4 weeks ago

17 brand-new Features in Android 8.1 for the Essential Phone « Android :: Gadget Hacks

After testing a series of Android 8.0 builds, Essential hit the reset button along with jumped to Android 8.1 Oreo. The first 8.1 beta can be already live, so we installed the item on our PH-1 along with started off to dig in. The features through the 8.0 betas are all still there, plus a few goodies specific to the updated variation. We’ll highlight the standouts here.

Essential’s reason for jumping to 8.1 was which 8.0 had several stability problems which they believed were addressed with the smaller update. So nothing major, although the item’s not bad which Andy Rubin & Co. are getting their flagship on the latest along with greatest Android variation This kind of quickly. Alongside the update, Essential continues to address bugs along with performance issues, including a fix for scrolling jitter along with updated security patches.

1. brand-new Settings Menu Layouts

This kind of update includes a brand-new Settings structure. Gone can be the hamburger menu which was introduced with Android 7.0 Nougat. Instead, each menu can be compressed to better present the information which the user needs. While most of the modifications are minor, a few menus have been revamped. For example, the Battery menu includes an icon reflecting current battery life, along with screen-on-time can be on the main menu as well.

Another major redesign can be Accessibility. The Downloaded Services section right now shows an icon next to each eligible app. The addition of icons continues throughout the menu, helping users better identify each option.

2. Redesigned Navigation Buttons

The navigation buttons have received a change in their design to help stress the Google Assistant. The back along with recent apps buttons have been reduced in size in comparison to the home button. The home button received an extra circle providing more emphasis on the button, which brings up the Google Assistant when long-pressed.

3. Automatic Dark Mode for Quick Settings

right now, your Quick Settings pull-down menu will automatically change coloring based on your home screen background. Whenever you use a darker wallpaper, the Quick Settings will change the background coloring to black to match. However, for all some other colors, the menu will display a white background instead.

4. Semi-Transparent Quick Settings Menu

The Quick Settings menu can be also semi-transparent right now, allowing users to somewhat see the previous screen. This kind of feature can be visible with either background coloring along with offers a smaller change to the Quick Settings.

5. Battery Indicator for Bluetooth Devices

One of the more exciting features introduced with Android 8.1 Oreo can be a battery indicator for Bluetooth accessories. While This kind of feature has been a part of iOS along with select OEM skins for a while, stock Android was never able to effectively monitor the battery life of Bluetooth devices until right now.

In your Quick Settings, after connecting to a battery-powered Bluetooth device, a battery icon will appear to the right of the Bluetooth icon representing the battery life of the accessory. By selecting the text below (which displays the name of the connected device), you’ll see a list of connected devices along with the battery percentage of each.

6. Hi-Fi Bluetooth Codecs

With so many phones removing the headphone jack lately (including the PH-1), Android has worked to improve the quality along with experience of Bluetooth audio. There have been quite a few Hi-Fi codecs created by companies before, however, only a select number of Android phones supported them. right now, This kind of can be no longer the case.

With the update, Essential users can right now enjoy Hi-Fi audio codecs such as aptX HD along with LDAC, depending on which can be used by your headphones. While not equivalent in sound to wired headphones, they do offer a better experience compared to devices which don’t support the codecs.

7. Hide ‘Running from the Background’ Notification

One of the few annoyances which came with Android 8.0 was a set of “Running from the Background” along with “Drawing Over some other Apps” notifications. While their intent was to help protect users through battery consuming apps, the problem was when This kind of was unnecessary.

For example, my password manager remains active from the background so I can quickly enter along with exit the item throughout the day. With Android 8.0, I received a static notification informing me which the item’s “running from the background” along with therefore consuming battery. Unlike some other notifications, I couldn’t dismiss This kind of permanently. Unless I gave up the convenience of my password manager, I was forced to deal with This kind of notification.

Google heard the cries through the community along with fixed This kind of problem by building from the ability to stop This kind of notification. Check out the link below for a quick guide on how to accomplish This kind of.

