Google commences rollout of Android 8.1 Oreo update for Pixel and Nexus devices

For those who cannot wait for an over-the-air (OTA) Android 8.1 update to arrive, you can download the firmware and install it manually on your Google Pixel or Nexus device.

Just a week after releasing the final developer preview of the Android 8.1 software, Google has finally begun the rollout of Android 8.1 Oreo its latest and greatest software for its Android-powered devices.

Android 8.1 Oreo. Image: Android Developers Blog

Android 8.1 Oreo. Image: Android Developers Blog

The software update will arrive as a notification for some in the form of an over-the-air (OTA) update and will also be available for manual download and installation.

Apart from bring some much-needed relief for older Pixel and Pixel XL owners by adding some new launcher features from the newer Pixel 2 models, the update also patches some critical vulnerabilities. Google claims that there are about 50 fixes which also includes a patch for the major KRACK WPA2 Wi-Fi vulnerability.

As for the aesthetic changes, Pixel and Pixel XL owners will be happy to know that their phones are now almost on par with the Pixel 2’s launcher. The 8.1 update brings the new Google Search bar at the bottom of the homescreen, just above the navigation bar, where it can be reached easily.

Other updates come to the launcher that will now, just like the Pixel 2, change the colour theme from white to black depending on the wallpaper selected. Finer and less noticeable touches from the Pixel 2 like that barely noticeable tint (black or white) also makes it to both the lockscreen and the homescreen.

Android 8.1 Oreo is now available for download

Android 8.1 Oreo is now available for download

We recently reviewed the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. In our extensive review of these two smartphones from Google, we also emphasised on how the Pixel Visual Core was not really active or available of developers yet. Well, 8.1 also awakens that monster of an IPU, which will now make the Visual Core hardware available for third-party app developers.

The roll-out of Android 8.1 will only be available for the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, the Pixel, Pixel XL, the Pixel C, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X. You can head here to download the factory images and full OTA links to download and install them manually. Else you can simply wait for the notification to arrive on your smartphone.

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