US, China, and the smartphone in your pocket

How do the Broadcom, Qualcomm, Huawei, and Trump tariff headlines affect you, and your phone?

It seems the war of words between the United States and China is moving to a war on trade and a fight over intellectual property theft is brewing. President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese exports as a way of retaliating against China’s IP theft. A crackdown on China’s rampant IP issues is long overdue and it’s also a convenient solution to the separate problem of competition in manufacturing between the U.S. and China.

The exact details of the tariffs have been rolling out over the past day or so, with Mr. Trump true to his word, noting that they would cover electronics and IT. The full list of 1300 items across 58 pages is here. With a number of components, such as batteries, displays, and other technologies, the mobile phone industry will be affected by this. It’s more than just a price rise, or being unable to get a Huawei phone through AT&T — Chinese companies play a huge role in multiple facets of the industry. China promptly reciprocated, announcing tariffs on 106 U.S. products at a similar approximate value.

Trump’s tariffs will hurt some electronics and IT being manufactured in China

The end result of the tariff battle could affect the price of your next phone, the network it will connect to, the hardware inside it, and which phones you’re even able to buy from a carrier or a store.

Internals

Starting with many of the important components in your smartphone, including the processors and modems, we come to the failed Broadcom-Qualcomm acquisition. Without the interference of Broadcom ownership, Qualcomm will continue to rule the roost for viable SoC options. Its position is quite broad, although its main patent technologies are being phased out. Currently, its range of patents forces companies like Samsung, which make its own Exynos SoC, to use Snapdragon processors in the U.S. for CDMA support. It’s a massive patent owner, and, like Intel, it’s important to maintaining U.S. competitiveness in ARM, LTE, and 4G and 5G processing.

But Qualcomm faces a raft of difficulties ahead.

“It will have more competitive pressures than ever as Intel, among others, have put a significant amount in R&D to ensure it is a major player,” Angelo Zino, senior industry analyst at CFRA Research, told USA Today.

The company also has its own enormous proposed acquisition prospect — Dutch automotive chip maker NXP Semiconductors for $43 billion — which still needs the approval of China’s competition regulator, the Ministry of Commerce.

Read more: A lack of alternatives to Qualcomm is hurting Android.

Qualcomm owns substantially fewer patents for 4G and 5G networks, which will lessen the need to use their modems and subsequent SoCs for many manufacturers. Apple is already apparently moving away from Qualcomm modems in its 2018 devices.

Handsets

Keeping Huawei’s excellent smartphones out of U.S. hands by prohibiting AT&T and other carriers from selling phones like the Mate 10 and P20 remains a controversial call. According to reports, Best Buy will stop selling Huawei phones as well. It’s only going to get harder to buy Huawei’s devices in the U.S., despite their quality and global popularity.

The Android Authority comment sections and forums are full of people pointing out that the CIA, FBI, and NSA spy on you anyway, so it’s all hypocritical anyway. We can’t know the detailed truth about the national security risks without receiving a pretty high-level security clearance, which leaves us able to assess only what’s been released publicly.

There’s also the less actively talked about angle, another hot forum topic, whereby Trump’s move was actually designed to protect Apple as much as it was about security. Companies like Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola naturally win out when they have fewer competitors. But security has dominated the informed discussions — if Trump really thought he was helping Apple out, he’d have demanded Apple CEO Tim Cook thank him by now!

Regardless, less competition is always bad for consumers hoping to get more for their dollar. The ban is a major stumbling block for Huawei in trying to overtake Apple and Samsung to become the biggest smartphone manufacturer, which has been its stated goal.

Networks and carriers

Huawei is also currently prohibited from supplying its 4G and 5G equipment to the major four carriers. That’s a problem for carriers who find Huawei’s equipment to be far more cost-effective than competitors. Brian Woody, the customer relations chief of Union Wireless, which is allowed to use Huawei equipment, told The Wall Street Journal the Chinese heavyweight is both cheaper and better to work with.

“We’ve had many vendors over the years. Huawei has treated us better than anybody,” said Woody. Without Huawei, Union Wireless would be reduced to just two options for its infrastructure.

Despite the pressures, the U.S. is not alone in being wary of Huawei. The U.K. created the “Cell” as a way for cybersecurity experts to scour Huawei hardware and code for security risks to both Great Britain and consumers. More than 100 security concerns were raised by the project in 2016.

The US is not alone: the UK and Australia have significant fears about Huawei

Australia shares many of the same national security concerns, too. The Australian government blocked Huawei from being able to tender and supply equipment for the significant National Broadband Network project. Similar fears are emerging about Huawei supplying 5G network equipment to telecom companies.

Earlier this year, the Australian government even went as far as taking over the building of a high-speed internet cable between Australia and the Solomon Islands, after national security concerns were raised over Huawei Marine Services winning the contract for such a strategic asset. Australian taxpayers were stuck with the bill, and Chinese news services called Australia, “oversensitive to China’s growing presence.”

Regardless of the good that might come for security, costs to carriers and therefore costs to consumers look high. Prices may go up if the migration towards 5G happens without Huawei/ZTE equipment, which is understood to be up to 70 percent cheaper than options from Scandinavian companies like Ericsson or Nokia. Don’t expect much of a discount from the likes of AT&T and Verizon anytime soon while the FCC hold their position:

Protectionism points to higher costs – for you, and everyone

Bringing this all back, how does it affect the smartphone in your pocket? Cost-wise, it doesn’t look good. Qualcomm entrenched, at least for now, which is good for the U.S., but bad for Android. Huawei remains locked out of carrier deals and even shopfronts. It’s virtually guaranteed that carrier prices will stay at their level for some time to come.

That leaves the tariffs as the great unknown.

