Android Nougat Now Running on 15.8 Percent of Active Devices, Oreo Not on Chart: Google

While all the news this week is revolving around Apple and the buzz it created around the iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, Google has released its Android platform distribution chart for the month of September. The chart shows that Android Nougat continuing to gain market share, with its presence now on almost 15.8 percent active devices. However, the latest Android Oreo version could not find its place in the chart for the same month – notably, Android versions with less than 0.1 percent share of active devices aren’t listed, implying Oreo is currently on fewer than those many devices.

In June this year, the Android Nougat version was found running on 10 percent of active devices. Then in July and August, Android Nougat reached 10.6 percent and 13.5 percent respectively. The total share of Android Nougat for September has now hit 15.8 percent, which includes 12.3 percent of devices on the Android 7.0 Nougat version and 1.2 percent of devices on Android 7.1 Nougat.

The new statistics show that Android Marshmallow continues to dominate with up to 32.2 percent share. The distribution share for Android Marshmallow has declined, but fell just 0.1 percent from the last month’s number that stood at 32.3 percent.

In addition to Android Marshmallow, all other Android versions have also declined. These builds include Android Gingerbread (at 0.6 percent share) and Ice Cream Sandwich (with 0.6 percent share) – which both fell 0.1 percent. Jelly Bean at 6.9 percent share, fell 0.7 percent. KitKat, currently at 15.1 percent share, fell 0.9 percent, while Lollipop, with a share of 28.8 percent, fell 0.4 percent.

Google says that this data has been collected during a 7-day period that concluded on September 11, and Android builds with less than 0.1 percent share have been excluded. It should also be kept in mind that Google takes only those Android devices into account that support Google Play (which itself supports Android 2.2 and above).

Google’s latest version Android Oreo officially rolled out to Pixel and Nexus devices a few days ago and it will take more than a month to get itself a substantial share in the Android platform distribution chart, as per recent trends.

The distribution chart also goes on to mention the OpenGL ES distribution amongst the active devices. While the latest OpenGL versions are not there in the chart, a major portion is dominated by OpenGL version 3.0 – standing at 45.8 percent, rising 0.2 percent. The other two versions in the chart are OpenGL 2.0 with 37.3 percent share (declining 0.3 percent) and OpenGL 3.1 with 16.9 percent distribution share (rising 0.1 percent). Note that support for a certain version means that it also supports any lower versions of OpenGL API, Google says in its developers blog post.

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Android Distribution Numbers for September Shows Nougat is Up

Just as expected!

Google has a habit of releasing the Android distribution numbers right after they start rolling out the monthly security update for supported Nexus and Pixel devices. The company did publish their security bulletin details earlier in the month, but it wasn’t until today that we started to see the OTA updates reach consumers. So now that those updates are going out, we now have the updated Android distribution numbers for the 7-day period ending on September 11, 2017.

As always, keep in mind that this data is collected from devices which have visited the Play Store during that 7-day period. So while it’s not a 100% accurate representation, it gives us an idea as to how the Android landscape is laid out when it comes to how many people are running certain versions of Android. Android 7.x Nougat has been taking its time since it was released last year, but we’re now seeing its market share has gone up while everything else has gone down compared to last month.

So to start with, Android 7.x Nougat is now being used on 15.8% of active devices on the market right now. This is up from the 13.5% that we saw it at last month. Android 6.0 Marshmallow actually ended up losing 0.1% this month as it comes in at 32.2% when it was at 32.3% last month. Android 5.x Lollipop dropped down to 28.8% from 29.2% that we saw it at in August. The last of the big contenders is Android 4.4 KitKat, which is at 15.1% now while it was at 16% last month.

So that’s the majority of the state of Android right now. When looking at the leftovers, we can see Android 4.1.x, 4.2.x and 4.3.x Jelly Bean is at 6.9% when it was at 7.6% back in August of 2017. Then 4.0.x Ice Cream Sandwich is at 0.6% (which is down from 0.7% a month before) and lastly Android 2.3.x Gingerbread dropped 0.1% as well from 0.7% down to 0.6% this month.

Android Version August 2017 September 2017
Android Gingerbread 0.7% 0.6%
Android Ice Cream Sandwich 0.7% 0.6%
Android Jelly Bean 7.6% 6.9%
Android KitKat 16% 15.1%
Android Lollipop 29.2% 28.8%
Android Marshmallow 32.3% 32.2%
Android Nougat 13.5% 15.8%

Source: Google

Google is Starting Work on Android P (Android 9.0) in the AOSP Master Branch

It’s been a little over 5 months since Google introduced the first Android 8.0 Developer Preview and a little over a week since the latest release, now known as Android Oreo, was officially launched. But while only a minuscule fraction of overall Android users have their hands on the tasty Oreo update, we would expect that Google is already starting work on the next major version of Android. And we would be right, as tonight a new tag has opened up in the Android Open Source Project called “master-p” that indicates that commits made to the AOSP master branch will show up in Android P (presumably Android 9.0).

