It's time for the annual guessing game to begin!
Android Oreo is here, and while many are still waiting for their phone's Nougat update, it's still worth looking forward.
Android Oreo is Google's eighth full version of Android and brings one major shift in strategy that might mean we're not waiting for updates as long as we have been. Called Project Treble, the system files have been rearranged so that it's easier for the company who made your phone (and the company who made the parts it's built from) to update its software so that it works with updated versions of the Android core.
Other improvements for the interface and security are part of the update, too. New ways to display notifications while still keeping the same layout but letting the user control the amount of information given are coming, as are multi-function icons with unread indicators. These are all features companies building phones will need to implement into its version of Android Oreo in some form or fashion, or not at all. Android is like that — Samsung or Motorola or whoever can do as they please as long as they meet a few standards for access to Google Play. It makes Android more fun, but makes the update situation a little frustrating.
The most important thing about Oreo for many of us is when. As in, when will we see it on our phones? Right now the answer to the question is mostly a guessing game, though some of the guessing is fairly easy. We'll revisit here as we get official information, but for now, this is what we think the Android Oreo landscape is going to look like.
Update September 2017: We've heard "official" word from a few companies about their commitment to Android Oreo. Here's what we know.
- ASUS has confirmed the Oreo update for the ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 4. Expect to see updates "gradually released to all supported devices by the second half of 2018."
- OnePlus says we'll see the Oreo update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T by the end of 2017. We're betting that the OnePlus 5 will also be included because, duh.
- Sony has announced the Oreo update for a long list of Xperia phones, including the Xperia XZs and Xperia X Compact. See the full list here.
- HTC tells us that the HTC U11, HTC U Ultra, and HTC 10 will be getting Oreo. More details and word of other device update plans is coming soon.
- Nokia (HMD Global) says every Android phone it makes will be updated to Oreo including the Nokia 3. More information will be coming.
- Motorola now has a list of phones that will get Android O, including the Moto Z, Z Force, Z Play and their Verizon Droid counterparts. Of course, the newer Z2 and G5 series will get updated, too. After some initial "errors in the marketing system," the G4 Plus is also added to the list. Nice save, Moto.
Google has also done some name dropping. In the announcement for Android Oreo, they tell us that Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony are all scheduled to update some of their phones to Oreo. Of course, we have no sense of a timeline here, so expect some to be sooner and some to be later.
We'll keep updating the list as more manufacturers give us details about their update plans. The original post follows below.
This is an easy one. Google supports its phones with full software updates for two years and security patches for three years. And it doesn't sell a lot of models. These are the phones that will be updated to Android Oreo — in fact, the rollout has already begun.
Of course, we expect to see a new Pixel or two before the holidays, and those will ship with Android Oreo.
Samsung not only makes more phones than any other company, it also makes more different models than any other company. We're going to focus on the high-end models here, and here are our best guesses until Samsung gives us the word from above.
- The Note 8 will ship with Nougat but will be updated to Android Oreo.
- The Galaxy S8
- The Galaxy S8+
- The Galaxy S8 Active
- The Galaxy S7
- The Galaxy S7 edge
- The Galaxy S7 Active
No surprises here. Samsung could probably shoehorn Android Oreo onto the Galaxy S6 and Note 5 series, but the user experience would suffer. Spending time and money to make something worse isn't a good thing and we don't expect it to happen. Also don't be surprised to see some of the inexpensive models like Galaxy A and Galaxy J lines to get an update. These phones are Samsung's bread and butter and updates can make a lot of people happy.
Once again, we're going to focus on the high-end models. And once again, this is pretty easy to predict. We think these phones will see Oreo.
The G5 is conspicuously absent. That's because we just don't think LG is going to update it. It sold poorly, had a very mixed and mediocre customer reaction, and LG would probably just like to forget the whole module thing. So would we.
When you think of Motorola, you think of the cell phone. It invented them. But you don't think of updates, at least not timely ones. Here are our early predictions of which phones get the Android Oreo treatment.
We include Verizon-specific and prepaid models here because Verizon no longer loves to hold updates from you. Besides, other than Google proper, Motorola phones are the easiest to update.
HTC has scaled back the number of models it makes, which is probably a good thing seeing as it's struggling a bit when it comes to finances. That also makes it simple to predict which phones will be updated to Android Oreo. Here's how we see it.
Spoiler: The Desire 530 is a dark horse that I almost put up there. If the component vendors play nice (don't balk at updating any code or want a pile of money to do it) it could get updated. We'll have to wait and see what HTC has to say once Oreo is widely available.
Huawei is the worlds number three smartphone maker, but the majority of its products aren't sold in the U.S. Also, while technically a separate company we're dropping our predictions for Honor here.
Sadly, the Kentucky Fried Chicken phone probably won't get any finger-licking updates. I'm including the Mate 9 and Honor 6X on this list because I have a good vibe about them. I may have to rethink that, we'll have to see.
There are almost 15,000 different Android phones so we can't cover them all. But a few need talked about when it comes to future update prophecy.
- The OnePlus 3/3T, and OnePlus 5 will be updated to Android Oreo. OnePlus no longer caters only to enthusiasts, but it knows its market and will update the phones that need it. (Oreo has already begun rolling out to the OnePlus 3 in a closed beta.)
- The Sony XZ Premium will get an update, and the next model may still be coming in 2017 and ship with Oreo. At least rumors suggest it.
- The BlackBerry KeyONE will see an update, though it will take longer than many would like. BlackBerry has always been slow and methodical when it comes to big platform level updates and this isn't going to change.
That's it for now. Remember, this is early and this is just some educated guessing and a few hints and industry rumors. We fully expect every company to announce something once we get an official release of Android Oreo and we'll keep coming back to keep this page updated when it happens!
Updated September 2017 with details from smartphone manufacturers about their update plans.