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Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update: 5 Things to Know

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Samsung’s still rolling Android 8.0 Oreo out to select Galaxy phones and tablets, but the update has been joined by Android 8.1 Oreo.

As we push deeper into the fall, Samsung’s Android Oreo roll out is slowing down. That said, the company’s promised several more updates and those of who haven’t been bumped up from Android Nougat should be on the lookout for an update as we push toward the end of the year.

Most of the company’s Oreo updates are based on Google’s Android 8.0 software, but some devices are now receiving a newer version of Oreo.

Last year Google released an updated version of Android Oreo dubbed Android 8.1. Android 8.1 is still the most up-to-date version of the operating system and Google won’t roll out Android 8.1.1 or Android 8.2.

Samsung’s confirmed several Android 8.1 updates and some of them are available right now. These updates will be followed by a wider roll out in the weeks ahead.

Today we want to help answer some of those questions as we outline what we know, and what we think we know, about a potential Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Oreo update.

Android 8.1 Oreo Update

Android 8.1 Oreo was first released for Nexus and Pixel devices in December, 2017. Since then, Google’s released several new Android 8.1 builds with additional security patches and bug fixes.

The Android 8.1 update is a maintenance release, but it comes with some additional features (like speed labels for open Wi-Fi networks), some of which could come to Galaxy phones down the road either in new Android 8.0 builds or in an Android 8.1 update.

For more on Android 8.1 and its changes, take a look at our walkthrough.

Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update

Samsung’s released Android 8.1 alongside upgrades to its Experience UI.

The first Galaxy devices running Android 8.1 were the Galaxy Tab S4, the budget Galaxy Tab A 10.5, the company’s Samsung Go smartphone (known as the Galaxy J2 Core), the Galaxy Note 9, and the Galaxy J5 (2017).

The Galaxy J2 Core, Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy Tab A 10.5, and Galaxy Note 9 all run Android 8.1 out of the box while the Galaxy J5 (2017) is getting bumped to Oreo for the first time.

The Android 8.1 update is rolling out to Samsung Galaxy J5 (2017) models in Poland right now. It’s also pushing to the Galaxy J5 Pro and Galaxy J5 Prime. All of these devices are moving from Android Nougat to Android Oreo.

Android 8.1 is also rolling out to the Galaxy J7 Next and Galaxy J7 Core in select markets. These devices are also moving from Android Nougat to Android Oreo for the first time.

Galaxy J7 users in the United States are also receiving Android Oreo and the software is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, not Android 8.0.

Samsung is also pushing the Android 8.1 Oreo update to the Xcover 4 (SM-G390Y) in Asia and users in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand should be on the lookout for an update. This update appears to come with Samsung Experience 9.5, the same UI on board the Galaxy Note 9.

Android 8.1 is also pushing to the Galaxy Tab 2 Active and the Galaxy Tab A (2016) with Samsung’s November security patches on board.

The Galaxy Tab 2 Active update is rolling out in Europe and the Galaxy Tab A (2016) Android 8.1 update is pushing to users in Asia and the Middle East. We expect more regions to get the update in the near future.

More Android 8.1 Updates on the Way

Reports point to a release on other obscure Galaxy devices like the Galaxy J7 Neo and Samsung’s promised Oreo updates for a handful of other devices in late 2018.

With several devices still lingering on Nougat, we could see additional devices added to Samsung’s Android 8.1 update list in the near future.

Some Devices Will Stay on Android 8.0

While the Galaxy Note 8 launched with Android 7.1.1 Nougat on board, many popular Galaxy devices stayed on Android 7.0 Nougat.

After the Galaxy Note 8 release, Samsung upgraded devices like the Galaxy Tab A 9.7 and Galaxy J5 (2016) with Android 7.1.1 Nougat. However, these devices moved up from Android Marshmallow. Devices that were already running Android Nougat stayed on Android 7.0.

If Samsung follows the same protocol this year with Android 8.0 and Android 8.1, we could see devices move up from Android Nougat to Android 8.1 later in the year (the Galaxy J series is one example) and devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 stay behind on Android 8.0 while we wait for Android Pie.

Samsung’s first official Android Pie updates are coming in January and the company will start with the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 before moving onto other devices.

The company’s released a Galaxy S9 Android Pie beta and it’s available for select Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ models in select regions. We don’t expect a beta for the Galaxy Note 9 at this point.

There are ways to get Android Pie on board other Galaxy devices right now, but most Galaxy users will want to wait for the official software to arrive.

How to Get Android 8.1 Oreo Right Now

If you don’t own a device on Android Nougat or you aren’t planning to buy one of Samsung’s newer devices, you can still get Android 8.1 Oreo on board your device.

There are already ways to get Android 8.1 on Galaxy phones right now and we should see more unofficial Oreo ROMs emerge throughout the year.

If you get sick of waiting around for Samsung, and again it could be weeks before some of you officially get Android 8.1, you’ll need to take advantage of unofficial software.

4 Reasons Not to Install Galaxy S9 Pie Beta & 13 Reasons You Should

Install the Galaxy S9 Pie Beta to Help Samsung

Install the Galaxy S9 Pie Beta to Help Samsung

Trying new features before they're officially released is fun, but your testing will help Samsung improve Android Pie's performance for many others. 

If you're sick and tired of dealing with Android problems on your device, think about trying the Android 9.0/One UI beta on your phone.

Your testing could help Samsung's engineers squash bugs and major performance issues before the official version is released to millions of Galaxy users in January. 

Reporting bugs is extremely easy and your feedback, no matter how small, could help the company provide a much better experience for all Galaxy S9 users come January. 

To send feedback about the Android Pie beta, you need to launch the Samsung+/Samsung Members and post your bug report(s) under the appropriate menu.

It only takes a few minutes and it could have a huge impact on the quality of Samsung's new operating system. 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Shelly

    08/26/2018 at 6:20 pm

    Is low latency audio for samsung galaxy 8.1 important?

  2. Brendan

    10/29/2018 at 8:29 pm

    Does 8.1 have any known bugs like system UI crashing other apps crashing and the phone tending to freeze I use a Samsung Galaxy j3 eclipse had no issues with 7.0 but now my phone is updated to 8.1.0 and it’s very slow and tends to freeze a lot and system UI tends to crash resulting in me having to force restart it by removing the battery

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