Not sure how many people in Nigeria are even on Android 7.0 (Nougat) which was officially released August 22, 2016. Yet, we are already hearing the footsteps of Android 8.0 (O***). Although, Pixel and some eligible Nexus users already have it (like me and my friend). See tweet below by Managing Editor of Android Police who predicted that the release will land this week.
I'd look for the official Google Pixel Android O update to land in about a week. Could be pushed, but that's the timeline for now AFAIK.
— David Ruddock (@RDR0b11) August 2, 2017
Globally, as at yesterday (August 8), 13.5% of all the devices that visited the Google Play Store in the prior 7 days were running the Nougat version (which happens to be the seventh Android release) with only 1.2% using its latest update, 7.1.
However, as you’ll expect that number is lower in Nigeria. Given that a lot of people might still be using their devices from H1 2016 (First-half of 2016) or before. Many of which might not have been the latest (Android 6, Marshmallow) at the time (2016). A random walk to computer village to buy a phone now will offer you the Android Marshmallow (6.0) OS on your new android device. Notwithstanding, a few users of the latest Google Pixel (and some Nexus) have access to the timing of upgrades available in other developed countries/climes.
Features of the Android N
Below is a screenshot of the Android Nougat homepage shot May, 2017 on a Google Pixel phone.
Watch out for my next post on some of the easily noticeable features of the Android 8.0
There are a couple of improvements to this Android version. Some are more technically inclined, hence, favourable to developers and concerned users (e.g the RAW GNSS data access feature which provides decimeter level accurate location from the smart phone GNSS sensor) and others more consumer-facing (e.g the UX).
Speaking on the User Experience, one of the biggest changes for me was the ability to reply notifications directly as they come without having to go into the app (and I get quite a bit of notifications from WhatsApp, but no!, I’m not giving you my number, LOL).
Another thing I stumbled on was the split screen feature, although, I didn’t use it much before I released the beta release of the 8.0 (you know, as a Pixel user…LOL).
Deiter Bohn of The Verge wrote an extensive review of the Nougat, where he asked whether all these changes and improvements mattered to non-Google Phone users who’ll probably only receive the update after a year when a new version would have come out. Now, that’s something.
Statistics have shown that people tend to change their phones after 2-3 years. The implication of this would mean that except they bought the latest android running device before they could actually get an upgrade in OS. However, we (me and you) know people sideload apps and can flash the new OS version to their device regardless, but that’s so much stress.
What I’ve seen is that a lot of OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are slow to roll out new OS versions to their fleet of devices. Hence, many just bundle it with their new devices. Take for instance, the LG V20 is reputed to be the first smartphone to be launched with Nougat. The phone launched September 29 last year (about a month after the Nougat was released) but that was in South Korea.
Now we (‘me and you’) are being told that the latest Nokia flagship, Nokia 8 will be launched with the Android 8. Then again, Nokia is a finnish company and like many other electronics company (e.g Samsung), Nigeria is second-thought for them (Samsung’s base is South Korea).
We are being delayed by the time taken for their phones to get shipped to Nigeria and also, by the time taken for an OS update to become available, if it ever does.
Perhaps, we need a thriving OEM from Nigeria who’ll partner with Android and make sure (just for the fun and business of it) Nigeria is among the first set of people to get the latest device and OS releases.
Perhaps, Google’s partnership with Freetel, Japanese largest smartphone brand to launch an Ice 2 phone in Nigeria is set to cure this.
Also, I’m optimistic because all Freetel phones come Google GMS certified, which is the confirmation that a specific device meets Google’s performance requirements and properly runs the Google Apps.
Finally, here is what we already know about Android 8 (we’ll bring you more updates as we know more):
Streaming OS updates will work even if your phone is full
Formerly, OS updates took up space on the phone but with Android Nougat, a streaming OS updates feature was available and now the phone requires just about 10% of the former ~1GB of your user storage partition to install. It basically ‘streams the update’. You can read a more detailed explanation here.
In summary, Android 8 is coming fully this year (2017) but perhaps before the bulk of Nigerians get it on their Android devices it might be 2019 and beyond. Except, maybe you purchase the new Google Ice 2 Phone.
Update: It is unlikely that the Ice 2 Phone will come with Android 8 as it is positioned as part of the Android Go project. Android Go is a lightweight version of Android O (8.o) targeted at budget phones, a class to which the ICE 2 belongs.
Just for the record, Android users in Nigeria are at about 49.71% (which is quite representative of our smartphone market), according to StatCounter (July, 2017) but we should not be shocked that a random survey of users Android OS will reflect more Android 4.4 (KitKat which was released in 2013) than 6 and 7 combined. This can probably be explained by the large amount of people who currently own low-end smartphones (Tecno, iTel, Infinix and others).
DISCLAIMER: This is written by me and airs my opinion alone not the voice of my employer. All information shared here are publicly available.