Barely a day after pushing out the second beta build of Android 7.1.2, Nougat for its Pixel and Nexus devices, Google has just announced the next version of Android OS, Android O. There are no details as to what sweetmeat, dessert, confection would grace the full name but for now it is here and it is called O.
As of now, details are few and far between about what is new with Android O. But like its predecessors, Android O should be the high-point of the up-coming Google I/O 2017. There shall be more buzz and discussion as the event draws closer but for now let us dive into what is inside the developer preview.
Google is once again tweaking background limits, thus allowing a handset to become more power efficient. By putting in additional limiters on how applications can run in the background especially in three major areas: implicit broadcasts, background services and location based updates. Since these limits represent a major shift in how Android works, developers should start to get to grips with them.
Apart from this change, Android O is also introducing notification channels. These are application-defined categories for notification content which allow developers to give the end user finer control over different types of notifications. A user can block or change the behaviour(s) of each channel individually rather than stopping a single application’s notifications completely.
Android O is introducing the Autofill APIs which allow setting up new applications and confirming transactions much more smoother. You can select an autofill application, like how one selects a keyboard application which will store and secure user data such as their addresses, names, passwords et al like how browsers store this data on PC’s. Android O is also bringing a new feature which was previously exclusive on Android TV devices: Picture in Picture mode. With this feature users can continue to watch a video in parallel while doing other task on their smartphones.
Google is also introducing Adaptive launcher icons along with Android O. This function allows the OS to display different shapes across different devices. So a particular icon can be displayed in a square shape on one device and in a circle or squircle on another Android O device. All smartphone OEM’s will have to do is provide a mask which the OS then uses as a template to render all icons in that model. These new icons will also appear in Shortcuts, Setting application, sharing dialogues and in the overview screen.
Finally Android O is bringing in high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as the LDAC codec. This definitely can be seen as a push to make the headphone jack obsolete a couple generations down the line. New Wi-Fi features such as Wi-Fi Aware are also in the pipes. This allows applications and nearby devices to discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without the need of an active internet access point or cellular data connection.
Google has also uploaded Android O build images for its Google Pixel, Nexus 6p, 5X, Nexus Player and Pixel C devices. Since this preview build is not available from the direct beta programme, you have to manually download and flash this developer preview on your compatible device(s) to experience the latest flavour of Android.
What are your thoughts on this latest flavour of Android? Let the name guessing begin and remember to follow us our social media to keep up with the latest in world of Android.