Android O release date, name and features: Android Oreo now available on Honor 9 and 8 Pro

The update brings speed optimisations, plus a tailored user experience in the form of Smart Tips

Android Oreo, the eighth iteration of Google's mobile OS, has finally been officially unveiled.

The mobile operating system has a handful of new features and several optimisations on the last edition, Android 7 Nougat. Here we roundup the latest news about the latest Android operating system, as well as setting out its key features and availability.

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Android Oreo latest news

02/02/2018:Honor has announced the Android Oreo update is now available on its Honor 8 Pro smartphone, offering speed optimisations and faster booting.The Honor 9 update will follow later, although the company didn't say exactly when it'll land.

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The company explained the headline features of the update include performance enhancements, such as faster booting and limiting background activity to make the user experience more fluid. These features will also make the battery last monger, which is always a welcome addition.

Picture-in-Picture means Honor owners can run two apps concurrently, on one screen, while Notification Dots mean users can see new updates in the corner of the app icon on the homescreen or their App Tray. If you want to see what the update is, you can press and hold to see what the update is and take action, or swipe away to ignore it.

The Android Oreo update's Smart Tips also helps the Honor 8 Pro and Honor 9 learn about your habits, making the experience more tailored to how you want to use it.

The most recently launched Honor View 10 is already running Android Oreo out of the box, while the low-cost Honor 9 Lite, also comes with the update.

07/12/2017: Android 8.1 has started rolling out to Google Nexus and Pixel owners, with other handsets getting the update in the coming weeks.

Android 8.1 isn't a major update to the platform, but it does add some rather interesting new features such as the Pixel Visual Core, which speeds up HDR photo processing on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, while also reducing the pressure it puts on the device's battery. It's designed to be a pretty open feature, with Google planning to produce more functions for it in future updates.

The other notable feature, outside of the usual bug and security fixes, is the Neural Networks API, created to speed up machine processing on-device. It means many applications using machine intelligence will run faster, which is always a bonus given the energy needed to run complicated processes.

Bluetooth devices will display a battery indicator for the connected peripheries as well as the smartphone itself, and some of Android's emojis have been redesigned.

For lower-end devices with between 512MB and 1GB RAM, Google has developed a lighter-weight version of Android Oreo, which makes the most of the smaller processors. It'll also show apps most optimised for less-powered devices in Google Play to make the most of the processing power across the entire experience.

So far, Android 8.1 has been rolled out to Google's Pixel 2,Pixel 2 XL, Pixel,Pixel XL,Pixel C,Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P, with other manufacturers working on their own skins of the update before announcing availability.

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20/11/2017:Is your old OnePlus phone feeling a bit tired? Don't worry - the company has announced that Android Oreo will soon be making its way to the OnePlus 3 and 3T.

The software won't technically be Android Oreo, however - it will be the latest version of OxygenOS, the modified version of Android that OnePlus uses for its devices. OxygenOS 5.0 is based on Oreo, with a couple of additional features developed by OnePlus, such as Parallel Apps (letting you launch twin versions of social media apps and the like) and a new folder design.

While the rollout coincides with the launch of the OnePlus 5T - which is available to purchase from tomorrow - the newer OnePlus 5 and 5T will not be receiving the update for another few months, according to rumours.

OnePlus 3 and 3T owners should make the most of the update however, as this is the last Android version that the devices will be receiving. While security updates will continue to be issued by the company, the phones will not be updated to Android 9.0.

The new OS will be rolling out as an over-the-air update starting today, although it may take a few days to reach your device.

Android Oreo release date and device availability

Android Oreo is generally available now (in theory, at least), having officially launched to the public on 21 August.

This wasn't, however, the first time consumers could try out the new operating system, as it was available as a public beta for some months prior to the launch.

As with all Android updates, it will roll out to devices in phases. Although the code for Android 8 was pushed out to everyone on 21 August, it's not yet ready for any devices. The company revealed, however, that it will be coming to the Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds soon, as they have already entered carrier testing. The Pixel C and Nexus Player will receive the update at the same time.

The company's new 'Project Treble' initiative (see below) should mean that fans without a Google-made device won't have to wait as long to get it as with previous versions, however.

Project Treble

One of the OS' key features will be a significant change to the software's underlying architecture, dubbed Project Treble. This will make it substantially easier for OEMs and device manufacturers to push the latest patches out to their products.

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"One thing we've consistently heard from our device-maker partners is that updating existing devices to a new version of Android is incredibly time consuming and costly," the Android Developers Blog said. "With Project Treble, we're re-architecting Android to make it easier, faster and less costly for manufacturers to update devices to a new version of Android."

Project Treble will cut out some of the steps involved in the release process of Android patches, which have to be created by Google, modified by manufacturing partners and then further customised by actual device-makers before ending up on users' phones.

The change will ensure customers get the latest Android features faster, as well as being able to more quickly plug security holes. The slow speed of updates currently means that many devices can be left vulnerable for months (if not longer) while they wait for a fix to be rolled out.

Project Treble is currently included in the Android O developer preview and will be rolling out as part of the OS' general release.

Project Treble will cut out some of the steps involved in the release process of Android patches, which have to be created by Google, modified by manufacturing partners and then further customised by actual device-makers before ending up on users' phones.

The change will ensure customers get the latest Android features faster, as well as being able to more quickly plug security holes. The slow speed of updates currently means that many devices can be left vulnerable for months (if not longer) while they wait for a fix to be rolled out.

Android Oreo name

For the past several generations, Google has named its Android operating systems after desserts (sweet treats, really) and Android O is no exception.

The company revealed the "Oreo" moniker on 21 August in a post on the Android blog, which also marked the official commercial launch of Android 8 (Oreo's official name).

This is the second time the company has buddied up with a confectionary company for an Android nickname, with Android 4.4 known as "Android KitKat".

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