Razer's first smartphone is going to receive its first major OS update in late April, and according to a recent tweet by the company, the Razer Phone will skip the first version of Oreo and will make the jump directly to Android 8.1 Oreo. In the meantime, the company also shared a developer preview of the upcoming update for Razer Phone owners who may want to get an early taste of Oreo before the public release takes place, although as expected, the developer preview is not available as an OTA update and instead, it can only be sideloaded on devices whose bootloaders have been unlocked.
The Razer Phone originally shipped last November running Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box, and it took only a couple of months and a few minor software updates before the OEM confirmed that an update to Oreo is being developed for a 2018 release. Exact timeframes haven't been given initially, but now according to the official tweet from Razer, the rollout is scheduled to take place in about four weeks from the time of this writing. The good news is that the OEM will skip the first iteration of Oreo and focus instead on Android 8.1, however, an exact changelog hasn't yet been provided so it's not entirely clear what the update will bring new to the table. Nevertheless, as part of the standard Android Oreo experience, the upcoming software update should provide better overall performance, improved stability and security, as well as various changes to the user interface. Furthermore, it's worth reminding that the Razer Phone doesn't have a heavily-modified custom UI on top of the Android operating system, and instead, the firmware only contains some additional features implemented by the gaming-oriented manufacturer without changing much of the standard Android OS experience. Likewise, the upcoming Android 8.1 Oreo update will, on the most part, provide a software experience very similar to how Google envisioned it, though it's safe to assume that additional features and improvements pertaining to Razer's hardware will also be included.
Razer Phone owners who may want to acquire the developer preview build can refer to the OEM's original tweet containing a link to the necessary files and instructions for flashing the image onto the device. But as always it should be noted that developer preview builds are primarily meant for testing purposes and may contain broken features and/or bugs that have yet to be ironed out by the OEM, so the best way to avoid having to deal with potential issues is to wait for the official rollout to commence.