New Honor 8 UI beta test suggests Android 7 upgrade isn't too far

Less than three months after launching the Honor 8, Honor UK today announced the arrival of a BETA version of EMUI 5, its latest interface which will be based on Android 7.0 Nougat.

With the launch of the new BETA version, Honor will be bringing in several new user-friendly features to the Honor 8.

The BETA version of Emotion UI 5 will bring in several new features like a redesigned task manager interface, a new app drawer, a redesigned notification shade, an App Twin, a new settings toggle area as well as an optimised icon and widget pack. The new App Drawer will let you access your installed apps quickly and also to find them through alphabetical shortcuts. The new App Twin will also let you log in to supported apps twice which is a great thing if you share your device with other family members.

Earlier this year, Huawei hired ex-Apple mobile UI designer Abigail Brody to refine the Emotion user interface. According to a report in The Information, Brody was hired to fix “glaring cosmetic issues” and “pain points” in a new version of Emotion UI to make it more appealing to users. At the same time, the new refinements will act as a launch pad for Huawei's own mobile operating system which the company is secretly developing.

Huawei has reportedly set up a secret team in Scandinavia to build an alternative mobile operating system. The secret team working on the new mobile OS constitutes several ex-Nokia employees and will build the new OS as a contingency measure. This means that rather than replacing Android as the stock operating system in Huawei and Honor devices, the new OS will lurk in the background, willing to walk in if Huawei finally decides to do away with Google's services. The report in The Information also claimed that Huawei wanted to develop its own Mobile OS as it “doesn’t want to be on the crutch of Android.”

As for the new BETA version, it also includes a redesigned task manager which will let you scroll through open tasks by sliding up or down, dismiss apps with swipes and locking them by tapping on the lock icon. The new task manager has a vertical layout and features larger cards compared to those in previous versions of Emotion UI.

Honor 8 launches in Europe at just £369.99

If you own an Honor 8, you will be able to try out the BETA version of EMUI 5 and let Honor UK know if you're happy with it or if you need certain changes to be made to it. If you don't but are excited about the new UI, you can buy an Honor 8 for £369.99 in a choice of Pearl White, Midnight Black, Sunrise Gold and Sapphire Blue colours at Honor's online store in UK.

Honor 8 compares with the much-acclaimed Huawei P9 in many respects, so much so that picking up an Honor 8 would be a lot like getting the P9 on the cheap. It features the same dual rear camera setup with Monochrome and RGB sensors, a 5.2-inch Full HD display, an octa-core Kirin 950 processor, a 3,000 mAh battery and 32GB/4GB and 64GB/4GB storage and RAM options.

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