Overall, President Trump’s actions have created a lot of uncertainty. We don’t know what he might try next with China, or even our allies for that matter. What about the next foreign takeover? We know he’s is keen on maintaining U.S. supremacy in the world (although not if it involves Amazon) and technology is a huge part of that. But who can stop China? If even companies like Apple, which designs its devices in the U.S. but manufactures them in China, are affected by the tariffs, expect fireworks.

The only thing we can say is geopolitical uncertainty will affect your next smartphone purchase, and it’s likely going to hit you in the wallet.

PUBG Mobile Review – does it live up to the original’s legacy?

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) lit the world on fire last year. It sold millions before it even left Early Access on Steam, and kicked off the battle royale gaming craze we’re experiencing right now. Now this FPS juggernaut is on mobile.

In PUBG you play as a mercenary who parachutes, along with up to 99 other players, onto an island. Once they land, players scavenge for weapons, ammo, armor, and other supplies in a last-man-standing death match. The game’s map starts large, but quickly shrinks as the electrical storm around the island collapses into progressively smaller circles, forcing players together as the game goes on.

It’s a simple concept with tons of room for complexity. You land on an island with 99 other people and only your fists. Find a gun and stay in the circle. Last one standing wins. Is it worth playing? That’s what we aim to find out in this PUBG Mobile review.

Features

The Mobile version of PUBG has pretty much all the features of its PC counterpart, with a few exceptions. The game only offers PUBG’s original map, Erangel — an abandoned, vaguely Eastern European 8km x 8km island. Everything from the PC version of this map — from the abandoned military base to the burned out nuclear power plant — has made it to the Mobile version of the game.

The mobile version of PUBG has pretty much all the features of its PC counterpart.

All the weapons, gear, and vehicles available when PUBG first exited Early Access are here too. The guns it’s added since are absent, as is the game’s second map, Miramar.

The game is totally free. You can login as either a guest or with Facebook to play. Gameplay and daily login rewards will earn your account experience and battle points, which can be spent on crates which contain a random piece of clothing for your character. Unlike in the PC version, you don’t start with any available clothing, but getting at least a pair of pants doesn’t take too long.

Getting crates is pretty quick.

The matchmaking works pretty quickly when queueing in squad, duo, or solo mode, though many of the options from the PC version are absent. Creating a private custom match doesn’t seem to be possible just yet. There’s a menu option for creating a “room,” but it appears to be for creating chat rooms, and also doesn’t it seem to actually work yet.

I never had to wait long to be matched with a squad, though connection issues were pretty common. Every team I played with had at least one player disconnect at the outset of the game. I never ran into any connection issues when I played, but at least one teammate was unresponsive in most games.

The game has built-in voice chat, which works, though it feels like most players just use their phone’s speaker for a mic. If the mic is on the bottom of the phone, as is common, it can lead to some pretty annoying extra noise when players’ palms rub against it.

Gameplay

PUBG Mobile

It’s all well and good if PUBG Mobile faithfully recreates the island’s geography and lets you use all the guns and drive all the cars of the original game, but if the controls aren’t up to the task, everything falls apart.

To be clear: the controls in PUBG Mobile aren’t as good or accurate as the PC version. Duh.

The game uses virtual joysticks for player movement and camera control, and a big button with a bullet on the right will shoot your gun. It’s a little clumsy at first, but actually feels pretty fluid after a few games.

It’s a little clumsy at first, but actually feels pretty fluid after a few games.

The game offers a few different control options to make everything feel a bit better and get rid of the awkwardness of hunting for buttons you can’t find by feel. A floating shoot button, which moves to wherever your thumb last touched, makes shooting as simple as tapping where your finger already is, rather than having to reorient your hand to reach the spot that fires the gun. Items are automatically picked up, sorted, and equipped in game, which cuts down on be some tedious menu management. The game also offers gyroscopic control options, which I’ve never enjoyed, but some swear by.

PUBG Mobile review

Little touches like automatic item pickup improve playability a lot.

Even with those options, the game still feels a little clumsy. That clumsiness actually impacts what kinds of tactics and gameplay are effective. In the PC version, snipers can be pretty dominant. Erangel is a pretty wide open map, there are long stretches of relatively even terrain dotted with hills. Finding a good vantage point to pick people off isn’t hard. The precision of a mouse and keyboard makes this even easier.

Fights in PUBG Mobile are more oriented around mid- and close-range engagements. It’s hard to hit people really consistently at a distance in this game. It’s even harder when accounting for bullet drop. Automatic weapons, as well as shotguns, with their wider reticles, seem especially potent here.

PUBG Mobile review

Driving and shooting is a more viable strategy late in the game.

Vehicles often play a larger combat role too. In the PC version of PUBG, vehicles become a liability as the map gets smaller — they’re big, loud, and hard to miss. In PUBG Mobile, they’re actually pretty easy to miss. A fast moving target like a jeep, especially with someone in the passenger seat with a gun, can very easily ride around the perimeter of the circle and pick people off, even near the end of the game.

Performance

PUBG Mobile

The game really struggles to run when dropping onto the island.

What makes PUBG a pretty good-looking game on PC is more or less missing in the Mobile version. The lighting and particle effects that really sell the game’s look have all been pretty much stripped out, and probably for good reason. Those kinds of elements can be pretty demanding for hardware. The result is pretty bland-looking recreation. The terrain, characters, and weapons all look more or less the same as the PC version, just with muddier, lower-resolution textures.

The game ran pretty steady on my LG G6, but it definitely had its fair share of hiccups. I wouldn’t recommend playing on anything much older than that. I tried loading the game on its minimum iOS option, the iPhone 5s, and it crashed before loading the main menu every single time. I’d imagine Android phones of a similar age would struggle just as much.