The three commits show that Google is now testing Android P on the Google Pixel (sailfish) and Google Pixel XL (marlin). The first one, titled “master is now P”, was just merged to the master branch tonight. In the changes made to the version_defaults.mk file, we can see the new platform code name and version.

Android P

As you can see, the code name is Android P as compared to Android O for the previous release. Furthermore, the platform version is PPR1 compared to OPR1, which follows Google’s new build number convention.

The next commit, titled “master is P only, removing old values”, changes the platform version in the Compatibility Test Suite from “8.0.0” to just “P” (not labeled Android 9.0 as of yet, which mirrors how Google referred to Android 8.0 merely as Android O for quite some time). This shows that further testing on commits made to the master branch, all of which go under Android P, will be done to ensure that they pass the updated CTS.

Android P

The third and last commit is mostly interesting for what is stated in the comments. In reference to a change made to the CTS testing in AOSP to bypass an error, a Googler questions why the change is necessary if the master branch is now for Android P related commits only. In response, another Googler states that he “copied from internal gerrit” (meaning, Google’s internal repository on Android which is not publicly accessible) but goes on to state that he is “not sure if OMR1 is needed.” What I believe this statement shows is that there may not be an Android Oreo maintenance release, ie. Android 8.1.

Android P

Of course, that speculation could be off since we don’t have access to Google’s internal gerrit. It’s possible that Google already has work completed on an Android 8.1 release which will be launched with the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, just as Android Nougat MR1 (7.1) launched with the first generation Google Pixel and Pixel XL. There is precedent for skipping a major update to an Android letter update, though, as Android Marshmallow never saw a 6.1 release. On the other hand, there were 3 maintenance release branches in AOSP for Marshmallow, so that may not truly be solid basis for this speculation.

It’s a bit early at this point to say for sure what’s going to happen with Android P and whether it will launch as Android 9.0 without us ever seeing Android 8.1, but clearly the commits we discovered tonight in AOSP show that Google probably has a list of features they are targeting for the next major release of Android. We hope that whatever those features may be are ones that will knock us off our feet.

Google Introduces Runtime-Only Permissions in Android 8.0 for Better Security

One of the best security-oriented changes included in Android 6.0 Marshmallow was runtime permissions. Before the advent of runtime permissions, developers would define permissions in their AndroidManifest file that would be granted automatically upon installation. On Android 6.0 and newer, runtime permissions required the user to explicitly grant or deny a permission through a dialog. From a security standpoint, this ensured that certain sensitive permissions like reading text messages or contacts would need to be brought to the user’s attention before the app could use them.

But there was one major problem: runtime permissions are only enforced for applications targeting Android Marshmallow or newer. So long as the app targets Android Lollipop or older, any runtime permissions would still be automatically granted upon installation. Lots of applications, most notably Snapchat, still do this in order to avoid dealing with runtime permissions. Finally, with Android 8.0 Oreo, Google has introduced a small but very important change to try and fix that in the future.

On April 4th, a commit was made to AOSP that allows permissions to be runtime-only. This change adds a new runtime protection level flag to the Android system that, if set, will only grant certain permissions to apps that target Android Marshmallow or above. Currently the only permission that takes advantage of this new runtime-only flag is ANSWER_PHONE_CALLS, which allows any application with this permission to programmatically answer phone calls on behalf of the user.

Still, it’s a real security improvement for when more and more permissions are restricted under this flag, then apps won’t be able to sneakily grant themselves sensitive or dangerous permissions unless they start targeting a newer version of Android. This will also push app developers to adopt newer APIs and features on their apps, as targeting a newer Android version will become a requirement to use these new permissions.

How to see the Boot Count of your Android Nougat or Android Oreo Device

We love statistics. Even mundane or largely useless statistics can be immensely interesting to people. With adb, or root and a terminal application, it’s possible to view the boot count of your phone which is how many times you’ve started your device! Obviously, this counter is only logged since your phone has been last factory reset. This data is stored in the settings database, so wiping your data in a factory reset means this boot counter is lost. If following the root method below, you will need Magisk or SuperSU. The value that is read, “BOOT_COUNT”, was only added in SDK24, or Android Nougat, so any devices on Android Nougat or Android Oreo will have this counter. Those on Android Marshmallow or lower cannot use this tutorial, as the string does not exist.

It’s not like you’re really missing out on much, though.


See your Boot Count on any Android 7.0+ Device (No Root)

Firstly, follow this tutorial to set up adb on your device. It has everything you need to get it up and running for Windows, Mac or Linux! Once you’ve got all of that setup, you’ll need to run the following two commands via adb. You can check if your device is connected as well with “adb devices”. The image on the right shows you how it should look.

adb shell
settings get global boot_count

That should then give you back an integer value, which is how many times your device has booted.

See your Boot Count on any Android 7.0+ Device (Root)

You need root for this one, so type the following commands in Termux (or any terminal application). The image on the right shows you how it should look.

su

Accept the prompt to grant superuser access.

settings get global boot_count

And that’s all!