8. True Oreo Easter Egg

As you may have noticed with previous Android 8.0 beta releases, Android Oreo didn’t have a true easter egg. In past versions, by tapping the “Android variation” entry under “About Phone,” you’d reveal an easter egg reflecting the dessert-based update. However, Android 8.0’s “easter egg” was an underwhelming orange “O.”

Android 8.1 modifications which, giving users the image they expected, Oreos. The favorite snack cookie can be right now revealed using a bonus. After tapping along with long-pressing on the Oreo logo, you reveal an Octopus in water which you can drag around the screen. What does an Octopus have to do with Oreos? Who knows, although can be the item cool? Absolutely!

9. Cheeseburger Emoji can be right now Fixed

The great outcry of the Android 8.0 beta for Essential PH-1 users has been cheese on the Cheeseburger emoji. No longer can be the cheeseburger disrespected by placing the cheese underneath the patty. With 8.1, Essential fixed This kind of by placing the cheese on the top as the item always should have been. Life can be complete right now.

10. Dynamic Calendar along with Clock Icons

While This kind of feature can be limited to Essential’s default launcher, the clock along with calendar icons will adjust depending on the time along with day. Instead of the default 31st on the calendar app, the icon will right now alter based on the actual day of the month, while the clock will show the current time. the item a smaller change, although one which’s definitely appreciated.

11. brand-new Power Menu

With Android 8.1 Oreo, the power menu has been altered, with one of the more noticeable modifications being its reduced size. In addition, the item fades in through the right edge of the display (near the top). While the item offers little in terms of function, the item a welcome cleaner change to the menu.

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

12. Music Notification

Another aesthetic change introduced with Android Oreo can be the brand-new music playback controls from the notification shade. The colors change based on the cover art of the song playing. Each element will attempt to match the cover art’s coloring scheme, creating an eye-catching notification which can be easy to identify in a crowded notification shade.

13. Picture-in-Picture Mode

Probably one of the biggest front-end modifications to Android Oreo can be the inclusion of picture-in-picture mode. While watching a video or receiving turn-by-turn directions, you can reduce the content to a smaller floating window by just pressing the home button. Only a few apps support This kind of feature so far, although the biggest names are Google Maps, Netflix, YouTube (requires YouTube Red), VLC, along with Duo.

Image by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

14. brand-new Emojis

With Android 8.1, Essential has added the full Emoji 5.0 list. With This kind of update comes 70 brand-new emojis along with skin tones for human emojis. Some standout additions include Face Vomiting, Star-Struck, along with Breastfeeding.

Some of the brand-new emojis included with the Oreo update.

15. Snooze Individual Notifications

Additional notification controls are present in 8.1. Essential users can temporarily dismiss an individual notification, which will return at a later time. The length of the snooze can be altered, allowing users to control when they want to deal with certain notifications.

16. Fingerprint Scanner Gestures

No longer do Essential users need third-party apps to use fingerprint scanner gestures. Built into Android 8.1 can be the ability to swipe down for notifications. Especially for those with smaller hands, This kind of feature makes using the PH-1’s 5.7″ display much more manageable.

Additionally, third-party app developers can right now use an API to monitor the fingerprint scanner for swipes (both vertical along with horizontal) to create even more gestures.

17. Notification Channels

Using a system called Notification Channels, apps can right now put their notifications into different categories. This kind of will let you control the visibility along with urgency of different types of notifications which come through the same app.

Each Channel can be modified with several tools. The priority, whether the item makes a sound, whether or not the item vibrates, if the item displays as an icon badge, whether the item shows from the lock screen, along with if the item overrides do not disturb mode. This kind of feature can be particularly useful for email clients, as the item lets you set different notification importance for your various inboxes if the app supports the item.

Besides these modifications, Essential also much better startup times along with increased the speed of app sign-in. With the speed of This kind of beta, Essential could potentially be the third phone with Android 8.1 Oreo officially, behind Pixel devices along with the Nokia 8. What do you think of the brand-new update? Are you excited about the brand-new features? Let us know from the comments below.

Cover image along with screenshots by Jon Knight/Gadget Hacks

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