You might remember Nokia's Beta Labs scheme, a program they launched back in 2007 to allow users to test our pre-release Nokia apps for the Symbian platform in beta form. Now, under the ownership of HMD Global, the Nokia Beta Labs name is receiving a rebirth in the form of an open beta program for Android 8.0 Oreo, that will be rolling out to various Nokia Android devices.
The scheme will allow users of the mid-high end Nokia 8 smartphone to test out Nokia's custom build of Android 8.0 Oreo, in a similar fashion to OnePlus' OxygenOS Open Beta program. Juho Sarvikas, the Chief Product Officer at HMD Global, announced that the Nokia 8 is the only the first device getting the Open Beta update, and is a sign of things to come; they will be expanding the program to include the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and the Nokia 6 very soon.
Nokia's Android skin is practically untouched, using a stock Android layout with only slight additions here and there that you would be hard-pressed to notice, so we wouldn't expect development and release for Android Oreo on these devices to take very long. Aside from bug fixes and hardware optimisation, there's little to be done before rolling it out to the masses, so we might just expect official releases by the end of the year.
The Beta Labs program was previously used to trial pre release software on consumer and enthusiast devices, and it's undergone quite the journey; from being a Symbian test platform to a portal through which Microsoft released trial Lumia apps on Windows Phone. We're happy to see the return of this enthusiast cult-classic program, and that HMD is committed to supporting its whole lineup with quick and optimised Android updates, while keeping developers and enthusiasts in the know. If you want to know more, head over to their signup page.
What do you guys think? Will you grab this update on your Nokia 8? Are you excited to see Android Oreo on the whole Nokia lineup? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.