Android O: Features and changes

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Google announced Android O at its annual developer conference, Google I/O 2017, giving a first look of its upcoming operating system for smartphones, tablets, smartwatch and Android TV. Android Nougat was officially released eight months ago, Android O is the next version of world’s most popular mobile operating system set to release this Summer.

One major difference between the early Android N and O previews is that Google immediately made OTA updates of Android N available to anyone who wants to give it a try. This time around, google is not launching the new release into Android Beta channel right away. Instead, developers who own an Android O eligible device (Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C) will have to manually download and flash their devices. After a bit more testing with developers, Google will open enrollment into O through Android Beta.

This big Android update for 2017 is likely debut in full first on Google’s highly anticipated flagship the Google Pixel 2.

Read on to find out what’s new in Android O:

Picture-in-picture 

A familiar tool in many televisions, within some third-party launchers on Android and in iPad. With this new picture-in-picture mode, multitasking is even easier.  This would natively allow you to have one supported app remain lay on top of another separate app. You can have an app open or play a video in a small window, much like what you can do in the YouTube app already, instead of showing it side-by-side with another app in the usual multi-window mode.

Notifications

Each new version of Android seems to bring along an update to notifications and O is no exception. In Android O, you will see a dot appear next to an app icon which tells you have an unread item. The best part of this feature is, just like in iPhone you can press and hold the app icon to expand the message and take a peek at the alert content inside.

Smart Text Selection

We’ve all seen the basic text highlighting features, the copy/paste dialogue in Android, but now there’s more. Using machine learning, Android will recognize when you’re trying to copy/paste an address, URL or phone number and select the whole thing for you automatically, instead of just one word. In addition to asking if you want to copy the selection, the system will suggest opening the dialer if you tap a number, Gmail if you tap a email handle and Maps if you select a street address.

Background Process Limit

There’s already Doze, In Doze mode, the system attempts to conserve battery by restricting apps’ access to network and CPU-intensive services while you’re idle. Android O adds to this by putting automatic limits on what an app can do while they are in the background. These limits focus on three areas i.e. implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates. Which in turn means that your battery is going to possibly last much longer than it currently does on Android Nougat.

Enhanced Audio Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is the first Android phone to come with Bluetooth 5.0, a technology that will enhance the quality of audio content sent wirelessly between your phone and headphones. Android O supports high-quality Bluetooth audio and codecs such as LDAC. Sony is helping Google in the development of LDAC audio wireless technology. LDAC audio wireless technology can transfer a larger volume of data through Bluetooth, with a bit rate of more than 990 kbps. This means better audio quality for devices running with Android O.  In the developer option there are also settings for audio sample rates and bits per sample too, plus Android O adds a native AAudio API for apps that require high fidelity, low latency audio.

Here are highlights of all new features and changes

  • Redesigned Settings Menu

  • System UI Tuner

  • Revamped File Manager

  • Snooze Individual Notification

  • Autofill framework (like on chrome)

  • Downloadable Fonts

  • Adaptive Icons

  • Audio Focus Enhancement

  • Custom Lock Screen Shortcuts

  • New battery menu

  • Inverted Theme

  • Pixel Launcher App Drawer Improvements

  • Wider Color Gamut in Apps

  • No More ‘Unknown Sources’ Settings

  • Package Installer Progress Bar

  • New Emojis

  • Multi Display Support

  • Widgets Are Easier To Integrate

  • Search and Find App Info

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