Android 8 vs. Android 9: Worth the update?

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Are the changes of Android 9 just cosmetic, or is it a whole new innovative operating system? Is the update worth it? Many devices used in the professional world are still running on Android 8, and while also Android 9 is not exactly brand new, it could bring some new features. Considering you are managing a large fleet of devices, you might hesitate performing the update. Let’s take a closer look at the new functions!

Just cosmetic or more changes “under the hood”? Android 9 Pie on a PM85

What are the major differences between Android 8 and Android 9?

#1 Slight aesthetic changes

It is not a completely new look, but Android 9 brings in some small, but nice design changes: It is more colorful, and it looks as if Google made it overall a little softer to the edges. Many of the icons have been remodeled and to give a more modern look and feel. Android 8 shows “Recent apps” laying on top of each other, while Android 9 introduces a flat view that makes it easier to scroll through the applications.

#2 Feature updates

Android 9 brings a ton of new features and functions to the user. You can’t remember the button shortcut to take a screenshot? Luckily now you don’t have to anymore: With the new version, all you need to do is pressing the power button for a few seconds and then tap “Screenshot” and you are done. The new gesture function allow you also to quickly access the camera by pressing the power button twice, or prevent the ringer to go off when pressing power & volume up together. From Android 9, Google also added a new menu for digital wellbeing, similar to what iOS offers. It gives detailed information about how many times the device has been unlocked, how many notifications you’ve received and more.

#3 Enterprise related changes

Google added support for multiple users on dedicated devices. Android 9 makes it easy for users to share a single device, good for shift workers or public kiosks. It’s also possible now to visually separate your work apps from your private apps with the Work tab in the Launcher. Tap on the work tab to see work apps all in one place, and turn them off with a simple toggle when you get off work.

  • PM85 with Android 9

#4 AI-controlled brightness

Up until Android 8, the automatic brightness level was adjusted based on ambient lighting solely. This often resulted misinterpretation, forcing users to manually change the display brightness. In Android 9, user habits play a more significant role for regulating the brightness thanks to AI technology.

#5 Security

Android 9 will now perform client-side encryption. Any data encryption or decryption that takes place will now happen on your phone and will require authentication from your phone (password, PIN, pattern). Each time you access a network, your device shares its unique MAC address with that network. Android 9 offers a new feature that will allow you to create randomized MAC addresses for each network you access. While a random MAC address for each network is created, the address will not continue to change each time you access the network.

Also, it is not possible for apps ran in the background to have access to the camera and microphone. Android 9 will now alert you should an app try to turn on your camera or mic, which further protects users’ privacy.

#6 Improved battery life

An improved Battery Saver app in Android 9.0 makes it easier to enable Battery Saver as your battery begins to drain. Instead of the option to enable Battery Saver at 5 or 15%, there’s now a slider, allowing you to enable it once your battery reaches 70% or below. The Adaptive Battery feature uses machine learning to predict which apps are going to be used in the next few hours and which likely won’t, so battery power will only be spent on apps that are important.

#7 Multiple Bluetooth connections

Android 9 enables the option to connect up to five Bluetooth devices and switch between them seamlessly. Incoming phone calls will be sent to all connected Bluetooth devices that can accept.

Can my devices be updated?

The changes from Android 8 to Android 9 are quite significant, and updating seems to be a good idea to get better features but also lower the risk for security problems. But there’s a catch: Not all manufacturers are providing the new version for all devices. In case of our mobile computers, both PM45 and PM85 can be updated to Android 9 via FOTA from version 8. In order to receive the update, contact your sales representative upfront to unlock the devices you want to update. If you have a PM45 with Android 7.1, you first need to move over to Android 8 before Android 9 can be installed.

Learn more about Android 9 Pie ➜ 

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