The U.S. is one of the biggest smartphone markets in the world and when you can’t sell your phones here, things usually don’t look so good. This was ZTE’s case a few months ago, but the company has since cleared its name and even unveiled its first high-end phone in quite some time – the ZTE Axon 9 Pro – but it’s unlikely to be sold in the U.S.
Just like other premium, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845-powered Android smartphones that have Oreo out of the box, the ZTE Axon 9 Pro is high on the list of devices that will be upgraded to Android 9 Pie. But the big question is when will this happen? An even bigger question is which other ZTE devices will accompany the Axon 9 Pro in receiving the upgrade to Android 9 Pie?
Well, these are the questions this article will attempt to answer in the best way possible, so keep reading. But of course, keep in mind that the info in this post is based on our own estimations and not an official communication from ZTE.
Related: The best ZTE phones
|Device||Current OS||Android 9 Pie eligibility||Expected release date|
|Axon 9 Pro||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q1 2019|
|Nubia Z18||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q1 2019|
|Nubia Z18 Mini||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q2 2019|
|Nubia Z17s||Android 8.0||Eligible||Q2 2019|
|Nubia Z17||Android 8.0||Eligible||Q2 2019|
|Nubia Red Magic||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q2 2019|
|Blade V9||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q3 2019|
|Blade V9 Vita||Android 8.1||Eligible||Q3 2019|
|Axon M||Android 7.1||Unknown||—|
|Axon 7||Android 8.0||Not eligible||—|
|Axon 7s||Android 8.0||Not eligible||—|
Expected release date
- Q4 2018 release for Axon 9 Pro
- Q1 2019 rollout for Nubia Z18 and Z18 Mini
The most popular ZTE phones are in the Axon series, but the Axon 9 Pro had to wait for more than two years before eventually succeeding the highly impressive Axon 7. The Axon 7 came about in June 2016 and received the update to Android Nougat in February 2017. If anything, we are looking at Q1 2019 as the possible release date of Android 9 Pie update for the ZTE Axon 9 Pro, which will be the first device from the company to receive such an update.
- Android Pie for Huawei Android phones
- Android Pie for Samsung Android phones
- Android Pie for Sony Android phones
- Android Pie for Xiaomi Android phones
- Android Pie for Honor Android phones
- Android Pie for OnePlus Android phones
On the contrary, the Axon 9 Pro has the one thing that Axon 7 lacked to speed up the update process – Google Project Treble. With this, we hope to see not only the Axon 9 Pro getting an update to Android 9 Pie in late Q4 2018 or early Q1 2019, but also the Nubia Z18 and then followed by the Z18 Mini.
We also expect to see Pie arriving on other ZTE devices with Oreo out of the box, but since this list is mostly made of budget phones, the rollout could wait until Q3 or even Q4 2019 before commencing.
As for the 2017 ZTE Nubia Z17 flagships, a second major OS upgrade is expected and this will be Android 9 Pie. Given their flagship status, we hope to see the Pie updates arrive somewhere in Q2 2019, but we cannot guarantee this.
What to expect
After iterations that didn’t bring many changes, Google went all-in with Android 9 Pie, giving it a complete overhaul of the design thanks to Material Design 2.0 as well as a flurry of new capabilities. After the upgrade to Pie, users will be able to enjoy great new features such as gestures for navigation, lots of AI for optimized battery performance, app slices, app actions, improved control over background activity, and so much more.
Of course, all of these features will be coated with ZTE’s MiFavor skin on Android 9 Pie. While this coat will only affect the general UI of Pie on your ZTE Axon 9 Pro, for instance, it won’t take away any of the goodies of the new OS. ZTE is expected to include a few tricks of its own as part of the MiFavor UI, but as promised when rolling out the update to MiFavor 5.2, you can expect minimal customizations that have little impact on how Android normally works.
Related: The best Android 9 Pie features
Unofficial Android 9 Pie update
The popularity of ZTE Axon 7 made the device quite popular in the development community, something that led to folks at LineageOS granting it a place on the Nougat-based version 14 of the custom ROM. So far, the Axon 7 hasn’t received support for LineageOS 15.1-based on Oreo 8.1, but we expect it to gain this support sooner or later.
Even better is that we expect the Axon 7 to get a spot on the list of supported devices for LineageOS 16, which will be based on Android 9 Pie. Whether the custom ROM will also add support for other ZTE phones that won’t receive an official update to Pie remains unknown, but we’ll keep an eye on the ROM’s development and update this section whenever possible.
On the brighter side, LineageOS 16 isn’t the only custom ROM expected to bring Pie to ZTE devices that won’t be officially updated to Pie, but we have others too like Resurrection Remix, Dirty Unicorns, Paranoid Android, and more.
Keep watching this space for all the news on ZTE’s Android 9 Pie update, and downloads, as and when it becomes available.