Google is already hard at work on the next version of its mobile OS, Android 8.1. As such, the Developer Preview is out now and can be had on a number of Nexus and Pixel devices. Those devices include the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel 2 XL.
You may notice that the Pixel 2 isn’t on that list, and that’s because it appears there are issues with the image file. In fact, well-known Android dissecter Ron Amadeo even ended up with a bricked Pixel 2, thanks to a corrupted install.
Android 8.1 update statuses:
Pixel 2: Totally bricked by image. Only loads bootloader. Can’t boot 8.0 now either. Might have to RMA.
— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) October 26, 2017
Luckily, it looks like he ended up reviving his Pixel 2.
IT’S ALIVE!!!!!!! My Pixel 2 is back! Get new Platform Tools. Flash Android 8.0 using the “flash all” script.https://t.co/S0TZnH8MxZ
— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) October 27, 2017
It’s more than likely Ron isn’t the only one who had issues with the update, so it looks like that’s the reason Google took it down for now. There’s no telling when Google will release a fix, but you can be sure one is already in the works.
What’s new in Android 8.1?
Don’t expect any major changes, as this is just a .1 release, after all. That said, there are a few new things worth mentioning.
- Dark/light UI theme based on wallpaper
- Semi-transparent Quick Settings panel
- The Settings menu is now visually the same as on the Pixel 2
- New Oreo Easter Egg (It’s an actuall Oreo, finally!)
- Navigation bar now dims when inactive
- Pixel 2-style Power Menu for all!
- A bunch of other smaller changes and big fixes
For the full list of everything new, check out this article on XDA-Developers, or read Ron Amadeo’s hands-on with Android 8.1, over on Ars Technica. I can’t personally comment on anything just yet since the Pixel 2 update isn’t available right now.
How to get Android 8.1 right now
Assuming you’re on one of the aforementioned Nexus or Pixel devices (and not the Pixel 2), you have a couple of options to update to Android 8.1. The easiest way is to enroll your device in the Android Beta Program. Once you enroll, you should get a notification to install the OTA. If not, you can check for it manually via Settings -> System -> System Updates.
Your other option is to download the system image and flash it manually. You can grab the appropriate file for your device from the Android Developers page.
There will likely be one more Developer Preview sometime in November, with a final Android 8.1 release sometime before the end of December. We’ll be sure to keep you updated as new updates roll out.