Google has officially announced the arrival of Android O, the upcoming Android version which will be succeeding the current Nougat. It is the for the second time when Google has revealed the next Android version within the month of March. But as for the official name, it is a mystery like in the past and will most likely be revealed on the day of the official public release which will take a few more months.
In the official blog post, Google has pointed out some of the Android O features which will become available with the first Developer Preview. Most of these new features and changes are related with under the hood happenings of Android with less focus on what appears on the outside (at least for now).
To start off things, Google is once again focusing on improving the battery life of Android devices by introducing background limits. It basically means that Google is being more strict about what apps can do when in the background, especially in following areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates.
The next change in the line is related to the way Android handles notifications. Google first brought a major change to notification management with Nougat and now with Android O, it has introduced notification channels. These are basically new app-defined categories (or you can say groups) for notifications and will allow for a more granular control over their behavior. As for users, they will be able to block or take any other action on each channel.
Additionally, Google said, “Android O also adds new visuals and grouping to notifications that make it easier for users to see what’s going on when they have an incoming message or are glancing at the notification shade.” There is no doubt all of this is quite vague and hard to understand from what is written. It seems like we will actually have to wait and see the new notification management system in action to know what exactly it means.
Google is also bringing the Picture in Picture (PIP) mode for videos on both smartphones and tablets. It means you should be able to watch videos while continuing to use the app like it happens in the official YouTube app. Users will also be able to specify the aspect ratio and custom interactions like play/pause while using the mode. There is also a new app overlay window format as well as multi-display support for launching activities on a secondary display.
Since we are talking about changes on the front-end, Google has introduced adaptive app icons. It means app icons will be able to adapt their look and shape depending on the theme of the interface. There will also be animations depending on the interactions which will be visible in launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.
Some of the other Android O features and changes listed by Google are:
- Autofill APIs: To make it easier for apps like password managers to autofill data like username and password
- Font resources in XML: Apps can now use fonts in XML layout format
- Wide gamut color for apps
- Better keyboard navigation
There are lot more of these changes which will be coming to Android O. If interested, you can visit the official blog post by clicking the source link below.
Android O Developer Preview 1:
Google has made Android O Developer Preview 1 files available for all eligible devices. The supported devices are Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL. If you want to download Android O DP1, you can do so from this official page.