The Huawei Mate 9 rated very highly when we reviewed it earlier this year. At the time of review it ran Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.0. Now there is evidence that Huawei already have a booting build of Android O for the Mate 9.
Google have long said that they give their partners access to the source code for upcoming releases of Android but until now many of us were skeptical of this given the amount of time it took for software updates to roll out. It seems that Huawei do indeed have the source for Android O given that an XDA member, duraaraa, spotted them through “undisclosed methods”.
The Android O build for the Mate 9 comes pre-rooted, obviously for Huawei internal developer use. While the build is not super stable it does have functional Wi-Fi and Play Store (with some side loading of Google Play Services). The build is bereft of most of the tweaks that Huawei include in Android 7.0 for the Mate 9 but it does include a new file manager app and the new developer options.
For those who are calling “Bulldust” on this there is some evidence including a screen shot of the “About phone” screen of the Android O build and proof of the picture-in-picture mode working for YouTube. The PIP image was taken after prodding from XDA writer Mishaal Rahman to enable it using a keycode. duraaraa was also able to post links to boot and recovery images which correspond to engineering boot images.
In other news duraaraa was also able to flash P10 firmware to a Mate 9 with only the Wi-Fi no functional afterwards, without any tinkering. With some tweaks and poking around under the hood it is expected that eventually there will be fully functional custom ROMs for the Mate 9 based on P10 firmware (with EMUI 5.1).
While not earth shattering this news it is good to know that Huawei are already working on this. What it also does is put them on the clock once Android O is eventually released. We now know they have an early version of the source code available to them so there is very little excuse for taking months after final release to release the update.