What’s Android Oreo like, and when will I get it?

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Question

I heard there’s a new version of Android out - what’s it like, and when can I download it on my phone?

Wendy M, via email

Our expert Kim says...

There is indeed a new version of the Android operating system, and it's as sweet as ever. Google revealed Android 8.0 Oreo earlier this week - the latest iteration of the platform, set to make your phone work a little more smoothly.

What's new in Android Oreo?

Oreo doesn't seem like a particularly big update, but it's got quite a few notable tweaks to make Android just that bit better. Things like…

Speed

Changes to the new OS behind the scenes mean your phone should boot up twice as fast, and apps ought to load quicker as well.

'Picture in picture' mode

With Oreo, you can use certain apps in a smaller window in front of another one. Great if you're on a video call and want to check an email while you talk.

Notifications

Notifications are set to be slicker. There are new 'notification dots' - a li'l dot on your app icons telling you you've got alerts, and the ability to view them at a glance. In notification shade at the top, meanwhile, similar alerts are grouped together for easier viewing.

Longer battery life

Google's jiggled things around a bit to save your battery. Doze Mode has been improved, and background activity has been minimised. This stops apps from running in the background quite so much, and may cut your data usage down in the meantime too.

Cooler design

Design tweaks are de rigueur for OS updates, and this one includes stricter guidelines for app icons - so everything should look in sync on your home screen.

Better Bluetooth

Oreo brings support for the latest version of Bluetooth, with support for more audio types and codecs. That means the best quality audio even when you're listening wirelessly.

Emoji! Emoji!! EMOJI!!!!

Loads of new Google emoji! In a new, rounder style instead of blobs! Fairy emoji! Taco emoji! Vomiting emoji! Adorable family emoji! Laughing so hard it's turned sideways emoji!!

When will my phone get Android Oreo?

The first lot to get Android 8.0 Oreo will be those enrolled in the Android beta programme. Google says it'll be available for those lucky folk "soon" - though some users say they're able to download it already.

Other than beta users, the first phones that can download Oreo will be Pixel and Nexus devices: the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and the Pixel C tablet. Again, there's no set timescale here - "soon", says Google - but it'll likely arrive in the next month or two.

As for other Android smartphones… it comes down to each manufacturer. Some models will be able to download Oreo straight away, while others may have to wait a few months. You can usually expect recent major flagships to get big OS updates like this, with older and mid-range devices getting it much further along the line - if they even get it at all. Bit annoying, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles (haha, get it? Because Oreos? Okay, I'll see myself out).

BlackBerry - Has confirmed that the KeyOne will have an Oreo upgrade, but the company doesn't say when, or whether any of its other Android phones will get it too.

HTC - The HTC U11, U Ultra, and 10 will all get Oreo, and they'll be among the first crop of handsets to get the update, no less. It may well arrive before the end of the year.

Huawei - Hasn't confirmed anything yet. Rumours has it that Oreo is being tested on the Mate 9, so that looks promising, and the Mate 10, which launches in October, will likely have it too. Can't guarantee the same for other Huawei devices, though.

LG - Nothing confirmed, but LG works quite closely with Google. It's possible that the latest flagships will be able to upgrade quite early, and the upcoming V30 will almost certainly ship with Oreo.

Motorola - Confirmed that some devices will get Oreo, but hasn't said which ones or when it'll arrive. Anyone's guess, really.

Nokia - Its new smartphones, the Nokia 8, 6, 5, and 3, will get Oreo, and they'll be among the first batch of Androids able to download it. Expect it in a couple of months' time.

OnePlus - The 3 and 3T models will definitely get Oreo, and we can only assume the OnePlus 5 will get it too. It'll land before the end of the year.

Samsung - Takes notoriously long to make the latest OS available on its handsets, but signs do point towards Oreo arriving on your Samsung Galaxy sooner than usual, according to experts. We'd estimate a download early next year for the main flagships, but it could be earlier than that.

Sony - Nothing official, but most industry sources reckon the Xperia X, XA, and XZ will get Oreo. Quite a few other Xperia X models might, too. No word on when, though.

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