Regular gameplay ran fine most of the time. There were almost always serious frame rate drops when parachuting down to the island, but that’s not totally shocking. It cleared up as soon as I landed, when the game no longer had to render the whole island.

The audio is pretty awful. In most versions of PUBG, hearing the direction and volume of noises like gunshots and footsteps is pretty important to learning an enemy’s location.  It’s a lot harder to tell this information in the mobile version. Footsteps were especially loud and all sounded pretty much the same to me. Regardless of where they were, once someone was within 15 or 20 feet of me, it all sounded the same. It all sounded bad too.

Conclusion

You don’t need to be as calculating to go far in PUBG Mobile. Part of that is due to the inclusion of bots at early levels, which let you get used to game’s controls without being totally exposed to its normally rather punishing difficulty. Even then, the game’s imprecise controls make for a looser, less tense experience. I think that’s a shame.

What really makes PUBG great on PC is the tension of having to methodically make it to the middle of the map as you alternate between cat and mouse, never knowing where the next enemy will pop up. It’s a very different kind of shooter experience than most games, and a lot of that is missing in PUBG Mobile.

PUBG Mobile is fun, but it’s not very tense.

PUBG Mobile is fun, but it’s not as tense as its PC counterpart. The stakes feel lower, and it misses out on a lot of what makes the PC version of the game so special — In essence, it feels a little hollow.

PUBG has gotten numerous updates and improvements since it launched. PUBG Mobile will probably get similar treatment; The Miramar map’s already made it’s way to the Chinese version. The game will no doubt improve and maybe one day offer the same tension as the PC version.

If you’re looking for a new mobile shooter, you could do a lot worse than PUBG Mobile. The game is all there, it works, and it’s free. But if you want the same strategic, nail-biting experience of the PC version, you may be a little disappointed.

What do you think of PUBG Mobile? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, also be sure to check out our PUBG Mobile tips and tricks feature, as well as our guide on how to change your name and appearance in PUBG Mobile.

That’s it for our PUBG Mobile review. Looking for more first person shooters for mobile? Be sure to check out our best mobile FPS guide.

5 best alternatives to Google’s URL shortener

At the end of March this year, Google announced its plans for shutting down the goo.gl URL shortening service. Those who have never used the service before won’t be able to create new short links starting from April 13, 2018, while existing users can continue to use all features until March 30, 2019. The service will be discontinued on that day, but all the links created will still work.

If you’ve been using Google’s URL shortener, it’s time to think about transitioning to a different service. In this post, we take a look at the five best ones available.

1. Bitly

Bitly

Bitly is one of the most popular and powerful URL shorteners out there. Just paste a link into the text box on Bitly’s home page, click the “Shorten” button, and you’re good to go.

To take things to the next level, you can create a free account that lets you customize your shortened URLs, track click rates, and more. Keep in mind there are a few limitations, as you can only create 500 branded links and 10,000 non-branded links per month. The company also offers paid plans that get rid of these limitations and provide more in-depth reports.


2. Ow.ly

goo.gl alternatives Hootsuite

The Ow.ly link shortener is free of charge, but you will need to create a Hootsuite account to use it. The service lets you shorten links, measure traffic, and much more, although it doesn’t have all the features offered by paid plans.

It’s a great tool for people who want to see various reports for the links created, while those who only want to shorten links and don’t care about tracking are better off using one of the alternatives that don’t require an account. Interested in giving Ow.ly a go? Visit the tool’s website via the button below.


3. TinyURL

goo.gl alternativesWebToolsWiki

This is a simple URL shortener you can use for free — there are no paid plans available. Just visit TinyURL’s website, paste the link into the text box, and the tool will do the rest. All links start with tinyurl.com/, but you can customize what comes after.

The tool has a drawback, which is that it doesn’t have any other features aside from shortening links. That means you can’t do stuff like track links, see reports, or do A/B testing. But it does offer a quick way to shorten URLs of the websites you visit that lets you avoid the whole copy/paste thing. You can add TinyURL to your browser’s toolbar and create a link of the website you’re on by clicking it. Sure, a Chrome extension would be a better option, but this works just as well.


4. Ouo.io

goo.gl alternatives Ouo.io

This tool is different than the others mentioned in this post. It lets you shorten URLs and make money with them through advertising — those who click on your shortened links will be shown an ad before getting redirected to a website.

How much money can you make? According to the company, you’ll bring in $4.1 for every 1,000 views if you’re from the US. If you live somewhere else, check out the payout rates here. But of course, looking at ads before being redirected is annoying for users, so this tool isn’t for everyone. You can sign up for the service free of charge via the button below.


5. Is.gd

goo.gl alternativesIs.gd

The last alternative to Google’s goo.gl is called Is.gd and is super simple. It sticks to the basics, allowing you to quickly shorten a link on the home page without having to sign up for an account. It also lets you customize links, although each has to start with “is.gd/” (example: is.gd/androidauthority).

Read next: How to Google reverse image search on Android devices

The great thing about it is that although you don’t need an account, you can still check a basic report that tells you how many people clicked on a link. To do so, all you have to do is add a dash at the end of the link (example: is.gd/androidauthority-) and click “I want to see statistics for this URL.”


There you have it, folks. These are the top five alternatives to Google’s URL shortener, although there are plenty of other great options out there to choose from. If you think we’ve missed any major ones, do let us know by posting a comment down below.

Latest LineageOS build includes misjudged April Fools’ gag (Update)

Update (04/10/2018): The LineageOS team has issued an apology following their April Fools’ joke that made headlines last week.

The joke consisted of two parts — one relating to cryptocurrency and another, which attracted the most complaints, involved a persistent “validation error” notification (read more on the specifics in the original coverage below). 

