This week, Google released the first developer preview of Android 8.1 Oreo, but as expected, the OS is only compatible with a handful of phones.
If you have already purchased and received the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, you can download and install the latest Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview on your phone. The story is the same with respect to those using the original Pixel and Pixel XL as well as 2015’s Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X.
With the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL came a bunch of new features that are not available on the original Pixels. While some of these features, for instance, the squeezable edges, can never make it to the Pixel and Pixel XL due to the hardware aspect, there are others that are already making it to the 2016 handsets thanks to the latest Android 8.1 Oreo.
The first thing you’ll notice is a new, automatic light/dark theme switching, a feature that made its debut with the Google Pixel 2 phones. What this actually means is that the launcher theme is determined by the colors you pick for the wallpaper. In short, darker colors will result in the use of a darker theme and vice versa is true. At the moment, there’s no way to manually change between the themes, but they automatically apply to the app drawer, folders as well as quick settings.
The new Android 8.1 Oreo removes the “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep” option from the Wi-Fi settings, just like it already happened with the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Initially, some thought it was a bug, but the company has now doubled down by removing it from the original Pixels, confirming that it’s indeed a deliberate change.
The latest update is also making life easier for Pixel users by adding a floating power menu to the display screen. When you press and hold the power button, this bar will appear next to it instead of the usual popup that appears at the heart of the display screen. The new floating bar includes power off and restart buttons. Similar to owners of the new Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, those using the OG Pixels should see a search bar at the top of the main settings menu. Of course, this is meant to ease the process of finding a specific setting.
The issue of calibrated color has been hotly contested in the recent past with respect to Android phones in general, but it appears that Google has a plan. At the moment, the updated Google Pixel doesn’t have the Picture color mode sRGB toggle in the Developer options, something that puts it on the same level as the new Pixel 2s that lack the setting, but this is because they come with the calibrated mode as the default.