Razer launched its first ever smartphone late last year, but it has a surprising lack of RGB. Another thing it was missing at launch: updated software. The Razer Phone launched with Android 7.1 Nougat several months after Google released Oreo. It wasn’t alone in being behind the times, but it’s taken Razer a long time to get up to speed. At long last, Android Oreo is available on Razer’s smartphone. The phone is now also available at Best Buy stores in the US.
The Razer Phone positions itself as a phone for gamers, and not just because it has a Razer logo on the back (again, with a depressing lack of RGB). The 6-inch LCD supports a 120Hz refresh rate, which is double what other smartphones can do. That makes movement super-smooth. It also has front-facing stereo speakers, 8GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 835 chip
Google released Android 8.0 back in August of 2017, and the Razer Phone debuted on November 17th. It’s not unusual for phones launching at the tail end of the year to be a version behind. After all, Google only releases code to major OEM partners in advance, and everyone else has to wait for the open source code to appear. At the time of release, Razer said it would have Oreo available on the Razer Phone in early 2018. Whether this still counts depends on your definition of “early.”
Like Essential, Razer has skipped the Android 8.0 release entirely, going straight to Android 8.1. This release has a few small changes compared with the 8.0 release. You can finally see the battery level of Bluetooth devices, there are new emoji, and developers have new neural network APIs to use. On Google’s devices, Android 8.1 also brought some launcher changes, but Razer uses a version of the popular Nova Launcher custom home screen.
The Oreo update for Razer brings updated security patches (hopefully with none of them missing), some unidentified design tweaks, and performance optimizations. That’s all pretty vague, but we can also say for certain the phone will get the core Oreo features like autofill app support, picture-in-picture video, and application background limits.
Razer says the update is starting to roll out today, though it will take 10 days to reach all phones. You can mash the system update button all you want, but it’ll take however long it takes. If you’re going to pick up a new Razer Phone in anticipation of the Oreo update, it’s on Best Buy’s website and is coming soon to stores.
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