Android 8.1 update brings "perfectly smooth" scrolling


The Android 8.1 developer preview has been available for Google Pixel and Nexus phones for a few days, and while it seems like an iterative update, it brings some very noticeable and important performance improvements. More specifically, the 8.1 update brings some under the hood changes that make scrolling and the overall experience much, much smoother. We can testify to this as we have updated our original Google Pixel and the improvement in terms of performance is definitely noticeable.

Keep in mind that Android 8.1 is still a developer preview at the moment, so it's nowhere near completely finalized and we recommend waiting for the official version to arrive to your device.


With this in mind, there is little official information from Google about what has changed. Reddit user scoularis speculates that "Google has implemented an extra frame buffer to the Android renderer, and the end-result is perfectly smooth v-synced scrolling with nary a dropped frame in sight". Again, we can testify to the experience, but we are yet to see a detailed technical explanation from Google about how it makes this possible.

The same user scoularis claims that the responsiveness suffers so very slightly in order to get to that super smooth performance, but the trade-off seems worthy.

Have any of you tried the Android 8.1 developer preview on your Nexus or Pixel phones? Let us know your opinion about it in the comments right below.

reference: Reddit

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35 Comments

1. mikehunta727 unregistered

Sounds like triple buffering

6. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Triple buffering exists since Project Butter was launched together with Jellybean.

10. Cat97

Posts: 1804; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Since triple buffering already existed, and an extra buffer was implemented, the answer is simple: quadruple buffering :)

13. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Quadruple buffering? Will have to try this out ASAP.

2. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

You see apple .. this is how its done ...

3. Tziggy14

Posts: 623; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

you what Apple's done since 2007.

9. Hollowmost

Posts: 414; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

iOS 11 killed my sisters iPhone 5s

15. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Tbh she was stupid to update it, it is common knowledge that 3rd, and if Apple feels generous, 4th update always make devices almost unusable. This was true with iP4 on iOS7, 4S on 8/9, 5 on 10, 5S and 6 on 11. I think I'm gonna update my SE to 11 since I heard great things from 6S users, but no way I'm gonna update to 12 unless it will keep from getting cancer while reading PA's comment section

21. dazed1

Posts: 789; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Apple has been s**t in terms of performance since ios 7, one couldn't notice it since android was worse at the time. Since Marshmallow Apple is done, go watch Chris Pirilo, you will understand everything you need to know, ios drops frames like there is no tomorrow.

7. kiko007

Posts: 7493; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Diminish performance to simulate fluidity? Why would Apple need to do that? IOS has been the smoother platform since its very inception, and will likely continue to be because Frame drops are still a very common thing on Android.

14. bobby84

Posts: 595; Member since: May 13, 2016

I played on the X today for a while and it lagged swiping to the right once. This is iOS that never lagged had a frame rate drop from a brand new phone with awesome power and nothing one it, what's up with that. Android doesn't drop frame rate anymore than iOS ex pixel. Some Android oems or carriers can't tinker with the software and cause that. But technically Android does lag. Also I'm not impressed with the X don't like the yellow tint and camera was average compared to my note 8. Didn't use the new emojis or face id. It's not bad, it just I'm use to better, a bigger brighter, more vivid screen, more features, options etc. It just seems bacis

17. Furbal unregistered

Apple has gotten sloppy with software. 11 was terrible on my 7 plus. 11.1 is mostly good on my new 8+ but it still jitters or freezes in some spots. Sharing photos from the photo App regularly causes a freeze, Apollo for reddit froze twice on me yesterday (developer fault more than likely but still annoying)

22. dazed1

Posts: 789; Member since: Jul 28, 2015

Stop spreading BS! ios is stuttery mess compared to Pixel, and even the Note 8.

23. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Stop it.

25. JohnR

Posts: 145; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

It is not. It’s buggy but still smooth as butter. The update to 11.1 fixed a lot of the problems

24. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 908; Member since: May 07, 2014

iPhone does the same thing.. They hide the lag behind the slow animantions.

34. cheetah2k

Posts: 2198; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

I love android, but this should have been done many years ago.... Waiting till Version 8.1 is a bit of a, well...

4. adecvat

Posts: 630; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

LMAO, I heard it before, wait a minute. 2012 Jelly bean 4.1 "buttery smooth"

29. lolatfailphones

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 08, 2013

Looooool "project stutter"

5. Boybawang

Posts: 204; Member since: Jun 02, 2013

Yes Buttery Smooth before you install any app. After you install Facebook no more Buttery smooth.

8. p51d007

Posts: 701; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Shoot, I have Nougat 7, running on a Mate 9, with Nova Launcher...it's "buttery smooth" too.

19. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Nova is very smooth, always has been, even on phones that weren't smooth otherwise.

11. libra89

Posts: 2265; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I can always wait, no need to be a tester for me.

12. FeloniusMonk

Posts: 18; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

"The same user scoularis claims that the responsiveness suffers so very slightly in order to get to that super smooth performance" They probably just slowed down the speed of scrolling, since the LEDs on the Pixel 2 XL couldn't keep up. Recall the video of rubbery black bars because the display couldn't turn on and off LEDs at the original scrolling rate.

16. nodes

Posts: 1154; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

this buttery smooth is thrown everywhere since Jelly Bean, so it's double butter smooth now? lol.

18. TMHKR

Posts: 202; Member since: Dec 08, 2012

Android can never become -really- smooth, it's just the way it is (note: Android user)

20. tedkord

Posts: 17198; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Based on what?

26. JohnR

Posts: 145; Member since: Sep 08, 2017

Based on daily use. It’s stutters and jerks by nature. Try scrolling a simple web page and see

27. Cicero

Posts: 1108; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Maybe you need a faster internet connection or a better browser or some more ram or a better flash drive with a better interface. Like scrolling web page with an old laptop comparing with a new one (8GB ram, pcie ssd, ac wifi, cpu ryzen or i8, gpu solution from nvidia or amd).

28. lolatfailphones

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 08, 2013

Maybe he needs to throw his lagdroid away lol

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