In a message on its official blog (via Android Police), LineageOS’s ciwrl said that, in hindsight, the notification “was in bad taste for a platform such as ours.”

“While we did not set out to inflict harm to our users, its clear by the feedback that we’ve received that many saw [the notification] as not only unfunny, but as a degradation of the trust users and maintainers,” wrote ciwrl.

“To our users, we apologize and promise to do better next year.”

The post also laid out an apology to the LineageOS “maintainers and contributors” — whom much of the online hate was directed at — and it was explained that the joke wasn’t made on “a teamwide or even Project Director-driven consensus.” Which part of the team was responsible, we don’t know.

Malicious or not, trust in the LineageOS group appears to have taken a beating as a result of the gag. How far this apology goes to repairing that faith remains to be seen.

 

Original coverage (04/06/2018): The folks behind LineageOS included an April Fools’ Day joke in their most recent builds, but it apparently took until April 4 for the gag to be ready, and some people are not smiling.

The new builds include a “validation error” notification that, when tapped on, reveals LineaGenuine details. LineaGenuine is LineageOS’ tool that determines whether you are running a certified build of the Android fork.

In this case, the details state that your device is uncertified and that LOSCoins must be mined to avoid malicious use of your device’s resources. LOSCoins is the April Fools’ gag and a git-based blockchain that rewards folks for commits.

The longer they “marinate” — LineageOS’ term for failing to review submitted code — the more LOSCoins they are worth.

The joke is a topical one that takes a crack on Google’s recent move to block its apps on uncertified devices. Android Police also found that everyone gets 2,000 LOSCoins in a dedicated Wallet app and that the crypto assets were legit.

Android Police

The problem is that you may not know this was a joke if you did not tap on “Learn more” in the LineaGenuine pop-up. This takes you to the latest changelog post, which details the April Fools’ joke at the bottom of the post.

Some thought the joke was in poor taste, while others believed the “Validation error” warning was genuine and were concerned. A dedicated Reddit thread on the subject has more than 300 comments, many expressing anger or disappointment.

Making matters worse, the only way to get rid of the notification is by manually disabling it through a root shell.

The April Fools’ joke does not affect LineageOS’s usability otherwise — but even so, the somewhat grim warning, in the already sensitive area of flashing custom ROMS, has put a damper on a joke that could have raised a smirk.

Pokémon Go hits right in the nostalgia with new Kanto event

  • Pokémon Go features a new event that centers around Kanto, the series’ starting region.
  • The event nets players increased spawn rates on certain Pokémon, new boss raids, and more.
  • The event has only gone live in Japan, though that could change soon.

Even though Pokémon Go now offers creatures from the Johto and Hoenn regions, it did not forget where it started from. The Kanto region where the series as a whole got its bearings, making Pokémon Go’s new Kanto event all the more special.

Already live in Japan, the event will increase the spawn rates of first-generation starter Pokémon Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. The increased spawn rates do not make the creatures easier to capture, though you should have more chances to do so.

Elsewhere, you can team up with other trainers to take on and capture Snorlax and Aerodactyl in raids. To encourage participation, the in-game shop will feature special boxes that include raid passes. As of this writing, we do not have pricing information on the boxes.

Finally, the event will grant players double candy when they capture and transfer Pokémon.

Unfortunately, we do not know when the Kanto event will go live in the U.S. It already went live in Japan and is slated to last through April 17, and there is no word from the U.S. Pokémon Go blog yet.

Either way, the recent addition of Mew means that every Pokémon from the Kanto region is attainable. Also, a recent datamine gave us a first look at over 100 first- and second-generation shiny Pokémon.

We do not know when the shiny Pokémon will be available, though an upcoming event could be the release date.

Stunning sci-fi adventure Returner 77 coming to Google Play Store

If you like games that push mobile devices to their limits and need a new puzzle adventure title in your life then you might want to check out Returner 77—a sci-fi mystery title that launches on Android tomorrow via the Google Play Store.

Developed by the somewhat awkwardly named Danish studio, Fantastic, yes, Returner 77 is a 3D adventure game in the vein of the Myst series with first-person, escape the room-style puzzles which should please fans of games like The Room and the excellent Agent A.

In Returner 77, you play as one of the final survivors from Earth trapped on an alien spaceship. Your mission is to escape the vessel and discover the fate of your ally, Colonel Ling, and the rest of the human race.

The first thing you’ll notice from looking at the screenshots or the trailer above is that the graphics and art style look pretty spectacular. Fantastic, yes says that it is dedicated to crafting stunning cinematic experiences. Judging by the glowing reviews on Apple’s App Store for its iOS release last year, that effort hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans of the genre.

Fantastic, yes has also confirmed today that a follow-up, codenamed Core Two, is in development for a summer release in collaboration with 3D animation company M2 Entertainment.

You’ll be able to download Returner 77 from the Play Store via the button below from tomorrow (April 11). While we don’t have pricing confirmation just yet, it seems likely it’ll match the one-off $4.99 fee on the App Store. Returner 77 is also launching tomorrow on PC via Steam.

Is this the best looking game on Android to date? Be sure to let us know your thoughts on Returner 77’s visuals in the comments below.

Google Play: Download Returner 77

New Instagram Focus setting creates portrait mode pictures right in the app

  • Instagram is rolling out a new feature to certain Android devices called Instagram Focus.
  • Using Instagram Focus, you can take portrait mode-style images right in the Instagram app.
  • Only Android devices with native portrait mode capabilities will be able to use Instagram Focus.

Back in March, we told you about how a hidden portrait mode setting in Instagram’s code pointed to the possibility of a fully-fledged portrait mode camera in the app. It looks like our assumption was dead on, as today Instagram announced Focus, a portrait mode camera feature for select Android devices.

