-Oki

          In reply to James_Wilson:

          The Android Support Libraries provide a backward compatible interface for developers that backports new APIs all the way back to Android 2.0 (Gingerbread).

          So, yes, developers can target new features in Android Oreo, and via the Support Libraries, have those features work seamlessly in older versions of Android all the way back to Android 2.0 (Gingerbread).

      • skane2600

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Interesting. I wonder what the limitations are. Obviously if it solved all compatibility issues there wouldn't be any need for new versions of Android like "Oreo". Google play services would just be updated instead.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to James_Wilson:

      Depends on where the features are implemented. If they're put into Play Store API's, then they can take advantage of them. If they're implemented as system API's, they can only take advantage of them on phones that support that version upgrade.

  3. Delmont

    I wonder if/what Nabisco's response is

  4. jgraebner

    It is important to keep Android updates in perspective. It is true that it will take a long time (if ever) for most non-Google devices to get the update to Oreo. On the other hand, the vast majority of the types of user-facing updates/improvements that usually go into iOS upgrades are pushed out quickly to pretty much every Android device via the Play Store. Google has externalized so much of the Android OS that major version updates are pretty limited to core OS architecture changes.

  5. rameshthanikodi

    How does Google get to use all these trademarks as codename for their software? I mean Microsoft couldn't even get Metro...

    • ozaz

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      Because Google aren't just using the names. The Oreo and KitKat products get significant exposure via Android marketing (just look at the video above).

      There was no benefit to Metro AG from Microsoft using the Metro name.

    • Minok

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      With the conscent of the trademark holders. If there is no confusion or down side to the trademark holder, then its in their interest to approve: free marketing.

      If there is no benefit to them or possible brand confusion (eg the Metro AG chain of stores in Germany , or Sky from Sky plc in the UK ) then they would refuse.

  6. canamrotax

    If the only addition is "search party" to keep phones from bootlooping, I would be OK with just that. My nexus 6P (and my wife's) have not experienced this problem, but I always wonder if the next restart will be the failure point.

  7. wocowboy

    It is pretty understandable that the announcement was short and most people probably didn't even notice that it happened, because the vast majority of Android users will never see the update, at least on any device they might own today. Maybe a few years down the road they might see it on a new phone, when Oreo is 2-3 years old at that time. The Android fragmentation problem really is horrible, considering the previous verzion, Nougat, is only on 13% of phones right now. For all the talk about internet security and security of personal information and data, to rationalize that using a 3-4 year old OS on your most important personal device is perfectly OK is absolutely ridiculous.

  8. MarkG

    My Pixel XL updated easily yesterday, one of the reasons to use the device made by google.

    I do believe the version fragmentation issue is the largest thing holding Android back from becoming more dominate in the US, the question is does google think it is important?

  9. Lauren Glenn

    Interesting how the people who claim Apple gets features well after Android all of the time are quiet when they get a windowed video option which iOS has had for a while.

  10. Elan Gabriel

    Is there such a things as a "de-Googled Android device" ?

  11. Michael Rivers

    Some Nexus phones (quite a few if you believe the Project Fi reps I've talked to) suffer from a bug that keeps them from updating at all. I had to fight Google for months, including writing the BBB, to get them to exchange my Nexus 6P for one that would take updates. Now my 6P won't update to the August security patch. I probably have another extended fight on my hands if I ever want Oreo.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to Michael Rivers:

      I always found my would eventually update, but sometimes it would take awhile. The monthly security patches would sometimes skip for a couple of months and then suddenly catch up in one day. Very sporadic. MS gets a lot of garbage about their update process on Windows machines, but Google is horrible with their Nexus and Pixel devices (I know people that have the same problem with them).

      I gave up and went with the iPhone. It's been a superior experience across the board. Eliminating Android from my life entirely has eliminated a lot of stress. I just use my Windows PC and my iPhone and iPad. Life is much better that way.

  12. jeffrye

    So will it make my phone better or worse? Nougat was a tossup in that I liked the new features but had more app issue that I did with Marshmallow. Maybe it's just my phone but I have a Nexus 5x so I would think it should be pretty good.

  13. webdev511

    Since I have a Nexus 6p I can be part of the 0.00001% of Android devices on 8.0, when release of course.

  14. jimchamplin

    By the end of the year. Maybe. Possibly.

    Who knows? Upgrading a mobile OS is clearly a “hard computer science problem” if the track record of these knuckleheads who build Android phones are to be believed.

    Between them and the carriers, it’s a wonder phones ship with software at all. And yes, this is THE issue that prevents me from going with an Android phone. I’m not very rich. In fact I’m poor as Hell. I have to know that if I have that phone for say... four years, that it will be up to date, secure, and able to run current software. I must KNOW it.