With Android Nougat, the string “BOOT_COUNT” was added. This is a string which records the boot count of your device. As mentioned above, this string is wiped if you factory reset. If you care about this minor boot statistic, I suggest not wiping your /data partition. But you probably don’t really care. Maybe.

What’s your boot count? Let us know below!

How to Get Android 8.0 Oreo Now

Android Oreo is official, but apparently not rolling out OTA to Pixel and Nexus devices just yet. However, those on the public beta are being updated from today. Read on below for instructions on how to join the beta programme. Also see: Android O latest news

Should I install Android O?

If you’re curious, have a compatible device and are reasonably techy, then why not. You can get a good look at what’s in store for Android, and if you don’t like it or find it too buggy you can simply revert to your previous OS.

Note that although you can still get Android Oreo via the method below, it might be better to wait: the final release was announced on 21 August, and though it’s not rolling out to Google devices yet it will be soon.

Before you begin you should take the necessary steps to ensure all your data is backed up.

Will my phone or tablet run Android O?

The Android O Public Beta can run on only certain Google devices. Those devices are:

  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Google Pixel C
  • Google Nexus 6P
  • Google Nexus 5X
  • Nexus Player

How can I download and install Android O?

A public beta of Android O is now available to download to compatible devices. Also see: What is Android Go?

Downloading Android O is simple with Google’s Android Beta Program. Any devices enrolled to the programme will receive OTA updates to the latest Android operating systems where available.

• To enroll in the Android Beta Program, open the browser on your compatible Nexus or Pixel device and head to g.co/androidbeta. You will be asked to sign into your Google account.

• Scroll down the page and you’ll find a heading ‘Eligible devices’ with any compatible Nexus devices that are also signed into your account listed below.

Android N - enroll

Android N - enroll

• Find the device you wish to enroll to the beta programme and click the green ‘Enroll device’ button beside it.

• Tick the box to agree to the terms and conditions, then tap ‘Join beta’.

Android N join beta

Android N join beta

• A message will pop up to tell you your device has been enrolled and will soon receive an OTA update to the beta version of Android. Click Ok.

Android N enrolled

Android N enrolled

• The update notification arrived on our Nexus 6 instantly, although it can take up to 24 hours. If you don’t receive your update notification after that time, check you’re connected to the internet then head to Settings, About, System updates and check for updates.

You will not receive OTA updates if you previously manually flashed Android on to that device (as we had with our Nexus 6) – you’ll get a notification that verification has failed. Instead you will need to manually install Android O on that device, and you can follow the same instructions we provide below for manually installing Android Marshmallow.

• Once you see the update notification, pull down the notification bar and choose Download.

Android N notification

Android N notification

• In the next window you’ll be told that this will install a preview version of Android O on to your device. Ensure you are connected to Wi-Fi, then tap Download. (Note that the screenshot is of the Android N Developer Preview and not the Android O Beta.)

Android N download

Android N download

• You can now install the Android Nougat 7.1.2 Beta. Tap Restart & install to begin the process.

Android N restart & install

Android N restart & install

• You’ll automatically receive notifications of any new Android Nougat update. Also see: How to update Android

How to uninstall Android O Public Beta

Removing or uninstalling an Android O Beta is as easy as is installing it. You simply head to the Android Beta Program page at g.co/androidbeta then tap the Unenroll device button next to your device. Do note, however, that doing so will wipe all data on your device – be sure to back up Android first.

We’ve left our instructions on how to flash Android Marshmallow on to a device on the next page for those who need to manually flash the software. Most readers can ignore these instructions.

How to download Android Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow is already available for recent Nexus devices and some high-end devices from key hardware makers such as HTC and LG. You can check whether an OTA update is available for your device or, if you have a Nexus phone or tablet, force the installation by flashing the necessary files using Minimal ADB. Check when will your phone get Android Marshmallow here.

Be warned that manually installing Android M is not for novice users, and it’s quite possible to brick your device if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s important to back up any data installed on your phone or tablet before you begin since this will be lost in the process – see How to back up Android.

Below we explain how we installed Android M on our Nexus 6; follow our advice at your own risk – PC Advisor takes no responsibility for damaged devices. For those without Nexus devices wondering when they’ll be able to update to Google’s latest Android update, take a look at this: When will my phone get Android M?

Step 1. On a Windows PC install Minimal ADB and Fastboot. You can download it from this XDA-Developers thread. WonderHowTo has created a script to simplify the installation of ADB & Fastboot on a Mac, which can be downloaded from here. Once downloaded, extract the Zip and place the Android folder on your Mac desktop before opening a new Terminal window and entering the following:

Cd Desktop/Android
[Enter]
./ADB-Install-Mac.sh

The script will take a little while to run and you may have to enter your Mac account password, but once complete you’ll be able to run ADB and Fastboot commands from a terminal window. The rest of the process should be the same, but we can’t confirm as we performed the update from a Windows PC.

