Essential launched its first phone previous year with Nougat, but it promised a quick update to Oreo.
This new update brings Oreo features as well as some new Essential-specific fixes and tweaks.
Instead, Essential opted to skip directly to Android 8.1, and the first beta is now available for download or over OTA. The file weighs in at around 500MB, so make sure you have enough storage before attempting to download Android 8.1 Oreo beta.
Here are the most notable changes in this Android 8.1 beta update.
The system update will deliver new features like faster startup and app sign-in, Google Play Protect security scans, smart text selection, instant apps, and picture-in-picture. Consult our Oreo guide for all the baked-in features of the operating system. Listed in the changelog is a "Slow Scrolling Jitter Fix (Beta)", that could add some much needed smoothness to the Essential Phone's user experience. The fix is still in beta, so it may not be the permanent solution, but users will no doubt be happy to know that Essential is actively working on the issue. What this means is that the clock and calendar icons will show the time and date as the homescreen or notification bar.
The Essential Phone had a lot of hype surrounding it. The back and app switcher buttons have been reduced in size, while the home button is two circles rather than just one. Also, like on the Pixel Launcher, the phone's theme now switches between dark and light depending on your wallpaper.
Once again, this is beta software, and thus only available to members of Essential's beta program.