  15. Atoqir

    So cool. My phone might receive this next year when the developer preview for P is released. I said might...cause probably wont.

    I stopped getting excited for Android releases these days.

    • Thomas Parkison

      In reply to Atoqir:

      Pretty much.

      New Android version. YAY! Too bad more than likely your device will never get it.

      Want new software? Silly user, new software is only for new devices. We have a new shiny over here, BUY THAT! And why not, that strategy practically prints the green stuff for the OEMs by the semi-truck full and we fall for it hook, line, and sinker. We should be demanding that the OEMs do their damn jobs to keep the software up to date.

  16. jrickel96

    So about 100 people will get it and no one else will use it until 2019.

  17. MikeGalos

    And the fragmentation continues. now shows:

    Android 6.0 - 20.59%

    Android 4.4 - 12.53%

    Android 5.1 - 12.52%

    Android 5.0 - 5.44%

    Android 7.0 - 4.33%

    Android 4.2 - 2.65%

    Android 4.1 - 1.43%

    And 6 other versions (including Android 7.1) with share below 1%

    Yeah. If I were developing for that platform I'd really care about the 1/4 of my potential customers with a recent version and take advantage of those new features that 3/4 of my market can't use.

    And that's not even counting the OEM customization.

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      If fragmentation was a real problem, you'd have huge issues with apps written for the latest API just not running at all on older releases. That doesn't happen because of the way Google updates the API's through the Play Store - very clever actually. What this does mean though is that if your running plain AOSP without GApps, you might have a problem, so most (all) vendors and custom ROM's will make sure they have access to the Play Store.

      Many make a big deal about Android fragmentation, and on paper it doesn't look good, but for example, my old first gen Nexus 7 is happily running all the latest Google software (and updates) without a problem, despite still running Android 4.4.

      • Thomas Parkison

        In reply to ghostrider:

        Yes, I understand that the Google Play Services updates the APIs on devices going back to Android 4.4 but that doesn't at all fix OS level issues like security vulnerabilities. How is the kernel updated? It can't be updated. How are drivers updated? They can't be updated.

        I do not care about API updates, I care about security of the core OS and that's what is at stake here. Millions of devices out there are not getting properly patched against known vulnerabilities that could be used to remotely take over the device.

        • Nicholas Kathrein

          In reply to trparky:

          Actually Google Play services does also do security updates. I'm not sure how far that goes and it's not as good as getting a OS security update but it does patch things and make sure device much safer than it would be otherwise.

          • Thomas Parkison

            In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

            Can the Google Play Services patch that one vulnerability that allows for hackers to be able to execute remote code on the WiFi chip? It was found a couple of weeks ago. If Google Play Services can't patch that then there's a potential for millions of older devices to get hacked and the user wouldn't be able to do thing about it.

    • Nicholas Kathrein

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Actually they can use most of all the new API's that come out for Android O and to top it off it covers Android 8 down to android 4.2. That is over 90% the market.

      To get an explanation do a Google Search for "genius-google-play-services"

      • Dan

        In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

        Exactly. No fragmentation problem when you deliver API updates through the Play Store.

        • Minok

          In reply to Dan:

          So there is a constantly updated Android 4.2 library that implements all of the new APIs as 4.2 API calls? A small amount of needless duplication I suppose. Do the carriers still stand in the way of those updates? (I thought the carriers in the US stand as gatekeepers to any updates to their phones in the android (and windows phone) OS space? )

        • MikeGalos

          In reply to Dan:

          Really? So you're saying that Android hardware hasn't changed in 5 versions of the system software? Or are you saying there's magic that lets the OS manage to do new features without the hardware being present?

          Or, really, are you saying a few APIs can be emulated for forward compatibility but, really, fragmentation really IS a problem...

          • Nicholas Kathrein

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            You statement was all about the software and fragmentation. If you want faster / better hardware you'd buy a new phone so you'd have an Android 7.1 or better phone. So nothing your saying matters. If it's software fragmentation then Google Play services cover that. 2nd is API's are NOT EMULATED. They are the same API's just updated through Google Play Services rather than the OS. So Fragmentation is NOT a problem. It seems you either didn't read or understand the article. I would paste the direct link but can't do to the site not allowing it.

  18. Lauren Glenn

    Well, i know that I won't be getting Oreo until they're up Android Quiche and I get an Android device used with Oreo on it. I'm not in for spending $1000 on a new phone any more. I'd rather wait a year or two and get someone's old phone who is upgrading to a new one.

    Unless ASUS releases the ASUS Padfone S2 / X2 , then I'll get that.

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