If you have an Android phone that supports portrait mode (otherwise known as the bokeh effect, where objects in the foreground are more in-focus than objects in the background), you could already use your native camera app to take a shot and then upload that pic to Instagram.

However, with this new Instagram Focus feature, you can take portrait mode images within Instagram itself, avoiding the need to bounce from one app to the other. Of course, the feature only works if you have an Android device that is capable of taking bokeh-style photos.

To use Focus, open up the Instagram camera. At the bottom, you can select different camera modes. Use the selector to choose Focus, which is right between Boomerang and Superzoom. Once you’re in Focus mode, set up your shot; you’ll notice images in the background automatically blur out.

Once you have a shot you like, tap the screen to capture the images, or tap-and-hold to record a video. Then add filters, stickers, text, or whatever you want to your image and before posting it to your feed.

The Focus feature appears in Instagram version 39.0, so you’ll need to make sure you’re on that version before trying out this new camera setting.

Instagram doesn’t list out which Android devices will support Focus, but generally, any device that has a portrait mode feature should work. That includes major flagship devices like the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, the OnePlus 5T, and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, among others.

NEXT: Best Android smartphone cameras

Android 8.0 Oreo update tracker – April 10, 2018

Welcome to our Android 8.0 Oreo update tracker. Following its public release in August 2017, Oreo is steadily finding its way to more and more Android smartphones.

Google has been working to reduce fragmentation and ensure that more devices receive the latest Android version in a timely fashion. It’s still a work in progress though; the Android 8.0 Oreo update is still far from widespread, as the Android version distribution figures show.

You’re probably wondering “When will my phone get Oreo?” This tracker will help with that question. We’re collecting all the information we can find on the rollout of Android 8, including past OTAs and upcoming releases.

Without further ado, here’s what we know so far about the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

What’s new in Android 8.0 Oreo? We have all the features here

Looking ahead at Android P

Still waiting for Nougat? Check out our Nougat tracker

Android Wear update tracker


Got Oreo?


Before we start

As with older versions, the update to Android 8.0 Oreo has been released by Google, but many factors influence its actual availability. First and foremost, your manufacturer and carrier (in case you own a carrier version) control when your phone will get Oreo. Other factors are your specific model, your location in the world, and whether you bought the device unlocked or through a carrier.

Just because your specific phone or tablet is not on the list, it doesn’t mean it won’t get the Oreo update. The opposite is also true. We make efforts to collect accurate information for all manufacturers, but mistakes happen – if you spot one, let us know.


Key Android 8 Oreo update features

We have a complete overview of all the new features in our Android 8.0 Oreo review. Check it out to see what’s new in Oreo, including design changes, under-the-hood tweaks, and new features. Below we have our video overview of Oreo and a quick list of key features you should know.

  • Redesigned settings menu
  • Persistent notifications
  • Adaptive icons
  • Snooze notifications
  • Notification channels
  • Notification dots
  • Wi-Fi Assistant
  • Picture-in-picture mode
  • Background execution limits
  • Vitals
  • Autofill API
  • Project Treble
  • High performance Bluetooth audio
  • Android Instant Apps

Google Oreo update

Google began rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo to its Nexus and Pixel devices on August 21, 2017. Factory images and OTA links are available on the Android Developers website and if you need any help flashing the image, follow our straightforward guide to installing Android Oreo manually.

On December 5, Google started rolling the Android 8.1 Oreo update, bringing a handful of optimizations.

The following devices are officially receiving Android 8.1 updates. Click on the links to get the latest factory image.

The following devices have received updates to Android 7.1.1 Nougat, but will not receive updates to Android 8.0:


Samsung Oreo update

The following Samsung devices are confirmed to receive the Oreo update in the coming months:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 Prime
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1

Related content:

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus

  • November 2, 2017 – International: Samsung kicks off the Android 8.0 Oreo beta program for Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
  • November 10, 2017 – International: Samsung is rolling out the second Oreo beta firmware starting in the UK.
  • November 15, 2017 – United States: Second beta pulled in US due to major network bug.
  • November 23, 2017 – International: Samsung is rolling out the third Android 8.0 Oreo beta for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
  • December 14, 2017 – International: Samsung rolls out fourth Oreo beta for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.
  • January 19, 2018 – International: PSA: Smart Switch wiping data on Galaxy S8, S8 Plus for Oreo beta users.
  • January 25, 2018 – US: Samsung has revealed that the Android 8.0 Oreo beta testing program for the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will end on Friday, Jan. 26 in the US.
  • February 2, 2018 – T-Mobile US: T-Mobile is now testing Android Oreo for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus—the last step before the update’s full deployment.
  • March 1, 2018 – International: Here’s the changelog for the Galaxy S8 Oreo update
  • March 12, 2018 – Canada Unlocked: Samsung Canada revealed it would start rolling out the Oreo update from March 19, 2018.
  • March 16, 2018 – UK: The Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus in the U.K. are now receiving their Android 8.0 Oreo updates.
  • March 16, 2018 – Verizon US: Verizon is rolling out Oreo to its Galaxy S8 devices.
  • March 19, 2018 – Sprint, T-Mobile US: Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices on Sprint and T-Mobile are now receiving their Android 8.0 Oreo updates.
  • March 20, 2018: Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus users in Canada are also now receiving the Oreo update on Bell, Fido, Freedom Mobile, Rogers, Telus, Videotron, and Virgin Mobile.
  • March 20, 2018 – AT&T US: AT&T is rolling out the Android 8.0 Oreo update to the Galaxy S8.
  • March 21, 2018 – AT&T US: According to one Android Authority reader, AT&T is now rolling out Android Oreo to the Galaxy S8 Plus.
  • April 4, 2018 – Unlocked US: Android Oreo is rolling out to unlocked Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus devices in the US.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

