BQ, a Spain-based budget smartphone vendor, has a presence in Europe and the US, but it tends to fly under the radar when it comes to media coverage. That’s partly because its smartphones aren’t particularly competitive against models from China-based rivals such as Xiaomi, Honor, and Motorola. However, in regions where it’s hard for customers to buy phones from the aforementioned companies, BQ has a foothold.
The BQ Aquaris X and the Aquaris X Pro, two of the few mid-range smartphones in the company’s product lineup, have virtually the same specifications: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 system-on-chip, a 5.2-inch Full HD (1920×1080) IPS display, a 16MP rear camera with a f/2.0 aperture, a 8MP front camera, and a 3,100mAh battery. The difference is that the Aquaris X has 3GB of RAM paired with 32GB of storage, while the X Pro comes with 4GB of RAM and up to 128GB of storage. They’re also aesthetically different: the Aquaris X has a plastic back, while the X Pro has a glass back (both phones have a metallic frame).
The phones were announced in March 2017. The Aquaris X’s launch price was €280 ($347), while the X Pro cost €360 ($446) and €400 ($496) for the 64GB and 128GB storage versions, respectively. They shipped with stock Android 7.1.1. Nougat, the latest version available at the time.
Now, it appears that both phones are receiving an update to Android 8.1 Oreo. It’s surprising news considering that Nokia (HMD Global) and Essential are the only other non-Google OEMs to have released Android 8.1 Oreo updates. (The Nokia 8 started receiving its stable Android 8.1 update earlier this month, while the Essential Phone recently received its first beta of Android 8.1.)
Lorenzo Ori is an external collaborator who makes custom kernels for BQ devices. According to him, the OTA update comes from BQ, and is only available in the beta channel. The screenshot shows that the update includes Android’s January security patch.
It’s great news for owners of the Aquaris X and the X Pro, and serves as a reminder that it’s not necessary big OEMs which are first to roll out Android updates. Sometimes, smaller OEMs beat them to the punch, and we hope that this serves as a motivation to all other Android OEMs to start releasing Android software updates on a timely basis.
Thanks to Lorenzo Ori for the tip!
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