For those enrolled in the beta testing program for the Essential Phone, it is time to check for a system update. The first beta of the company’s Android Oreo 8.1 build has been released and testers will be receiving the update via an OTA download. As you may recall, Essential pulled the Oreo 8.0 build last month, citing issue with stability in the build, and decided to scrap it to move straight to 8.1.
The build has the February Android Security Update patch included and also has a fix for a common problem for users of the Essential Phone: Slow scroll jitter. Users have complained that the phone has a lot of jitter when slowly scrolling up or down a patch. This beta has a fix for it and appears to be working well. All in, the OTA update is just over 500MB in size so WiFi downloading is a must.
For those that are not currently in the beta program, you do have the option of signing up on the Essential site. As they warn, and I echo, remember that this is a beta build – the hint is in the name. There are likely still to be bugs and other issues that you will encounter so unless you can live with that on a daily basis, just wait until the build is officially released. The good news is that release for everyone is likely to happen pretty soon, likely in March.
Essential’s sales figures for their first phone have not been great and the company had plenty of teething problems getting the phone out the door and with overall quality of software in the device, especially around the camera app. To their credit, the company has been relentless in getting updates out to the device and now, especially with a sub-$500 price, it is likely one of the better high end Android phones you can get. Having Oreo 8.1 on board will only make it that much more compelling.