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Step 2. Download the appropriate Android M installer for your device, which you’ll find on the Android Developer’s site. The Android M files are only compatible with the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus 7 and Nexus Player only, so do not try to install it on a different device like the Nexus 10 or Nexus 4.

Note: If you previously flashed a device to an Android M Developer Preview image, that device will not automatically get the update to the final Android 6.0 build by an over the air (OTA) update.

Android Marshmallow factory image

Android Marshmallow factory image

Step 3. You’ll need to extract the contents of the downloaded Android M file to a new folder on your desktop. We used the free 7-Zip utility to achieve this. From the folder on your desktop copy the extracted files into C:Program Files (x86)Minimal ADB and Fastboot. (Some users have needed to rename the .tgz file extension as .tar in order to complete this step.)

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Step 4. On your Nexus phone or tablet open Settings, About phone/tablet and tap on Build Number seven times. This will unlock a hidden Developer Options menu within Settings. Open Developer Options and enable USB debugging and OEM Unlock.

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Step 5. Plug your Nexus device into your Windows PC via USB and download the Google USB Driver. Extract the contents of the Zip file to a safe place, then click on Start, Devices and Printers, right-click on your phone or tablet and choose Properties. Open the Hardware tab, then choose the top entry under Device Functions and click on Properties. Update the driver, pointing Windows to the Google USB driver you’ve just downloaded. A prompt will appear on your device’s screen to ‘Allow USB debugging’; tick the box to ‘Always allow from this computer’, then press Ok.

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Step 6. Now you’re ready to flash Android M on to your device. If you’re sure it’s been backed up properly (you will lose everything otherwise), launch Minimal ADB and Fastboot. Type adb reboot-bootloader and hit Enter. This will boot your device into Fastboot mode (which can also be achieved by switching it off and then simultaneously holding down the power, volume up and volume down buttons).

Step 7. Scan the information on the device screen for LOCK STATE. If this reports that the phone or tablet is unlocked move on to step 8; if it is locked, in ADB type fastboot oem unlock and hit Enter. Use the volume button on your phone or tablet to select Yes, then use the Power button to confirm your choice.

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Step 8. Technically, flashing Android M should now be a case of typing flash-all and hitting Enter. When you then reboot the phone you’ll be greeted with Android M.

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

How to get Android M now: How to install Android M Developer Preview on Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, Nexus Player

Except this didn’t work on our Nexus 6, and we received an error message that the update package was missing system.img before it aborted the process. If you get the same error messge, move on to step 9; if you don’t, enjoy Android M.

Step 9. In order to make Minimal ADB and Fastboot see those files, we had to go back to the files we extracted from our Android M installer in step 3. Within those files is another Zip file, and it’s in here that you’ll find the missing system.img file. Extract this Zip file, then copy its contents into C:Program Files (x86)Minimal ADB and Fastboot.

Step 10. Rather than using the flash-all command you’ll need to manually install each file. In Minimal ADB and Fastboot we entered the following commands to successfully get our Nexus 6 running Android M:

fastboot flash bootloader bootloader-shamu-moto-apq8084-71.11.img [this is for the Nexus 6 – the filename here will differ for the Nexus 5, 9 and Player]

[Enter]

fastboot flash radio radio-shamu-D4.01-9625-05.16+FSG-9625-02.94.img [again this is for the Nexus 6 – the filename here will differ for the Nexus 5, 9 and Player]

[Enter]

fastboot reboot-bootloader

[Enter]

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

[Enter]

fastboot flash boot boot.img

[Enter]

fastboot flash system system.img

[Enter]

fastboot flash cache cache.img

[Enter]

fastboot erase userdata

[Enter]

fastboot flash userdata userdata.img

[Enter]

fastboot reboot

[Enter]

The device should then restart running Android M.

You can also see the handy YouTube video below for a visual guide.

How to uninstall Android Marshmallow

To uninstall Android M and revert to your previous operating system, simply download the appropriate system image from this page and repeat the instructions above. Note that you’ll first need to clear out the files from Minimal ADB and Fastboot that you added earlier.

Read next: Best new phones coming in 2017

Follow Marie Black on Twitter.

Best Small Android phones (July 2017)

Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. A lot of devices today, especially flagships, are equipped with displays measuring at least 5.5-inches. Among these are the Samsung Galaxy S8, HTC U11, OnePlus 5, Huawei P10 Plus, and LG G6, just to name few.

Large smartphones do have their share of problems, as they are not easy to use with one hand and can be difficult to carry around at times. Those are just two of the reason why some consumers still prefer smaller devices. If you’re one of them, this post is for you.

We have compiled a list of the best small Android phones you can get on the market right now. By small, we mean those with a display size of 5-inches or less.

Editor’s note: We will be updating this list regularly as new devices launch.

Google Pixel

small android phones

The smaller of Google’s two Pixel smartphones sports a 5-inch screen with Full HD resolution. It’s a high-end device that’s powered by the Snapdragon 821 chipset and has 4 GB of RAM. Easily this is the most powerful of the small Android phones on this list, making it a great option for power users that don’t want a massive display for whatever reason.

