On Tuesday, Google dropped the first developer preview of its next generation mobile OS: Android O. Of course this came as a surprise just like it happened last year when the search engine giant also unexpectedly launched an initial preview of Android Nougat.
Android O is not really its official name. For those who don’t get it, here’s how Google has been naming its Android Versions. Each new version of Android is first assigned a letter that trickles down in an alphabetical order from the previous version. Thereafter, they pick out a candy or sweet that has the alphabet as its first letter.
For instance, before Android O, we had [N]augat which is a predecessor to [M]arshmallow, another predecessor to [L]ollilop and so on. All speculations for this newly out version seem to point towards ‘Oreo’ but who knows, we could as well end up with ‘Orbit’ or even Oh Henry!
At the moment, the OS is an unfinished version. But unlike before, the version hasn’t been released into the Android Beta Channel so if you are an app developer who owns either of these devices: Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, Pixel XL, Pixel or Pixel C, your only option is to download the operating system manually and flash your unit.
The final code is set to be released later in the year after all testing is over.
So what’s new in this version of Android? Well, some of these new features are just worth mentioning and they include:
Improved battery life
Google has constantly put out new features including the Doze mode in its Nougat and Marshmallow versions with the intention of slowing down battery usage. Android O is no different.
David Burke, Android’s VP of engineering remarked that they’ve put extra automatic limits on what apps can do while idling in the background. This means broadcast, location updates, and background services will likely be cut off, an issue that app developers will have to figure out better ways to navigate it.
But the good news is this could lead to better battery performance.
Extra control over notifications
Android O will let apps group alerts in a notification channel which is remarkable because it allows users to get selective on what notification they will want to receive.
On top of that, there will also add a system-level feature that lets you snooze notifications and perhaps push them to reappear later. Of course an app will be allowed to update notifications even when snoozed only that they won’t reappear.
App developers can also design notifications from their apps to timeout automatically and finally, there will be an option to set a background color for different kinds of notifications,
Enhanced keyboard support
Keyboard navigation has not been left out as there’s a new and enhanced model designed to make it less frustrating using Android apps on your Chromebook. So apps will no longer be limited to touchscreen navigation alone; keyboard navigation will be added in as well.
Android O will come packed with picture-in-picture support, a new feature that will let you keep on watching your video on YouTube or Netflix while simultaneously sending out an email, texting or doing other tasks on your smartphone. Initially, one had to stop, move on to the other task then come back and start all over again which is bothersome.
Well, besides these four, there’s still a pack of other new and better features to expect from Android O. Just to name some, we have the adaptive icons for uniformity, improved sound quality, and better auto-fill support. The video below sums up the top 10 features so be sure to check it out.
As we mentioned earlier, this specific version is only meant for developers but come May when Google I/O, its annual developer conference takes place, we hope they will pour out more details about this version including its official release.