Huawei is currently rolling out the Android Pie update for one of its best budget smartphones from last year, the Huawei Y9 2019.
The device launched in Kenya in October 2018 running Android 8.1 Oreo with Huawei’s EMUI 8.2 overlay straight out of the box. Since then, it has received regular monthly security patches but there was no sign of Android 9 hitting the device.
That changed back in March when Huawei started recruiting beta testers for the device’s Pie update.
Now, it seems that those tests were conclusive and successful as the update has been reported by various users both locally and around the world to have begun rolling out over the last 72 hours.
The update is currently rolling out to the JKM-LX1 model (like the one we took for a spin).
Some users of the JKM-LX2 model (sold in the UK and other foreign markets) have reported receiving the update even earlier than their LX1 counterparts. Users of the JKM-LX3 model (the single SIM variant that has been on sale at Safaricom shops) models may have to wait a little longer for their long overdue slice of Android Pie.
As usual, this is a phased upgrade and not everyone is getting the update at first (our own review unit is yet to get it) but it should become available to more users over the next coming days.
If you have a Y9 2019 unit that is yet to receive the update, make going to Settings > System > System update > Check for updates a daily habit.
Besides the huge upgrade from Android Oreo to Pie, the update also brings with it the May 2019 security patch, bringing relief to Huawei device users who have been thrown off balance since Google’s dramatic pulling of Huawei’s Android license last month which meant that future updates were no longer guaranteed (details). It is still not clear what will become of such updates after Huawei’s temporary license lapses in August.
Other features waiting for users of the device that currently goes for about Kshs 22,000 once they upgrade include EMUI 9 specific features like HiVision visual search, wireless universal screen projection through Miracast, GPU Turbo 2.0 (for improved game fluency and reduced touch delay), a gaming mode, Password Vault, SmartCare AI learning, Huawei Share 3.0 and a further enhancement of the full view gesture-based navigation that users of the Y9 2019 already enjoy.
There are also Android 9 features like Digital Balance (Huawei’s own take of the Digital Wellbeing feature introduced in Android Pie and being perfected in the upcoming Android Q) among others.
The update clocks in at a whopping 3.19 GB so it is advisable to be on Wi-Fi before initiating the download. And, since Huawei updates usually trickle like some coca sap, you might need to find something to do for about an hour as it downloads before giving it some more time to install. The wait is worth it, though.
At this point, I am going to take back my words.
Huawei claims that it has so far managed to update devices used by as many as 80 million users around the world to EMUI 9 which is based on Android 9 Pie and plans to increase that number to 100 million by rolling out updates to several more devices including oldies like the Huawei P10, Mate 10 and Mate 9.
The Huawei Y9 2019 Android Pie update comes at a time when Huawei Mobile Kenya is preparing itself to launch the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 (yes, that’s hella confusing).