Google gave us 64 days to get used to Android 8.0 Oreo being the latest version of Android. While zero third-party OEMs have upgraded to the latest version, Google is already dropping a developer preview for the next version of Android on the world. Two days ago it released the Android 8.1 Developer Preview, and after a solid day of trying to flash it, totally bricking a Pixel 2, and later having Google pull the update files because they didn’t work, we’re here to report what Android 8.1 is actually like.

Like most of the .1 releases these days, it’s full of some minor, but important, updates that probably just weren’t ready in time for Android 8.0.

Pixel 2 features get back ported

When I reviewed the Pixel 2’s software, I said I expected many of the features to eventually be back ported to AOSP (Android Open Source Project). The 8.1 AOSP code drop hasn’t happened yet, but we’re already seeing the Pixel 2 launch features make it out to a wider selection of phones. Above you can see a gallery from the Pixel 2 review, but here anything labeled “Pixel 2” is now open to more phones running Android 8.1. These changes are:

  • A new Pixel home screen with the “At a glance” widget and bottom search bar. (Pixel 1 and 2 only.)
  • “Dark” and “light” themes that automatically kick in based on your wallpaper.
  • A new clock icon with moving hands.
  • A new Settings design with a top search bar.
  • A new power menu.
  • Use of the “Product Sans” font in the Assistant, update screen, and setup.

Non-Pixel 2 devices won’t get the Pixel 2’s new wallpapers, but those are easy to acquire. Google Lens arrived on the Pixel 1 (but not the Nexuses) a few days ago.