Android O Features ( Whats new )
Android O is upon us! Well, not really. But the first developer preview has been released and we’re starting to uncover what Google has been doing with Android for the past year and what to expect when it’s released.
Google says to expect the full version in the fall of 2017, but we should see a major update and a new preview version in mid-May right around the time Google I/O 2017 is happening. Our bet is that we will also see a proper beta program release then, but Google hasn’t said as much. In the meantime, we’ll keep this page updated as the best place to find everything you need to know about Android O!
What’s new in Android O
We have to start with all the changes under the hood that come with Android O. And we expect plenty of them. With the first developer preview, we saw some exciting stuff that will have a big impact for developers and the apps they can make. New ways to use custom fonts and icons, a better way to deliver professional-level audio and awesome ways to connect with others for things like head-to-head gaming or local social applications.
Android O Features
Higher-Quality Wireless Audio and new Connectivity features
Android O now also supports high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as Sony’s LDAC codec. AAudio is a new native API that’s designed specifically for apps that require high-performance, low-latency audio. Apps using AAudio read and write data via streams. Google is also adding new Wi-Fi features like Wi-Fi Aware, which was previously known Neighbour Awareness Networking. This allows apps and nearby devices to discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without requiring an Internet access point. The Connection Service APIs is also being extended to third-party calling apps, which can now be displayed in different UIs like a head unit of a car.
Better battery life via tighter control on background limits for apps
Android Nougat ushered in great respite for anyone looking to get better battery life from their smartphone and Android O promises to help this cause even further. Google has added additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background which fall in three main areas – implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates. With this provision in place, developers can now fine tune the kind of activity that their app can perform when running in the background in order to have minimal impact on battery life.
Google is giving the user more control on how we treat notifications with its new Notification Channels framework. These are app-defined categories for notification content which when set right by the developer, gives the user a more fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications for an app rather than managing all the app’s notifications together. Users can control the importance level, sound, lights, vibration, etc., for an entire channel.
Apps can now have adaptive launcher icons which can display a variety of shapes depending on the device. According to Google, “a launcher icon can display using a circular shape on one OEM device, and display a squircle on another device. Each device OEM provides a mask, which the system then uses to render all icons with the same shape.” The system also has the ability to animate interactions with the icons and these can be used in shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogue and in the overview screen, besides the launcher.
Platform support for Autofill apps
Password managers are lifesavers for many and in Android O, Google is adding platform support for these apps. In the similar way one selects a keyboard to use, you’ll soon be able to pick an autofill app that the system will default to. The new Autofill Framework will manage the communication between the app and an autofill service.
Picture-in-picture mode for handsets and tablets
A feature that’s currently available on Android TV, PIP mode is now coming to other Android devices with the O update. This is most useful for video playback as the app will now be able to put themselves in PIP mode and you can specify the aspect ratio and type of controls you want the app to have in this state. Other than this, there’s a new app overlay window and multi-display support for launching an app on a remote display.
Wide-gamut colour for apps
Imaging and photo editing apps can now be tweaked to take advantage of devices that support wide colour gamut displays.
Highlights in Surface Book
The performance of the Surface Book is reasonably high with the use of sixth generation Intel i5 and i7 Processor.
If you own a chrome book, you know the pain of using an external keyboard. You can’t navigate through the apps using the tab or arrow keys. Android O will have much better support for external keyboards. Of course, tab and arrow keys will become functional.
Google is enhancing Web View which will now enable multi process mode by default and a new API which allows apps to better handle errors and crashes. Android O now supports several new Java Language APIs, including the new java.time API. The Android Run time is said to be much faster than before, with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.
These are just some of the changes highlighted by Google as of now and we expect more announcements to surface as we draw closer to the company’s big event in May.