Android “O” is the codename of an upcoming release of the Android mobile operating system. It was first released as an alpha quality developer preview on March 21, 2017. The second developer preview was released on May 17, 2017, and it is considered beta quality.
Android O is the next major update to the Android. It follows the release of Android Nougat from last summer. Android O will also likely be labelled Android 8.0. After all, Android Marshmallow got the numerical designation Android 6.0, and Android Nougat got Android 7.0-7.1. However, older versions of Android, such as Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat, were all labelled 4.x updates.
What will Android O be called?
Google usually names its major Android OS updates after tasty treats – and in alphabetical order. So far, the company has released Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat. It’s safe to say that Google will release Android O in 2017 with a sweet treat-themed name that begins with the letter O.
What does Android O feature?
“Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance,” Android says on its developer blog.
To try to improve how long a phone stays alive, Android O will automatically limit what an app can do when it is open in the background. This will stop an application from consistently using data when it is not the main app that is being used. Google says limits will focus on apps broadcasting in the background, services, and location updates.
The blog post says: “These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery”.
Google billed Notification Dots as “a new for app developers to indicate that there’s activity in their app”. On the surface, it looks similar to the app badges we’ve seen on the iPhone’s operating system for years. It’s essentially a little dot that appears on the app icons when there’s a notification.
To interact with it, you can long-press on the app icon and a pop-up bubble appears showing the notification, right above where the app icon is on the screen. That means – while you still can – you don’t have to drop down the notification shade from the top of the screen to see your alerts.
And, thankfully, the dots disappear as soon as you dismiss the notifications from the drop-down shade.
Like Chrome and other major browsers, it will now be possible for Android devices to autofill content into forms. Through new autofill APIs for developers, those using phones will be able to “select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app”.
As an example, you can log in to the Twitter account on your phone using the suggested account name and password that Google remembered from your Chrome browsing. It will work for most applications, presuming you opt-in to the feature.
When multitasking on a device or tablet the new Android O will make it possible to view videos in a Picture in Picture (PiP) mode. This means you won’t have to stop watching Netflix to send an important email.
Audio improvements and connections
Android O is introducing new Bluetooth audio codecs to enable connecting and streaming to wireless audio devices at a higher quality. There’s also a new “Wi-Fi Aware”, which was previously known as Neighbor Awareness Networking. On supported devices, apps and nearby devices can communicate over Wi-Fi without an internet access point.
Smart Text Selection
Smart Text Selection is another new feature that’s designed to make daily interactions with your phone less tedious. For instance, if an email contains the name of a restaurant or cafe with more than one word, you can double tap any of the words, and it’ll select the whole name.
More importantly, it can detect entire addresses; so double tapping any part of an address will automatically select the entire thing. What’s more, when it is selected, the system knows it’s an address and offers you the option to navigate there using Maps, along with the usual cut, copy and format options. It’s the same for phone numbers or email addresses, automatically giving you the relevant functions for those.
Google is said to be testing a Copyless Paste feature in its Chrome Android app that uses machine learning to predict what the user will want to paste, cutting the process down to just one tap. For example, if the user looked at a restaurant website then switched to the Maps app, the keyboard would offer the restaurant name as a suggestion. Google has not confirmed whether the feature will definitely arrive with Android O.
Google Play Protect
Google has decided with Android O that it wants to make its efforts to keep your phone secure more visible. With O, in the apps and games screen, a small card appears to let you know that it’s scanning all your apps to make sure they don’t contain anything harmful.
With Android O, Google has done some serious work on the backend to improve speed. That means, booting up your phone will take far less time than it does currently. With the Pixel, Google claims it boots up more than twice as fast. It will also mean that apps load faster and smoother by default, without any work needed by the developers.
To improve the battery life of Android devices, Google plans to reduce the background activity of apps in Android O. Android can now limit how apps function in the background, thus improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance.
Google added a “reliable, predictable model” for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that helps both developers and users, the company said.
Android O release schedule
Sources: Pocketlint, Android authority