Owners of the Essential Phone should expect to see Android 8.0 Oreo hit their devices in early 2018. Essential didn’t get off on the right foot, but the company is finishing the year much stronger than we would’ve assumed. Quite a number of software updates have been rolling out to the Essential Phone in recent weeks and months, and there’s even an Oreo beta available to anyone willing to test it.

After launching the beta program in November, Essential is ready for testers to get their hands on the second version. Keep in mind that it’s still not ready for the public. So you should only be using the prerelease build if you’re someone who doesn’t mind things not working perfectly all the time.

The latest beta includes more of Oreo’s trademark features. Along with that, Essential bundled numerous bug fixes and the December security patch level.

Getting onto Essential’s Oreo beta isn’t the easiest thing in the world, especially if you’re not familiar with developer settings. Fortunately, the company posted a rather detailed walkthrough. It’s where you’ll find instructions and the necessary files to manually install the Oreo beta on your Essential Phone. Those who were already on the Oreo beta, however, do not need to do anything manually. Existing testers can request an over-the-air update for Essential to send to your device.

Here’s the full changelog:

  • What’s New
    • December Security Patch
    • Smart text selection, instant apps, PiP
    • Faster startup and app sign-in
    • Google Play Protect Security Scans
  • Issues Fixed from Beta 1
    • Android Auto and OEM Bluetooth Car Kit interoperability improvements
    • Data tracking issues for certain U.S. carriers
    • Setup Assistant screen cutoff issues due to status bar
    • Further Treble support
    • Battery life improvements
    • LED notification and charging behavior

Those moving from the first version to the second version of the Oreo beta for the Essential Phone will have a 142.4 MB file to download and install. It shows the same changelog as above, and Essential says there could also be unconfirmed fixes for the headphone jack and laser autofocus.

Essential hasn’t scheduled a release for Oreo on the Essential Phone, but that’s likely to happen in January or February. The Oreo beta appears to be moving along quite well for a company that doesn’t have a massive number of software engineers. So let’s hope the Oreo beta continues progressing and Essential can get a public build rolling out a few weeks into 2018.