One of its biggest features is definitely the camera that has a 12.3 MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture and 1.55μm large pixels. When the smartphone was announced, Google said it has the best camera on the market. This claim was later confirmed by DxO, which gave it the highest DxOMark rating at the time with a score of 89. Although it is worth mentioning that it was recently bumped down to second place, with the HTC U11 taking the number one spot with a score of 90.

Aside from high-end specs and one of the best cameras you can get on a smartphone, the Google Pixel also offers a stock Android experience a lot of users simply love. However, the design of the device hasn’t been that well received, just because it’s kind of generic. The Pixel also definitely isn’t the most affordable small Android phone you can get your hands on, as it retails for $649 (32 GB) and $749 (128 GB).

Specs

  • 5-inch AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi
  • 2.15 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 32/128 GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 12.3 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,770 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.5 mm, 143 g

 Read More


Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017)

small android phones

The Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) is a compact mid-range device thanks to its 4.7-inch HD display. It was announced in January and sports a metal frame with a 3D glass back and is water and dust resistant thanks to the IP68 rating. In case you’re wondering, this means that it can be submerged in up to one and a half meters of water for around 30 minutes.

You’ll find the Exynos 7870 chipset under the hood along with 2 GB of RAM. The smartphone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Samsung’s custom skin on top. Other things worth mentioning are a 13 MP camera, a 2,350 mAh battery, and a fingerprint scanner located on the front, below the screen.

In terms of design, it looks very similar to a lot of other Galaxy smartphones, which can either be a good or a bad thing depending on who you ask. It retails for around $280 and comes in quite a few different color options. While not the very best small Android phone on the market, if you’re a Samsung fan that is looking for a smaller display, this could be the right choice for you.

Specs

  • 4.7-inch Super AMOLED display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 312 ppi
  • 1.6 GHz Exynos 7870 Octa
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,350 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 135.4 x 66.2 x 7.9 mm, 138 g

 Read more


Sony Xperia X Compact

This is the most compact smartphone on this list, as it features the smallest screen, measuring in at 4.6-inches. The Xperia X Compact is a mid-ranger that’s powered by the Snapdragon 650 chipset along with 3 GB of RAM.

It sports two front-facing stereo speakers, supports expandable storage (up to 256 GB), and has a 2,700 mAh battery that provides a full day of use even with heavy usage. The smartphone also offers a great 23 MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture and runs Android Marshmallow, which you can upgrade to 7.0 Nougat.

The biggest drawback of the device is that the US model doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner. It has a typical design we are used to seeing from Sony’s Xperia series, which not everyone is a big fan of. The smartphone has sharp corners and somewhat large bezels, although the device still lives up to its Compact name.

The Xperia X Compact started selling in the US back in September and initially retailed for $500. The price has come down since, as you can now get it for around $350.

Specs

  • 4.6-inch HD Triluminos IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 312 ppi
  • Snapdragon 650
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 23 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,700 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 129 x 65 x 9.5 mm, 135 g

Read More


Wileyfox Swift 2 and Swift 2 Plus

For those of you who don’t know, Wileyfox is a company based in the UK known for smartphones that offer a great price-performance ratio. Both the Swift 2 and 2 Plus have a 5-inch HD display, are powered by the Snapdragon 430 chipset, and have a metal body.

There are, however, quite a few differences between them. The Swift 2 has 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of on-board storage, and a 13 MP rear camera, while the Plus model features 3 GB of RAM, along with 32 GB of storage and a 16 MP rear camera.

The smartphones pack a 2,700 mAh battery with support for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 tech, which gets the battery up to 75 percent in around 45 minutes. Available in Midnight, Gold and Rose color options, the Swift 2 retails for £159 (around $200), while the Swift 2 Plus can be yours for £189 (around $240).

Specs

Wileyfox Swift 2

  • 5-inch Full-lamination display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294 ppi
  • 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 430
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,700 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6 mm, 158 g

Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus

  • 5-inch Full-lamination display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294 ppi
  • 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 430
  • 3 GB of RAM
  • 32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 16 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,700 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6 mm, 155 g

 Read more


Sony Xperia XA

The second Sony device that made its way to the list of the best small Android phones is the Xperia XA. It sports a 5-inch display with small bezels on the left and right sides that really looks nice and make the device even more compact.

Although its specs won’t blow your socks off, the Xperia XA is still a great device. It’s powered by the MediaTek MT6755 chipset, has 2 GB of RAM, and is equipped with a 13 MP primary camera as well as a dedicated camera button on the right side.

It runs Android Marshmallow with Sony’s custom skin on top and packs a 2,300 mAh battery that supports fast charging (Pump Express+ 2.0). Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor on board.

The Xperia XA was released in the US back in July 2016 and initially retailed for around $280. The device, which comes in Graphite Black, White, Lime Gold, and Rose Gold, can now be yours for a little more than $160 on Amazon.

