Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro’s Android 8.1 Oreo Update May Bring Project Treble Compatibility

Last week, Xiaomi unveiled the Redmi Note 5 and the Redmi Note 5 Pro at an event in New Delhi. Both devices are already contenders for best mid-rangers on the market thanks to Xiaomi’s never-failing strategy: respectable specifications at an unbeatable price. Unfortunately, the software has always been one of the downsides of these devices (at least, in our opinion), and it was disappointing to see the devices launch with Android 7.1 Nougat. A popular meme on Reddit and our own forums is that manufacturers will opt to ship their devices with Nougat in order to avoid meeting Project Treble’s requirements. Well, I can’t speak for how true that opinion is, but there is evidence that it isn’t happening with the Redmi Note 5 Pro: there’s already an Android 8.1 Oreo build that hints at Treble compatibility.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro and Project Treble

So you might be asking: how do we know that the Redmi Note 5 Pro will have Treble support? The thing is, before the device was announced, we were digging through the firmware files of a device code-named “whyred.” At the time, we knew that this was a Redmi device with a Global ROM, but we were unsure what the device’s real name would be. Now that we know that “whyred” is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro, we can reveal our findings from its unreleased Android 8.1 Oreo firmware.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro Specifications Outlined in CPU-Z. Credits: Trakin Tech

The following information is based on firmware files obtained by @FunkyHuawei, the man behind the FunkyHuawei.club service, which allows users to updateunbrick, or rebrand Huawei and Honor phones for a fee. He has provided access to these firmware files exclusively to XDA-Developers.

First of all, yes, the firmware we’re looking at is indeed running Android 8.1 Oreo. The SDK version is 27 and the release build is 8.1.0 with the January security patches. But what’s most interesting is that the line “ro.treble.enabled” is set to true in the build.prop, which is one of the easiest ways to check for Project Treble compatibility on an official ROM. The only reason we’re unsure of whether or not it truly is Treble compatible is because we can’t actually test that. The best way to confirm that is to flash a Generic System Image (GSI) onto it and see if it boots.

Now, does the fact that an Android 8.1 Oreo ROM exists tell us anything about the update road-map for the device? No, there’s no indication of when the device will actually receive Oreo. Still, it’s clear that this was in the works even before the device was released. It’s possible that Xiaomi engineers were preparing to launch Oreo on the device but couldn’t due to time constraints. Some of the more cynical among you would say they purposely withheld the update in anticipation of the upcoming Xiaomi Mi 7 or Mi Mix 2S. It’s difficult to say, and this is something that we would almost certainly never get an official answer to.

Regardless, this is great news for fans of the newly released Redmi Note 5 Pro. The phone apparently sold out in record time for Xiaomi in India, so there are going to be a lot of new users of this device who are probably wondering when their device will receive Android Oreo. It might not be soon, but at least you know it’s there, and it’ll likely enable you to easily flash an AOSP ROM if you ever get sick of MIUI—and we know that a lot of you may feel that way.

Furthermore, given Xiaomi’s spotty track record when it comes to kernel source releases this means that you can run an AOSP ROM without needing to wait for Xiaomi to get around to releasing the source code. Don’t believe me? Consider the fact that an obscure phone with a MediaTek SoC and no kernel source release is able to run LineageOS 15.1. It’s for this reason why Redmi Note 5 Pro owners should look forward to the Oreo release!

Interesting side-note: in the screenshot above, the “board” is listed as “sdm660.” That refers to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, which is nearly identical to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 that ships with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The Snapdragon 636 features a lower clock speed and a weaker GPU, but is pin and software compatible with the Snapdragon 660. The firmware that I looked at lists the “sdm660” as the SoC. Notably, the Mi Max 3 firmware that I looked at the other day also lists the Snapdragon 660 as its SoC, but it too is most likely running on the Snapdragon 636.

Watch the Huawei Mate 10 Pro drive a car, narrowly miss hitting a dog in the road [VIDEO]

Huawei has been touting their in-house Kirin 970 processor — currently found in the Huawei Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro — as the next big thing in mobile thanks to a dedicated neural processing unit. While that sounds impressive enough, really the most this AI chip can do, at least in its current state, is recognize objects in the real world using the phone’s camera. Scene and object recognition is really nothing that new, but Huawei promises this is just the first step in a smartphone that can grow smarter over time.

To show off the power of the Kirin 970’s AI chip, Huawei has uploaded a YouTube video where the Mate 10 Pro — and the Kirin 970 processor inside — are able to control a vehicle, leveraging the power of their AI chip to recognize and avoid obstacles. Obstacles like cute, fluffy little animal friends you’d never want to put in harms way by testing your new smartphone. That kind.

Make no mistake — this is a commercial. There’s no possible way they’d put a dog’s life in danger while they tested their phone’s ability to recognize objects in the real world. With that being said, you can check out the video below and who knows, maybe in their next video we can see if the Mate 10 Pro can avoid hitting a real life baby in the road. Now that I’d like to see…

Global smartphone sales fell for first time in Q4 2017, says Gartner

Apple iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comparison

There's no question that smartphones have been getting increasingly popular over the past 10 years or so as devices get more features, faster performance, and lower prices. However, during the final months of 2017, smartphone adoption actually declined for the first time.

Gartner Research reports that during Q4 2017, global smartphone sales totaled nearly 408 million units, which is a 5.6 percent decline compared to Q4 2016. That's the first year-over-year decline that Gartner Research has found since it started tracking the smartphone market in 2004.

As for why this decline occurred, Gartner research director Anshul Gupta points to two factors. The first is upgrades from feature phones to smartphones declined due to a lack of good "ultra low-cost" smartphones and those people buying good feature phones instead. The second factor is that consumers buying a replacement smartphone are increasingly choosing to buy a quality device and keeping it longer, which lengthens the typical replacement cycle of smartphones.

This is really interesting news, but it was also bound to happen. Most smartphones have gotten to the point where they can handle the majority of tasks that their owners give them, and in recent years there hasn't been a huge new feature to give consumers a reason to upgrade. An example of something that could convince a lot of people to upgrade is 5G, but it'll be at least two or three years where the device selection and 5G coverage are wide enough to convince regular people to upgrade.

Gartner Research worldwide smartphone sales Q4 2017

Other notable tidbits from Gartner's report include Samsung being the leading smartphone manufacturer in terms of sales, taking 18.2 percent of the market share. Apple came in second with 17.9 percent, Huawei in third with 10.8 percent, Xiaomi in fourth with 6.9 percent, and Oppo in fifth with 6.3 percent.

Also of note is that Huawei and Xiaomi saw significant market share growth from Q4 2016 to Q4 2017, with Huawei growing 1.4 percent and Xiaomi growing 3.3 percent.

Android Oreo update is once again rolling out to the Galaxy S8 and S8+

It’s unfortunately a common occurrence these days. A new version of Android rolls out to a particular device, only to be abruptly suspended when a major bug is discovered. It’s definitely better to stop a defective update before too many unhappy users are affected, but impatient users also want these updates as fast as possible. […]

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