Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update: 5 Things to Know

Samsung’s currently rolling Android 8.0 Oreo out to Galaxy devices, but it looks like the company is testing Android 8.1 Oreo on an unreleased device.

As we push into April, Samsung’s Android 8.0 Oreo/Experience 9.0 UI roll out is picking up steam. The Galaxy S8 Oreo update’s widely available and the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update’s finally starting to make progress.

Samsung’s promised a steady stream of Android 8.0 Oreo updates throughout 2018 and those with a Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S7, Galaxy Tab, or any other newer Galaxy device should be on the lookout for the upgrade as we press on into the year.

The company’s Oreo update is currently based on Google’s Android 8.0 software and its own Experience 9.0 user interface. We don’t expect that to change anytime soon. That said, there’s a chance Samsung deploys a newer version of Android 8.0 Oreo.

Last year Google released a newer version of Android Oreo dubbed Android 8.1. Android 8.1 is still the most up-to-date version of the operating system and companies like OnePlus have pushed it out to their devices.

As Samsung’s Oreo roll out picks up steam, and as rumors start to emerge, there will be questions about the company’s plans for Oreo and Android 8.1.

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

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 Android walkthrough.

First Galaxy Android 8.1 Update Rumored

Samsung hasn’t confirmed plans to release Android 8.1 for Galaxy phones and tablets, but the first Galaxy Android 8.1 update is reportedly in development.

According to Galaxy Club, Samsung is testing the Android 8.1 Oreo update on the Galaxy Note 9. The update’s recently showed up in a benchmark. The Galaxy Note 9 shown in the benchmark is an American model known as the SM-N960U.

Samsung’s already confirmed plans to launch the Galaxy Note 9 later this year and it looks like it could arrive with a newer version of Android Oreo rather than Google’s new Android P operating system.

If this happens, it would mirror what Samsung did last year with Nougat.

Samsung Android 8.1 Release Date

Last year Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 8 with Android 7.1.1 Nougat, the first Galaxy device with something other than Android 7.0 Nougat.

The Galaxy Note 8 launched in August and all signs point to a Galaxy Note 9 release in late July or August ahead of Apple’s rumored iPhone 11 release date.

If Samsung decides to release Android 8.1, there’s a chance it holds it back for the Galaxy Note 9.

Some Devices Could 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 with devices like the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 left behind on Android 8.0.

Samsung probably won’t say much about its plans so keep an eye out for rumors and additional Android 8.1 benchmarks as the year goes on.

How to Get Android 8.1 on Your Phone Right Now

There’s no guarantee Samsung will roll out an official version of Android 8.1, but that won’t prevent you from getting it on board a Galaxy 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 months before we see an official release, you’ll need to take advantage of unofficial software.

3 Reasons Not to Install Galaxy Note 8 Oreo & 10 Reasons You Should

Install Android Oreo to Improve Your Note 8's Security

Install Android Oreo to Improve Your Note 8's Security

If you value your security you should probably install the Galaxy Note 8 Oreo update soon after it arrives for your device. 

Samsung continues to release important security patches each month and the Galaxy Note 8's Android 8.0 Oreo update brings the latest patches from Google and Samsung. 

The first batch of Galaxy Note 8 Oreo updates delivered Samsung's March security update, but we expect upcoming releases to come with newer security patches. Samsung recently started rolling out its April security patches. 

If you're curious about the current version, you can read more about the security patches over on Samsung's website

If you failed to download an older security update from another month, you'll get those patches when you go to install Oreo on your Galaxy Note 8 for the first time. Each update comes with important patches to protect you and your phone from harm.  

Samsung's version of Android 8.0 also comes with security improvements to Samsung Pay and enhancements to Find My Mobile.

The changes to Find My Mobile include the ability to remotely back up Secure Folder to Samsung Cloud if you lose your Galaxy Note 8 and a way to lock up Samsung Pass using Find My Mobile.

Android Oreo comes with enhancements to the device's Biometrics. Features that use biometrics like your face, fingerprints, and irises are only available when you use a secure screen lock type like a pattern, PIN, or password.

If you decide to switch to a non-secure screen lock type (Swipe or None), a Galaxy Note 8 running Android Oreo will automatically suspend biometric authentication for unlocking and for verification in apps like Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass. 

Android 8.0 Oreo also enhances the Galaxy Note 8's biometrics with additional security features. 

Features that use the Galaxy Note 8's biometrics (face, fingerprints, and irises) are now only available when you use a secure screen lock like pattern, PIN, or password.

On Oreo when you switch to a non-secure screen lock type (Swipe or None), biometric authentication is suspended for unlocking and for verification in popular apps like Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass.

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