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Samsung Galaxy Android 8.1 Update: 5 Things to Know



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 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 isn’t expected to 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.

More Android 8.1 Updates on the Way

Reports point to a release on other obscure Galaxy devices like the Galaxy J7 Neo and an upcoming flip phone dubbed Samsung W2019.

The flip phone was recently certified with Android 8.1 Oreo on board, not Android Pie, which means we should see the newer version of Android Oreo on board when it arrives in the days ahead.

Like its predecessors, the Samsung W2019 will likely be exclusive to China.

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 Android 9 Pie updates are probably still weeks away and we expect the company to start with the Galaxy Note 9 and Galaxy S9 before moving onto other devices.

There are already ways to get Android Pie on board Galaxy devices, but most Galaxy users will want to wait for official software from Samsung.

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 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 newer releases to come with an updated list of security patches. Samsung recently started rolling out its June security update.

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Shelly

    08/26/2018 at 6:20 pm

    Is low latency audio for samsung galaxy 8.1 important?

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