The Android 8.1 Oreo developer preview dropped yesterday and we’ve been pouring over its new features it brings to devices new and old. You can read about some of these at the previous link, but in this article, we’re going to be looking at something else Android 8.1 provides.
The new software has transported some features previously exclusive to the Google Pixel 2 to the original Google Pixels. We’ve noticed only a handful of these so far, but we’ll update this list with more as we catch them. For now, here are some to check out.
Automatic light/dark theme
First up, Google Pixels running Android 8.1 Oreo will benefit from the automatic light/dark theme switching offered by the Pixel 2s. This means the launcher theme is dictated by the colors you choose in your wallpaper, so lighter colors will result in the use of the lighter theme, and darker ones, well, you get the idea.
The themes apply to the quick settings menu, app drawer, and folders, though a way to manually change between them isn’t included. Even if you want the light theme, you’ll be stuck on the dark theme so long as you make use of a dark wallpaper.
Floating power menu
The Pixel 2’s floating power menu has also made it across to other devices in Android 8.1. This bar appears next to the power button when you hold it down, replacing the popup that usually appears in the middle of the Pixels, and includes both the power and restart buttons. It’s an aesthetic tweak rather than a functional one, and won’t change much about how you use your device.
Settings menu search bar
You may also notice the inclusion of a search bar in the settings menu following the upgrade to Android 8.1. This appears at the top of the main settings menu and can be used to help you find the particular setting you’re looking for quickly. It’s a feature we’ve seen more and more in third-party Android UIs also.
“Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep” — removed
As well as those new additions, Google is also removing features to ensure the Pixels old and new stay in sync. The “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep,” previously found in the Wi-Fi settings menu, is one such casualty. By default, the Pixels keep Wi-Fi on during device inactivity, meaning messages and notifications still come through, but the aforementioned setting allowed you to disable this while the device slept to save battery. Google seems to no longer be a fan of the functionality, however, and you’ll be able to access once you get the new software.
That’s all we’ve got so far on the Pixel 2 features hitting the original Pixels, but we’ll update this page as we discover more. Have you noticed any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.