March 2018 Security Update Launches For Pixel, Nexus Devices

Google on Monday launched the March 2018 Android Security Update for its Pixel devices and eligible Nexus-branded offerings. The Alphabet-owned company released both the factory images and full over-the-air update files, suggesting the latest firmware will start rolling out to compatible handsets no later than tomorrow. Users who aren't keen on waiting can still flash the update manually using either method. Google also released its official changelog detailing the new software, listing 37 vulnerabilities addressed by the new patch. As is usually the case, the new fixes eliminate security issues related to Android's Media framework, system services, and kernel components, as well as manufacturer-specific tech. A number of vulnerabilities associated with NVIDIA and Qualcomm-made components have been addressed, with the company stating it has no knowledge of the newly disclosed issues ever being exploited.

Original equipment manufacturers were notified of the fixes a month in advance and will now be optimizing the security patches before distributing them to their own devices. Owners of locked Android smartphones and tablets will also depend on their wireless carrier of choice who will have to approve the new update before pushing it out. One of several remote code execution vulnerabilities identified in the Media framework of the mobile OS was highlighted by Google as the most critical issue addressed by the new patch. The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are also receiving a number of performance enhancements with the latest security update. According to the company's official changelog, owners of its latest Android-powered flagships can expect improved audio recording while shooting videos and should also benefit from shorter screen wakeup times when unlocking their devices using their rear-mounted fingerprint readers. The patch will also improve the process of crash reporting on the two smartphones but no additional details on the matter have yet been shared by the company.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant is soon expected to release the first developer preview of Android P for its Pixel-series devices, with latest reports suggesting the software will debut on March 14. A Pi Day release would also serve as an Easter egg of sorts and suggest Google's next major OS build may share a (phonetical) name with one of the world's most well-known mathematical constants - 3.14, i.e. pi(e).

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