Google has released the developer preview of Android O (can anyone think of a name apart from Oreo?). Google is teasing and prompting developers to get started with this year’s Android OS update well in advance of its usual autumn release. Every Android OS update comes in May, at Google’s I/O event. Here’s everything we know from the first glance at Android O(reo)
The question that constantly plagues manufacturers, OS makers and consumers alike. As with every update, we once again hear about priority on improving battery life. Android O is obviously prioritising better power management. It’s being done by adding additional limits to applications running in the background: implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates. This significant update will allow developers to create lighter apps that will drain your battery less.
Thought your notifications got cool with Nougat? Android continues to evolve this function with Notification Channels. Each app can define categories for the alerts it sends out. Developers will be able to give users fine-grained control over different categories of notifications. This means you’ll be able to block or change the behavior of each channel individually rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together. You’ll also see new visuals and grouping additions to the notifications that make the UI way more intuitive for users. I love what Android has been doing with notifications and it’s only going to get better.
Autofill will be much simpler
We use autofill apps so we don’t have to remember the complicated passwords we have for each and every app or website. With Android O you’ll be able to select your default autofill app and use it seamlessly across the platform. Developers will be able to bake-in the functionality to their apps so you can use autofill across the board, just like how you can choose the keyboard you want to use.
Picture in picture (PiP)
Now here’s an exciting little addition. Don’t you just hate how you can never watch a YouTube video and do absolutely anything else at the same time? Picture in picture allows you to watch a video while browsing in any other app that supports it. Apps can put themselves in PiP mode from a resumed or paused state where the system supports it. You can also specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions, such as play/pause.
Developers can create adaptive icons that will work a lot better with every UI. Adaptive icons allow the system to generate them in different shapes, based on a mask selected by the device. The system will also animate interactions with the icons using it throughout the OS. Across millions of themes and launchers, app icons can now have a more consistent look and feel.
Android O will supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as LDAC. It’s one of 30 audio-enhancing features contributed by Sony. Expect new Wi-Fi features such as Wi-Fi Aware, previously known as Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN). On devices that support it, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an internet access point.
Like last year, Android begins its public fanfare in anticipation of its latest update. We’ll know a lot more over the coming months, with a clearer picture at the company’s I/O event in May.