Google recently launched the latest version of its mobile operating system, Android 8 Oreo.
The company said Android Oreo is “smarter, faster, and more powerful” than any other Android release, and will include multiple new features.
This includes picture-in-picture for accessing two apps at the same time, Google Play Protect, and enhanced battery-saver technology.
Following its launch, many South African Android users want to know: When will the OS come to my smartphone?
Android 7 wait
At the launch of Android Oreo, Google said its Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds have entered carrier testing, and it expects to start rolling out in phases soon.
“We’ve also been working closely with our partners,” said Google, and it hopes hardware makers – including Samsung, Nokia, and Huawei – will launch or upgrade devices to Android 8 by the end of 2017.
This follows Google’s promise to speed up the distribution of Android updates to end users through Project Treble.
If the rollout of Android 7 to devices is anything to go by, however, local Android fans may have to wait a while before they get their hands on Oreo.
In March 2017, seven months after the launch of Android 7 and Android 7.1, only 1.54% of the global mobile operating system market share was occupied by 7 and 7.1.
South African users were among Android device owners who could not access Android 7, with Cell C, MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom stating that the decision on whether to update devices rests with the manufacturers.
“Should the updates be made available in South Africa, this will probably only be available a month to two months after the European rollout, as South Africa forms part of the second tier rollout for the EMEA region,” said Telkom at the time.
NetMarketShare statistics for July 2017 show that 9.45% of mobile devices are currently on version 7. This is compared to 22.14% on Android 6, and 11.96% on Android 5.1.
It must be noted that the statistics are influenced by large numbers of low-cost Android smartphones, which will never see an OS upgrade.
South African networks
MyBroadband asked South Africa’s major operators what the rollout plan is for Android 8, which Vodacom said still depends on the device manufacturers.
“Vodacom relies on the original equipment manufacturers making the software available on all supported devices as soon as possible after release. At this stage, the timelines for release are still to be confirmed,” it said.
Cell C said it unfortunately cannot comment on the rollout of Android Oreo at this stage.
MTN – No comment
MTN failed to reply to questions about Android 8.
Telkom – No Comment
Telkom failed to reply to questions about Android 8.