Specs

  • 5-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294 ppi
  • 2.0 GHz MediaTek MT6755
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 8 MP front camera
  • Non-removable 2,300 mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 143.6 x 66.8 x 7.9 mm, 137 g

Read more


Moto G5

small android phones

The Moto G5 is a mid-ranger that was announced at MWC 2017 back in February alongside its bigger brother, the Moto G5 Plus. It features a 5-inch Full HD display, is powered by the Snapdragon 430 chipset, and comes with either 2 or 3 GB of RAM. Unlike its predecessor, it features a metal body that makes it look as well as feel more premium.

You’ll find a fingerprint scanner on the front of the device that supports various gestures. You can, for example, swipe left to go back, or swipe right to open recent apps. The Moto G5 also sports a removable battery with a capacity of 2,800 mAh, a 13 MP camera, but doesn’t have NFC. It comes in Fine Gold, Lunar Gray, and Sapphire Blue (in some regions).

Unfortunately, the device is not available in the US but is on sale in loads of other markets including Canada, where it currently costs around $250.

Specs

  • 5-inch LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 441 ppi
  • 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 430
  • 2/3 GB of RAM
  • 16/32 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Removable 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 144.3 x 73 x 9.5 mm, 144 g

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Moto E4

The recently announced Moto E4 offers a great bang for the buck, making it one of the most affordable small Android phones out there. It has a 5-inch HD screen and is powered by the Snapdragon 425 chipset, although you’ll find the MediaTek 6737 processor under the hood in some markets.

The device offers 2 GB of RAM, has a metal body, and a nano-coating finish that’s supposed to help protect it against accidental spills, splashes, or light rain. It even sports a fingerprint reader on the front that supports gestures such as swipe left to go back, or swipe right to open recent apps.

The main selling point of the Moto E4 is its price. Verizon is currently offering the smartphone for just $70, although you do have to sign up for one of the carrier’s prepaid plans to get it. The unlocked version of the Moto E4 will soon be available at various US retailers but will cost more — around $130.

Specs

  • 5-inch IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution, 294 ppi
  • Snapdragon 425 or MediaTek 6737
  • 2 GB of RAM
  • 16 GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 128 GB
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
  • Removable 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 144.7 x 72.3 x 9.3 mm, 151 g

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There you have it. The eight devices described above are our picks for the best small Android phones you can get on the market right now. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Android Nougat problems and their solutions

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Nougat installation problems

Having problems installing the Android Nougat update on your phone? First, you should make sure your phone is fully charged and connected to a stable Wi-Fi network before you try to download it. Next, you’ll have to patiently wait for the update to install. The first time the phone tries to reboot after the installation, it might be exceptionally slow. This usually is nothing to worry about, but if it just hangs there for a long time, you may want to try wiping the system cache in Recovery mode.

Reboot into recovery mode by holding down the power, volume up and home buttons at once. You’ll see your manufacturer’s logo pop up and then from the recovery menu you can use the volume up or down button to select Wipe cache partition and press the power button to execute the command. Then you can restart the phone and try to install the update again. If you’re still having problems, you might have to resort to a factory reset – just don’t forget to back up your data first.

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Has the update to Nougat gone smoothly? / © AndroidPIT; SamMobile

Nougat battery drain

If your battery life has been suffering since you updated to Android Nougat, you’re not alone. It may seem counter-intuitive for an update which is meant to optimize battery usage to actually cause it to drain faster, but it can sometimes be the case. Don’t worry: There’s a solution!

Once you’ve updated to Nougat, go to the Google Play Store and update all the apps on your phone so they are compatible with the new version of Android you’ve just installed. Then, clear the app caches and the system cache (as described in the previous tip) to get rid of old data. This little spring cleaning should do the trick to fixing Nougat battery life issues.

Here’s the fastest way to clear the caches of all your apps at once: Go to Settings > Storage and USB > Cached data, then tap OK to clear the cache of all your apps. If the problem persists, factory reset your phone (after you’ve backed up your data of course). 

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Is your battery draining faster than usual? / © ANDROIDPIT

Nougat Wi-Fi connectivity problems

If your Wi-Fi connectivity has gotten noticeably spottier since installing Android Nougat, you can try turning Wi-Fi off and back on again. If that doesn’t work, turn off Wi-Fi, then reboot your phone and try to check it again. If that still doesn’t work, ‘forget’ the Wi-Fi network in question, then try reconnecting. If you must, you can reset your network settings in Settings > Backup and reset > Network settings reset.

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Try turning Wi-Fi off and on, or forgetting the network in the Settings menu. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nougat Bluetooth connectivity problems

Bluetooth problems are pesky, and sometimes it’s hard to pin down the cause. The first thing you should try is turning Bluetooth off then on again. If that doesn’t work, ‘forget’ the connection that’s causing you trouble and try to connect it again. If that still doesn’t work, boot into Safe Mode so third party apps can’t interfere with the connection – this will help you figure out if a particular app is causing the problem, rather than the updated OS itself.