  • March 29, 2018 – T-Mobile US: T-Mobile users can update to Oreo by checking for updates in Android settings, or by downloading directly from Samsung using instructions provided here.
  • April 2, 2018 – AT&T and T-Mobile US: Android 8.0 Oreo started rolling out to AT&T and T-Mobile units of the Galaxy S8 Active.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

  • March 12, 2018 – Canada unlocked: Samsung Canada revealed it would start rolling out the Oreo update from March 18, 2018.
  • March 16, 2018 – France unlocked: Users in the European country began reporting signs of the Oreo update earlier today.
  • March 27, 2018 – AT&T US: Users are reporting in droves that the OTA Oreo update has appeared on their devices.
  • March 30, 2018 – Sprint and Verizon US: Oreo is now available for Sprint and Verizon users in the US.
  • April 2, 2018 – T-Mobile US: T-Mobile became the last major US carrier to roll out Oreo to its Note 8 subscribers.
  • April 3, 2018 – Unlocked US: According to multiple user reports on Reddit, Android Oreo is rolling out to unlocked Galaxy Note 8 units in the U.S..

Samsung Galaxy S7/Edge

  • March 12, 2018 – Canada unlocked: According to Samsung Canada, Oreo will start hitting the S7 from “this summer.”

LG Oreo update

LG V30

  • November 28, 2017 – South Korea: The Oreo beta is officially rolling out to registered V30 and V30 Plus users in South Korea.
  • December 26, 2017 – South Korea: LG V30 gets Android Oreo update in South Korea.
  • March 12, 2018 – Verizon US: LG V30 users on Verizon report receiving Android Oreo update.
  • March 21, 2018 – Sprint US: Sprint has now joined Verizon in rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo to LG V30 users in the US.
  • March 28, 2018 – AT&T US: Multiple users on Reddit have reported that AT&T has rolled out Android 8.0 Oreo to the LG V30.

Read more: LG V30 update tracker

LG G6


Huawei Oreo update

Huawei P10/P10 Plus

  • January 8, 2018 – Europe: Huawei has launched the Android Oreo beta program for the P10 and P10 Plus in Europe.
  • March 15, 2018 – International unlocked: Huawei rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo update for P10 and P10 Plus.

Huawei Mate 9

  • October 10, 2017 – International unlocked: Huawei has launched the Android Oreo beta program for the Mate 9.
  • December 6, 2017 – China: Owners of certain Chinese Mate 9 variants can manually upgrade to EMUI 8.0 by requesting it via the Huawei Mobile Services app
  • January 31, 2018 – US Unlocked: Android Oreo update rolling out to the Huawei Mate 9 in the US.

Honor Oreo update

On February 8, 2018 Honor announced that it will roll out the stable versions of the Oreo updates for the Honor 7X and Honor 8 Pro in Q2 2018 (April-June). A beta program would be launched in the mean time. The company also said the Honor 8 would not be updated to Oreo.

Honor 7X

  • March 1, 2018 – Europe Beta: The Honor 7X EMUI 8.0 (Oreo) beta is now live in Europe.
  • March 15, 2018 – Europe Beta: Honor has started informing FUT (Friendly User Test) members that the Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 trial will begin rolling out today to the Honor 7X.

Honor 6X

  • September 6, 2017 – India: Honor announced that the Honor 6X and Honor 8 Pro will be upgraded to the latest version of Android.

Honor 8 Pro

  • September 6, 2017 – India: Honor announced that the Honor 6X and Honor 8 Pro will be upgraded to the latest version of Android.
  • February 1, 2018 – UK: Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 update rollout begins for Honor 9 and Honor 8 Pro in the UK.
  • February 11, 2018 – India: Honor 8 Pro units in India are being seeded the EMUI 8.0 update with Android 8 Oreo.

Honor 9

  • February 1, 2018 – UK: Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 update rollout begins for Honor 9 and Honor 8 Pro in the UK.

HTC Oreo update

HTC U Ultra

HTC U11

  • November 27, 2017 – International unlocked: The steady rollout of Android 8.0 Oreo continues. This time it’s the HTC U11’s turn, as Android’s flagship OS has begun rolling out in Taiwan via an OTA update.
  • November 27, 2017 – International unlocked: HTC is now rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo to the unlocked U11.
  • January 10, 2018 – EMEA: HTC rolling out Oreo update to U11 smartphones in EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).
  • January 22, 2018 – Sprint US: HTC’s Mo Versi says the Android Oreo rollout for the HTC U11 with Sprint should begin today.

HTC U11 Life

  • November 30, 2018 – International unlocked: US unlocked U11 Life is now said to be receiving Oreo.
  • December 18, 2017 – T-Mobile US: The T-Mobile HTC U11 Life is getting Android 8.0 Oreo.

HTC 10

  • Dedicated HTC 10 update tracker
  • February 11, 2018 – Sprint US: Mo Versi says the Sprint Oreo rollout for the HTC 10 is coming February 12 and the update is spotted in the wild soon after.
  • February 26, 2018 – Unlocked: User reports suggest the unlocked version of the HTC 10 is also getting the Oreo update.

OnePlus Oreo update

OnePlus 3/3T

  • September 7, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus rumored to run Oreo close beta for the OnePlus 3.
  • October 14, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus introduced in open beta Android 8 Oreo for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.
  • November 19, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus 3 and 3T now receiving OxygenOS 5.0 and Android Oreo OTA.

