Google launches Android O with some interesting changes such as picture-in-picture mode, new notification channels, adaptive icons, and much more. Probably to be named Android Oreo, the first developer preview is now out.
The tech giant is continuing its transparency of pre-releasing early builds of new Android versions with the announcement of Android O Developer Preview. In the past, Google had released the Android 7.1 Developer Preview, which lets you get early Android builds via over-their-air on Nexus devices.
Android O Developer Preview includes an updated SDK with system images for all the supporting devices, including Nexus 5X and Nexus Player. Google launches Android O with a ton of new eye-popping features and APIs, so we’ll briefly highlight several of these below:
1. Background Limits
Android O puts a big focus on enhancing the battery life and a device’s interactive performance. The new version puts additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background. To do so, it comes with three categories: Implicit broadcasts, location updates, and background services. Background limits represent a major change in Android.
2. Notification Channels
Android O unveils notification channels to provide a unified system, helping users to manage notifications with app-defined categories. It will let developers create a notification channel for different sorts of notification that they need to send.
Users can even manage most of the notification settings using a consistent system UI. All notifications posted to a particular channel will act the same.
Google’s Android O also deprecates developers to set priority levels for individual notifications. As an alternative, one can now set an optional importance level while creating a notification channel. After you succeed in creating a notification channel, only the system can customize its importance level, giving power back to users.
In addition, it gives users the ability to snooze notifications to reappear at a later time. Notifications reappear with the same importance level they first appeared with.
On top of that, Google launches Android O with new visuals and grouping to notifications.
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3. Picture-in-Picture Mode
Picture-in-Picture display is now available for smartphones as well as tablets, so users can now watch a video while doing any other task. It lets developers specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions such as play and pause.
The next version of Android also includes a new app overlay window for apps to use rather than a system alert. Multi-display support is also provided to launch an activity on a remote display.
The tech major Google launches Android O with the support for high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs like LDAC. It has been reported that the update brings aptX support, which is a high-quality Bluetooth codec from Qualcomm.
Other features include Wi-Fi Aware, also known as Neighborhood Aware Networking (NAN). On appropriate hardware devices, apps and nearby devices can discover and communicate with each other over Wi-Fi with no Internet access point.
5. Font Resources in XML
Another change that Google announces in the Developer Preview of Android O is font resource. Now, apps can make use of fonts in XML layouts and declare font weight and style together with the font files.
6. Autofill APIs
Android O officially identifies the password managers’ role by including an Autofill API. The platform allows users to select an autofill app in the same way they select a keyboard app.
7. Adaptive Icons
Google launches Android O with adaptive icons which can now display a range of shapes across different models and devices. Users can set a launcher icon using a circular shape on one OEM device and use a ‘squircle’ on another.
Each OEM device will offer a mask which the system can use to render all icons with the same shape. The OS also animates interactions with icons and utilizes icons in the Settings app, sharing dialog, shortcuts, and overview screen.
8. Wide-Gamut Color for Apps
Android O comes with a wide-gamut color display for apps. In order to display wide gamut images, apps will need to turn on a flag in their manifest per activity and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile.
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9. AAudio API for Pro Audio
Google specifically designed a new native API, dubbed AAudio. It is intended for apps that require low-latency and high-performance audio.
10. Keyboard Navigation
The next OS works towards building a more predictable and reliable model for ‘tab’ and ‘arrow’ navigation.
11. WebView Enhancements
Android O enables multi-process mode for WebViews by default, and adds an API to let an app to handle crashes and errors.
12. Accessibility Feature: Fingerprint Gestures
Accessibility services replace alternative input mechanisms like a directional swipe gesture with a fingerprint sensor.
13. Java 8 Language APIs
Google launches Android O along with full support for Java Language APIs. Apart from this, Android Runtime is faster than ever before as the tech giant claims enhancements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.
To know how to check Android O update on your phone, visit at How to manually check system updates in Android
Google Launches Android O Developer Preview
If you’re really yearning to try out Android O, you can try it out with the system images provided by the tech goliath for Nexus 5X, Nexus Player, Nexus 6P, Google Pixel, Pixel C, and Pixel XL.
Moreover, you can even download the updated SDK and try it out on the official Android Emulator. There’s also an emulator to test Android Wear 2.0 on Android O.
Google heavily insists that this developer preview launch is for developers only. It’s not projected for daily and customer use. However, Google launches Android O with its first developer preview that is available from today in the form of a factory image file.
Once the tech giant comes closer to a final product, it will launch Android O with Beta program. As per reports, there will be three additional Developer Previews prior to the final debut sometime in Q3 of 2017.