HMD Global says Nokia phones beta labs will serve as a platform to roll out beta versions of Android. The platform is starting with Nokia 8 but it also plans to add Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 at a later stage.
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Nokia 8 will be the first smartphone in HMD Global's 2017 lineup to get the Android 8.0 Oreo update. The Finnish startup has already started testing the Oreo update for the Nokia 8 and it is expected to be publicly available before the end of this year.
Now, ahead of the general rollout, HMD Global is introducing Nokia phones beta labs, where Nokia 8 owners can sign in to test the beta version of Android 8.0 Oreo. Joining the Nokia labs beta is free and the only condition is that you must be using a Nokia 8. The beta labs will allow Nokia 8 users to test drive the Oreo build before it's ready for a general roll out. Since we are looking at beta builds, it must be taken into account that the software experience may not be perfectly stable and user feedback can be used to squash occasional bugs before a wider roll out.
HMD Global, however, is not the first Android OEM to adopt this method for testing beta builds among users before a general rollout. Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus also runs a similar beta testing channel where it has already pushed out the Oreo update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. Motorola is also known for following a similar mechanism called soak testing where a handful users get to test the beta firmware and report bugs before its final availability.
In a tweet, Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer of HMD Global added that the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 will also be added to Nokia phones beta labs at a later stage. The company is pilot testing the beta software phase with Nokia 8 before adding other smartphones to the list.
HMD Global is differentiating its Nokia-branded smartphones from other Android smartphones in terms of design and a stock Android experience. The company has been ahead of its peers when it comes to rolling out latest security patches and has now started pushing Android 7.1.2 update to the Nokia 6 with the October Security patch. Eventually, it will boil down to which smartphone maker offers software update at the earliest and HMD Global is trying to be at the forefront.
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