OnePlus 5/5T

  • November 17, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus revealed the Oreo beta program for OnePlus 5 will start in November, final rollout due “early 2018”.
  • November 26, 2017 – International unlocked: First OxygenOS Open Beta with Android Oreo arrives for OnePlus 5.
  • December 15, 2017 – International unlocked: Second OxygenOS Open Beta with Android Oreo now available for OnePlus 5.
  • December 24, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus kicks of the Oreo update for the OnePlus 5.
  • December 27, 2017 – International unlocked: OnePlus 5T is getting Android Oreo Open Beta.
  • January 2, 2018 – International unlocked: OnePlus suspends the Oreo rollout due to a bug.
  • January 11, 2018 – International unlocked: OnePlus resumed the Android 8.0 Oreo update for the OnePlus 5.
  • March 12, 2018 – International unlocked: OnePlus 5/5T beta testers can now get their hands on Android 8.1-based OxygenOS.

Asus Oreo update

Asus ZenFone 4

Asus ZenFone 3


Motorola Oreo update

The following Motorola devices have been officially confirmed to get Android Oreo:

  • Moto Z2 Force – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
  • Moto Z2 Play – Verizon, unlocked
  • Moto Z Force – Verizon
  • Moto Z – Verizon, unlocked
  • Moto Z Play – Verizon, unlocked
  • Moto G5S Plus – unlocked
  • Moto G5 Plus – unlocked
  • Moto G5 – unlocked
  • Moto G4 Plus — unlocked (added on September 18)

Moto Z

  • March 23, 2018 – Brazil: Android 8.0 Oreo starts rolling out to the Moto Z, but only in Brazil.

Moto Z2

  • November 22, 2017 – Brazil: Android Oreo soak test to begin soon for Moto Z and Z2 Force in Brazil.

Moto Z2 Force

  • November 22, 2017 – Brazil: Android Oreo soak test to begin soon for Moto Z and Z2 Force in Brazil.
  • December 22, 2017 – Verizon US: Verizon rolls out stable Android 8.0 Oreo OTA update and December Android security patches.
  • January 2, 2018, T-Mobile US: The carrier rolls out Android 8.0 Oreo OTA update and December Android security patches.
  • February 23, 2018 – AT&T US: The carrier rolls out Android 8.0 Oreo OTA update and January Android security patches.
  • February 22, 2018 – Sprint US: Oreo now available for Sprint Moto Z2 Force units.

Moto Z2 Play

Moto X4

  • January 24, 2018 – International unlocked: Android 8 Oreo now available for Moto X4.
  • March 16, 2018 – US: Android 8.1 Oreo heading to US variants of Android One Moto X4.

Lenovo Oreo update

If you own the Lenovo K8, K8 Plus, or K8 Note, we have some good as well as bad news. The good news is Lenovo has revealed on its website that all three devices will get updated to Android Oreo.

The bad news, however, is that you’ll have to wait for quite some time before the update hits your device. The Lenovo K8 is expected to get it in June next year, while the other two models should be updated to the latest version of the OS a month later.


Sony Oreo update

Sony confirmed that the following devices will be updated to Android 8 Oreo:

  • Xperia X
  • Xperia X Performance
  • Xperia XZ
  • Xperia X Compact
  • Xperia XZ Premium
  • Xperia XZs
  • Xperia XA1
  • Xperia XA1 Ultra
  • Xperia Touch
  • Xperia XA1 Plus

Related content

Sony Xperia XZ/XZs

  • November 27, 2017 – International unlocked: Sony Xperia XZ and Xperia XZs owners reported that the Oreo update has started to roll out.

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

  • October 23, 2017 – International unlocked: Sony Xperia XZ Premium is now receiving the Android 8.0 Oreo update.

Sony Xperia X Performance

  • November 27, 2017 – International unlocked: Android 8.0 Oreo is now rolling out to the Xperia X Performance.

Sony Xperia X

  • February 5, 2018 – International unlocked: Sony rolls out the Android 8.0 Nougat update to the Xperia X (F5122).

Sony Xperia X Compact

  • February 5, 2018 – International unlocked: Sony rolls out the Android 8.0 Nougat update to the Xperia X Compact (F5321).

Sony Xperia XA1/XA1 Plus

  • March 17, 2018 – International unlocked: Sony has started rolling out Android Oreo to the Xperia XA1 family.

ZTE Oreo update

ZTE Axon 7

  • December 19, 2017 – International unlocked: ZTE has confirmed that Android 8.0 Oreo will come to the Axon 7.
  • December 27, 2017 – International unlocked: ZTE Germany announced in a public forum that the Axon 7 will receive the Android Oreo update in April 2018 with Stock+ UI.
  • January 22, 2018 – US: Stock Android-like Axon 7 Oreo update now in testing in the US.
  • February 14, 2018 – US: ZTE has announced an Android 8.0 Oreo beta program for Axon 7 users in the US.

Essential Oreo update

Essential Phone


Nvidia Oreo update

Nvidia announced that its Android tablets, the Shield Tablet and Shield Tablet K1, will not be updated to Android 8.0 Oreo. As for Shield TV, Nvidia’s General Manager, Ali Kani said that it was “looking forward to the exciting new features that Android O will bring to Shield TV.”


Nokia Oreo update

Nokia 2

Nokia 3

Nokia 8

  • October 25, 2018 – International unlocked: Nokia announced a beta program for Android Oreo running on Nokia 8.
  • November 24, 2018 – International unlocked: HMD Global is now rolling out Android 8.0 Oreo for Nokia 8.
  • January 23, 2018 – International unlocked: The Android 8.1 Oreo update for the Nokia 8 is now available in beta.
  • February 14, 2018 – International unlocked: Android 8.1 Oreo is now rolling out for the Nokia 8.

