Essential has released a new update for the Essential Phone, bringing a handful of improvements to the flagship phone. The new build is OPM1.180104.141 and it is already rolling out to owners. With the roll out, the Essential Phone becomes one of the first phones to get the April Android Security Update patch outside of Google Pixel devices. As you may recall, this month’s security patch had a huge number of patches so it is good to see it already rolling out to non-Google branded devices. And, frankly, Essential is always great at getting these updates quickly.
Along with the security patch, Bluetooth 5.0 is finally supported on the PH-1. The hardware has been there all along but the software stack didn’t support it. Now it does so you will get all the benefits of that on your phone now too.
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Google has released the April 2018 Android Security Update for devices, bringing a massive 311 different fixes and patches to the platform. As normal, there are two patches that are available. The first patch, dated April 1, mostly deals with Android system level patches while the second, data April 5, is for components updates aimed at the Pixel lineup of phones.
To have this many patches in one update is rare. Most of the updates over the past few months have had less than 50 total updates across both patches. This month however, there are well over 100 patches just for the Qualcomm closed source components.
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With the release of the March Android Security Update patches earlier today, the opportunity has come to test the Check for update button on Pixel devices. And guess what? It works again.
The saga of the Check for update button has been going on for months – really years if you take in the fact that it has never really done anything in the past. That changed late last year when Google indicated that the button would actually go tap the update servers in Google and give you the latest update for your Pixel or Nexus. Then an update to Google Play Services broke it. Then a new beta of Google Play Services was released with the explicit indicator that it fixed the issue. But that update came out after the February Android Security Update patches. So today was the first real opportunity to test it.
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As expected with it being the first Monday of the first full week of the month, Google has released the March 2018 Android Security Update patches for the Pixel lineup of phones as well as the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P. The full factory images for those who want to side load them are available as well as the OTA updates. The automatic sending of the OTA updates should begin later this week for those that don’t want to bother with a side load.
As usual, there are two patches this month although there is also a second bulletin announcement regarding fixes specific to the Pixel 2 lineup. In the March 1, 2018 dated patch, there are a total of 16 fixes, 8 of which are considered critical. These fixes in the first patch deal with Android issues broadly and mostly have to do with media framework and system level issues that could allow for remote code execution.
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While everyone’s attention this week has been focused on the events at Mobile World Congress, Verizon rolled out a bunch of updates to Samsung devices and a few Moto devices on their network. The majority of the updates are focused on bringing the February Android Security Update to the Samsung devices as well as other minor tweaks and updates. The Moto Z devices are getting the December patch.
Here is the rundown of the phones that Verizon updated this week along with the new build numbers. I’ve linked to the release notes for each build that the carrier has published.
In all cases, the updates have been released and should be landing on their respective devices via an OTA update this week.
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Google is in the process of researching a new bug that is impacting Pixel 2 owners where rapid battery draining is occurring. So far the Mountain View company hasn’t pinpointed the cause of the problem, which is not impacting all users.
A thread in the Google Product Forums, in the Pixel community, has been ongoing, particularly since the release of the February Android Security Update. That appears to be when the issue began for several users although Google, right now at least, cannot find a correlation between the two, according to a source at 9to5Google.
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Owners of the Nokia 8 will want to start checking for an update on the device today. HMD Global, the parent company of Nokia, has released a new update that bringing the recently released February Android Security Update patch to the device. The update is 86.9MB in size, so it is quite small and indicates that essentially it is the security patch a little else for the Nokia 8.
If you have a Nokia 8, you can check for the update by going to Settings>Other>Software Update on the phone. It has just been released so it may take a day or two before it hits all devices.
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The Essential Phone could be the first phone to get the February Android Security Update patch. Those patches were released yesterday by Google and today, Essential has begun rolling out build NMK24B to the PH-1 which contains the patch.
While the Essential Phone got off to a rough start and still lacks its Android Oreo update (it will be getting 8.1 in a few weeks), the company is certainly making strides to keep the device updated from a security perspective.
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