Over the weekend, OnePlus shipped open beta releases of Android 8.1 for the OnePlus 5 and 5T.
This addresses one of the few common criticisms of the stellar OnePlus 5T, in particular: The handset shipped with a curiously out-of-date Android, version 7, at launch. Not only had Android 8.0 been in the market for a few months by that point, the critics noted, but Google had already started testing Android 8.1 by that point too.
This complaint, while valid, sort of missed the point: OnePlus pledged to quickly bring the OnePlus 5T up to speed with the latest Android releases. And it has done so: In late December, it began beta testing the Android 8.0 update. And a month later, it shipped the final public release of that software.
But OnePlus isn’t done updating the 5T: Over the weekend, OnePlus released its first beta of Android 8.1 support for the OnePlus 5T. (It’s out for the older OnePlus 5 too.) And since I’ve signed up for the open beta program previously, I received this update over-the-air just like any other Android update.
According to OnePlus, the following changes come with this open beta build:
Phone. A new auto pick up gesture lets you answer an incoming call by raising the phone.
System. Added more clock styles for ambient display, optimized full-screen gesture support, updated Android security patch to 2018-02, and general bug fixes and improvements.
Gaming mode. Added new optimizations in gaming mode for a more immersive gaming experience including power saving and pausing adaptive brightness.
OnePlus Switch. Added support to migrate application data, allowing you to switch between devices seamlessly.
Looking at the device, I don’t see any obvious changes, and even some of the stated improvements aren’t there from what I can see. (The ambient clock still offers just analog and digital styles, as before, for example.) The phone answer gesture is obviously an awesome addition.
The Android 8.1 open beta for OnePlus 5 and 5T is available for free from the OnePlus website. I assume the public release will be available within a month.