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android 8.1

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: DP2 corrects hamburger emoji, puts cheese above the patty

Despite having served burgers with cheese below the patty at the Googleplex a few weeks ago, the company has fixed the hamburger emoji in Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2. A few other emojis have received mild overhauls as well.

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Latest Gmail and Maps versions have white/inverted nav bars on Android 8.1

White navigation bars are nothing new, with LG phones having had them as options for many years and Samsung recently making them the default to reduce burn-in on its Galaxy phones. Now they're becoming abundant in Google phones with the introduction of Android 8.1 Oreo, both for aesthetic effect and in an attempt to minimize burn-in. Their latest appearances on 8.1 are in Gmail and Maps, where they've found new homes.

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[Update: OTAs going out] Android 8.1 Developer Preview 2 is now available for Pixel and Nexus devices

Google dropped the first developer preview for Android 8.1 last month, and now it's time for an update. The second dev preview build is now available for download via system images on the developer site. This is your chance to be on the bleeding edge of Android, but as usual, running beta software comes with some risks.

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Covering the proximity sensor no longer turns off Ambient Display

The latest Android developer preview is filled with lots of incremental changes, many of which are thoughtful and useful. It wouldn’t be possible for Google to get everything right in a beta release, though, and this alteration seems to be more of a backward step.

Previously in Oreo, if you’d set Ambient Display to wake with a notification or with a double tap, it would shut off if the proximity sensor was covered. This was useful for conserving battery as it would turn the screen off as soon as you put it in a pocket or a bag. It was also good if you’d already seen whatever it was notifying you about, as you could simply wave your hand over the sensor to sleep the screen.

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Problems installing the 8.1 Android Beta Program OTA should be resolved

In our post about Google pulling the Android 8.1 developer preview OTAs, many of you mentioned that you were also having trouble downloading the OTA from the Android Beta Program. Since the OTA downloads for sideloading had been pulled, that was the only way to move to 8.1 without an unlocked bootloader. Well, those problems should now be resolved.

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Google pulled the Pixel 2's Android 8.1 developer preview factory images

Looks like there are a few more hiccups to be found with Google's Android 8.1 developer preview. In addition to pulling all the OTA files, Google has also placed a hold on the developer preview factory image for the new Pixel 2, though images for other devices, such as the larger Pixel 2 XL, are still available. The explanation? A bootloader configuration issue. 

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: You can now restore backed up data after initial setup process

Backing up and restoring data is something that Android hasn't always handled so well, but it's got a lot better in recent versions. Since Marshmallow, automatic app data backups have made switching between phones a whole lot easier, bringing all your apps and settings with you. This means that you can set up a new device and have it look identical to your old one, without having to go through the agony setting everything up again.

What hasn't been possible, though, is restoring data to a device after the initial setup is complete. That appears to have changed with the Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview, and also in 8.0 on the new Pixels, which share a bunch of features with the 8.1 build you'll get on OG Pixels and Nexuses.

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Ambient Display now has the date and an upcoming alarm

Google made some big changes to Ambient Display in 8.0, not all of which made people happy. It was a very minimal interface, rather than being a monochrome version of the lock screen. In Android 8.1, Google is adding a few new elements to Ambient Display, but it's still keeping the minimal vibe.

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Emergency alerts get a history list and reorganized settings

It's long been possible to receive important emergency alerts on your Android device, and with the introduction of the 8.1 developer preview the settings have been given a bit of a makeover. This one can definitely be filed with the other minor but useful dev preview changes. As well as a reorganization of the alerts section in the settings, there's also a history list so you can see previous alerts, including those you've accidentally dismissed.

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Android 8.1 feature spotlight: Mobile data quick setting toggle asks if you really want to turn if off

Over the course of the last few Android versions, Google has seemingly struggled to decide on exactly how some of the quick settings options should work. Some are simple toggles, some bring up extra details in the quick settings pane, and some take you through to the settings app. Several of them also have different behavior depending on whether you short or long-press them.

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