Nougat cellular data issues

If you’re having Nougat mobile data connectivity problems, try to switch your cellular data off then on again. If that doesn’t work, restart your phone and re-enter your SIM pin code (if you have one). If your phone comes with a SIM card, you can also try removing it from the tray and re-inserting it. If all else fails, contact your carrier to see if it’s a widespread issue with the Nougat update on devices sharing the same network.

Nougat random rebooting problem

If you’re experiencing random reboots after the Nougat update, you’re not alone. A number of users have experienced boot loop and random rebooting issues with Nougat. The Nexus 5X, in particular, seems to have a hardware issue with a small number of devices which causes boot looping. For other devices, though, it’s purely a software issue which can be fixed without having to send it out for repair. Funnily enough, restarting your device may fix the random restarting problem. If the issue persists after that, try clearing your app caches and data.

Nougat GPS issues

Nougat users have been complaining about GPS issues since the updates began to roll out. To fix the problem, turn off GPS, then turn it back on to get a fresh connection. If that doesn’t work, try restarting your phone. Also, you can also try recalibrating your GPS, or clearing the cache of Google Maps (or whichever mapping app you use). 

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If your GPS is misbehaving, there are many solutions. / © ANDROIDPIT

Nougat black screen issues

Some Nougat users, particularly those with Galaxy S7 devices, have been getting a black screen on their phones. This bug was also present with Android Marshmallow, and leads to an unresponsive blank display. The first thing to do is turn off the phone using the power button, then turn it back on. If the screen still doesn’t work, there’s still hope.

Try rebooting into recovery mode by holding down the power, volume up and home buttons at once. You’ll see your manufacturer’s logo pop up and then from the recovery menu you can use the volume up button to select Reboot system and press the power button to reboot the phone.

Nougat audio issues

To fix Nougat sound problems, try restarting the device after an update. Also, don’t forget to check if your speaker grilles are clean and clear. If the problem is happening with a specific app, update that app to see if the problem persists. 

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Check the speaker grille for debris. / © AndroidPIT

Nougat not connecting to PC

If you’re having USB connectivity issues after the Nougat update, it’s most likely because you haven’t chosen the correct option in the settings. The default setting is USB charging mode, which means you can’t see files when you plug into your PC.

When you connect your phone to your PC via USB, a notification will pop up which says “Connected for charging.” Tap this and you’ll see a number of options, of which you’ll want to select MTP for transferring media files. This will allow you to copy files back and forth from your PC to your phone via USB. 

Nougat app crashing and instability

If apps are misbehaving, unstable or crashing since you update to Nougat, you likely just need to go the the Play Store and update your apps to the newest versions which are compatible with Nougat. If that doesn’t solve the problem, clear the app cache and data to get rid of leftover data. If that still doesn’t work, try uninstalling the problematic app and reinstalling it to really get a clean slate.

Having any other issues since the Nougat update became available for your device? Have some solutions we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments!

which manufacturers have been fastest so far?

Android updates are one of the major parts of our experience with smartphones. We place a great deal of importance on them, they’re the subject of neverending criticism, and we’ve all experienced the pain of waiting for one that just never seems to arrive.

In the most recent headcount, Android Nougat can be found on 9.5 percent of Android devices, around 10 months after it first hit the scene (August 22, 2016). By next week, this is likely to be more than 10 percent.

For a moment, I’d like to ignore what that figure means in the grand scheme of things (I’m well aware many would say it’s far too low), however, and instead focus on how that 9.5 percent has been accounted for. In other words, how have the major OEMs performed so far in the Android Nougat rollout?

Note the information in this article is based on the findings in our Android Nougat update tracker, relevant links can be found there. 

Motorola

We’ll start with Motorola, seeing as it was the fastest out the gates with the Nougat update in the US, delivering it to its Moto Z and Moto Z Force Droid in just 88 days. Naturally, this was great news for owners of its latest and greatest phones, but Motorola then managed to usher out the update to most recent Moto G devices, the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, in India before the end of 2016.

Motorola continued deployments in February, bringing its Droid Turbo 2, from 2015, up to speed with the latest Android version, followed by the Moto Z Play Droid in March. Its US Moto G4 caught up with Indian models in April, while the Moto X Force was updated in June.

Overall, Motorola has managed to deliver Nougat faster than most of its competitors and to more phones. It’s prioritizing not just latest flagships but its entry level devices, and various other Motorola handsets have been updated in territories outside of the US too.

LG

LG was only a couple of days behind Motorola in the US Nougat rollout, upgrading the LG G5 in 90 days. After that initial burst of energy, things went quiet on the Nougat front until May 2017, when the update started to appear on some of LG’s lesser known devices, the LG Stylo 2 V, LG Stylo 2 Plus, LG K8 V, and the LG Phoenix 2.

This was a great start from LG, especially as it had already said that the LG G5 had sold relatively poorly — it could have easily placed resources elsewhere and waited until 2017 to update it. The problem is LG is yet to update it’s second-tier flagship, and may never do so.