Nokia 7

  • January 15, 2018 – International unlocked: HMD Global begins stable Android 8.0 Oreo rollout for Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 7.

Nokia 6 (2018)

  • December 19, 2017 – International unlocked: HMD Global has extended its Android Oreo beta program to the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6.
  • January 15, 2018 – International unlocked: HMD Global begins stable Android 8.0 Oreo rollout for Nokia 6 (2018) and Nokia 7

Nokia 6

  • January 30, 2018 – International unlocked: Android 8.0 Oreo update rolling out for Nokia 6 and Nokia 5.
  • March 29, 2018 – India: Android 8.1 Oreo released for the Indian versions of the Nokia 6.

Nokia 5

  • December 19, 2017 – International unlocked: HMD Global has extended its Android Oreo beta program to the Nokia 5 and Nokia 6.
  • January 30, 2018 – International unlocked: Android 8.0 Oreo update rolling out for Nokia 6 and Nokia 5.
  • March 29, 2018 – India, Tunisia, Indonesia: Nokia 5 gets upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo.

Vivo Oreo update

On February 13, Vivo has put up a list of smartphones belonging to the X series slated to get updated to Android Oreo. The list of smartphones includes the X20, X20 Plus, XPlay 6, X9, X9 Plus, X9S, and X9S Plus. According to the post, the Vivo X20 is destined to receive the update in April 2018, but there is no such information about the rest of the crop.


Xiaomi Oreo update

Xiaomi Mi A1

  • December 30, 2017 – International unlocked: Xiaomi is closing out 2017 by updating its Mi A1 handset to Android 8.0 Oreo.
  • January 11, 2018 – International unlocked: Xiaomi announced it would temporarily halt the Oreo update for the Mi A1 due to bugs.
  • January 16, 2018 – International unlocked: The Oreo update has reportedly been resumed.
  • January 30, 2018 – International unlocked: Xiaomi Mi A1 users report battery, fingerprint sensor issues after Oreo update.

Razer Oreo update

Razer Phone


Other Oreo updates

Lineage OS

  • February 26, 2018 – New LineageOS, based on Android 8.1, now available for the first devices as nightly builds

OmniROM


That’s the wrap-up of our Android 8 Oreo tracker. We tried to catch all major devices, but if we missed something, just let us know!

New survey concludes American teens prefer iPhone over Android

  • A survey by Piper Jaffray concludes that over 80-percent of American teens prefer iPhone over Android.
  • The results are part of a larger picture in which teens love of the iPhone gets stronger with each passing quarter.
  • The survey curiously doesn’t mention which teens are getting iPhones as hand-me-downs from their parents, the likely reason so many teens prefer iPhones.

Everyone remembers what it was like being a young teenager and being desperate to fit in with the in-crowd. Who hasn’t looked back at photos from their younger years and laughed at how silly they looked decked out in the fashion of the times? “That’s not really me,” you say to yourself, “I was just going through a phase.”

Speaking of fitting in and going through phases, a new survey concludes that 82 percent of American teenagers own iPhones, and a whopping 84 percent of teens say their next phone will also be an iPhone.

The results stem from Piper Jaffray’s “Teens Survey,” via Business Insider, which obtains its data from thousands of kids across America with an average age of 16.

But here’s where things get truly frightening: last fall, when the same organization conducted a similar survey, it found that 78 percent of teens currently owned an iPhone. This new 82 percent number is not only higher than a few months ago, but the highest iPhone-ownership stat the survey has ever seen.

The graph below paints a chilling picture of just how much teens want to have exactly what their friends have with no regard for usability, uniqueness, or choice:

teens prefer iphone Business Insider

Are these teens all crazy? What are they doing, eating laundry detergent pods or something?

We can’t really blame the teens, though. Scientifically, teenagers are hardwired to want to fit in as much as possible.

Tim Smith, the principal adolescent psychologist at Sydney’s Psychology and Counseling Group, says, “Fascinating and complex changes occur within the developing adolescent brain that influence thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, placing unique psychological challenges on young people.” He surmises, “Adolescence is an especially challenging time in this regard.”

With that in mind, don’t blame the teens for wanting a phone that looks like everyone else’s phone and has a logo associated with wealth and prosperity. They’re just going through an awkward phase and will eventually become their own unique selves and will want a phone that reflects that new identity.

NEXT: On first dates, iPhone users 21 times more likely to negatively judge Android users

Essential Phone on Sprint now receiving Android 8.1 Oreo update

  • Android 8.1 Oreo is now rolling out to the Sprint variant of the Essential Phone.
  • The update arrives almost a month after it rolled out for the unlocked Essential Phone.
  • The update brings security patches, bug fixes, and more.

If you own the Sprint variant of the Essential Phone, check your device for a software update. Android 8.1 Oreo is rolling out now for your device.

The update arrives almost a month after the unlocked version’s and almost three months after Essential said it would skip Android 8.0 for Android 8.1. It has been quite the wait for Sprint customers, but they will be happy to know that the wait is over.

The update introduces the standard fare of Android Oreo features, such as smart text selection, instant apps, picture-in-picture, and more. You can check out our Android Oreo review to read up on all of the features.

You also get Essential Phone-specific features, such as dynamic calendar and clock icons, a fix for the annoying slow scrolling jitter issue, and Bluetooth 5.0 certification. It also includes modem stability fixes, bug fixes, and better handling of game controllers.

Also included is a nifty toggle within developer options that forces apps to either render around the notch, not render content around the notch while in landscape, or adhere to Essential’s recommendations. This is a universal setting, so whichever you pick applies to every app on your phone.

Lastly, the update changes the build number to OPM1.180104.141. If you are an Essential Phone owner on Sprint, head to Settings > System > System update > Check for update to download the update.