Despite reports about its LG G4 update looming, it’s still nowhere in sight, and there are indications that it’s no longer coming. The G4 might be more than two years old now, but one major upgrade is pretty poor form for a flagship phone.

HTC

Also timely with the Nougat update was HTC, bringing it to the HTC 10 only 95 days after Google released it. HTC then followed up with the update to its 2015 flagship, the One M9, only 11 days later. This phone launched with Android Lollipop, and even to this day, many manufacturers still don’t have their 2015 flagships updated (see LG, OnePlus and Huawei).

The HTC One A9, another notable device in the US, started receiving Nougat in January, and the HTC Desire 10 Pro soon after.

It’s easy to say things are taking their sweet time when it’s your device waiting for the update, but when looked at across all manufacturers, HTC is on the faster end of the spectrum — Nougat is now on all of its major devices, even if it has a smaller catalog than many other OEMs.

Sony

Sony was the fourth and final OEM to get Nougat out within 100 days. It first appeared on the Xperia X Performance on November 29, followed by the Xperia XZ one day later. The Xperia X and X Compact started picking up the update around two weeks later, rounding off the rollout to its most recent smartphone lineup.

Sony has since released Nougat for its Xperia Z3+ (in January), which launched with Lollipop, and was the first third-party manufacturer to roll out the Android 7.1.1 update, which it has done for a few of its devices.

A couple of years ago, you might have called Sony one of the worst OEMs in terms of updates. Since then, it has revamped the way it approaches the process — it recently concluded an experimental Concept for Android track for a near stock experience on the Xperia X phones — and is releasing timely upgrades. Those burned by its slow rollouts in recent years might not like it, but right now, Sony is outperforming the majority of OEMs.

OnePlus

OnePlus released the Nougat updates for its latest flagship pair, the OnePlus 3 and 3T, on December 31, 2016. It was one of the last major manufacturers to release the update (though Samsung was still later), but this meant that OnePlus only had one more update to push out to get all of its recent devices up and running with the latest software.

Disappointedly, OnePlus later confirmed that the OnePlus 2 wouldn’t receive the Nougat update. OnePlus is, however, the smallest company on our list, and relies on online sales of its phones — it’s understandable that it might not have the infrastructure to deliver lightning fast updates, even if it does have the healthy bankroll of Oppo and BBK behind it and its Android skin is relatively light compared to Samsung or Huawei.

To not deliver a major Android update at all sends a disappointing message to those who might want to pick up a more recent flagship. The company has only recently released the OnePlus 5: will it be able to guarantee two major updates for that? Or even if it does make promises, should we believe them?

Samsung

Samsung, arguably, has the most work to do of all the OEMs mentioned so far: its interfaces are heavily customized. The trouble is, few people are actually in favor of that — they’d rather a more stock Android-like interface and faster updates. Can’t blame ’em.

Galaxy S7 owners had to wait until into the new year for Samsung to roll out Nougat: it arrived January 12 in China and the UK. However, it wasn’t until May — May — that unlocked S7 handsets in the US got Nougat — more than 250 days after the software first landed.

That update did begin arriving to carrier branded handsets as early as January, and Samsung has been upgrading its most recent lineup of phones, including the 2015 flagships the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, from March. Still, it’s generally poor performance from the South Korean giant as it has no excuses where money and resources are concerned.

Huawei and Xiaomi

Huawei’s update rollout in the West is basically nonexistent, but it also isn’t selling devices in the US. Those in certain European territories, where the phones are readily available, are still waiting for many updates on many devices, however — even flagships. Similarly, Huawei’s Chinese competitor Xiaomi is lagging behind on updates in Western regions, but its phones are even harder to get hold of.

Ultimately, I feel these manufacturers are less accountable than the OEMs that have a major foothold in the US market: North America simply isn’t a focus for them. That being said, if fast updates are a primary concern for you, you know which manufacturers to avoid.

Wrap Up

Overall, the Nougat update is rolling out slower than its predecessor, Android Marshmallow. That software hit 10 percent of devices in July 2016 after being released in October of 2015. Android Nougat is basically now reaching the same point despite being released last August.

As for the manufacturers, Sony and HTC appear to be leading the pack as far as comprehensive update coverage goes. Both had their flagships up and running quickly, and Sony has even rolled out 7.1.1. Motorola was also sprightly and it has a lot of phones to cover.

LG was fast with its G5, and its V10 update came in May, but the potential lack of an LG G4 update leaves a sour taste.

Meanwhile, OnePlus has been disappointing on several fronts, as has Samsung, but at least the latter has updated its S6 and S6 Edge (which were released three months before the OnePlus 2). The Chinese OEMs, on the other hand, are on their own schedule. Of course, if you simply want the fastest updates and best support, you need look no further than a Google Pixel.

Hopefully, this has given you something to think about when you’re making your next smartphone purchase. What are your thoughts on the Nougat rollout so far? Which manufacturers have impressed or disappointed you? Let us know in the comments.