On Tuesday, Google finally released the developer’s preview of its next OS update called Android O. While the tech giant hasn’t confirmed its official name yet, it did give us a heap of details on what it would bring on our device. It’s still early days for version 8.0 and we will surely hear more from Google before its wide release, but here are the hottest Android O features we know so far:
1. Notification Channels
Thanks to this new feature, we will be able to sort notifications into categories instead of just grouping them all by app. This way, users can block some less-useful notifications and ensure that only the important ones pull them out of their daily routine. It will also be much tidier than how the existing versions bring order to the deluge of notifications we usually get on our phones.
2. Background Limits
To conserve one’s battery, Google will limit what apps can do while they are launched on your phone but not actively being used. Developers still need to find ways to ensure that their apps can still function with these new restrictions. However, the end result should be more efficient, longer-lasting devices, according to Stuff.
3. Picture-in-Picture On Phones & Tablets
Previously available only on Android TV, the next version of Google’s mobile OS will support picture-in-picture (PiP) so users can keep watching a video while using other apps like answering an email, hailing a car, or navigating around the system.
4. Autofill APIs
Another useful addition to the system is the Autofill APIs which populate text boxes automatically with things like usernames and passwords so we don’t have to type them in repeatedly. Users who have been using DashLane or LastPass won’t need the third-party password manager apps anymore as the functionality is already built right into Android, at least with Android O.
5. Adaptive Icons
In hopes of putting some life into the flat app logos on the display, Google is introducing what it calls “Adaptive Icons.” App icons can now change shapes based on different themes. For example, a Facebook app icon may have a square shape on a Google Pixel XL but a circular (or squircle) one when displayed on a Samsung Galaxy S8.
6. Improved Sound Quality
For those who love wireless audio, Android O will bring in high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs such as Sony’s LDAC codec. There is also AAudio, a new native API for apps which need high-performance, low-latency audio.
7. Font resources in XML
Font resources in XML will make fonts a “fully supported resource type” in Android O. This allows developers to add a custom font to an application just as easily as they add images or text.
8. Wide-Gamut Color Support
Wide-gamut color (WGC) support for apps will allow imaging apps on devices with wide-gamut color displays to open wide-gamut images with the right color profile. Unlike HDR which only offers more (and less) brightness, WGC offers more colors for more expressive designs.
9. Webview Enhancements
WebView multiprocessing is now enabled by default. According to Ars Technica, the feature is basically an embeddable browser window for apps, and in Android N it became part of the Chrome APK and switched to a “beta” multithreaded version. Now it’s the default. Developers will get WebView crash handling in Android O, too.
10. Improved Keyboard Navigation
Google’s next iteration of its smartphone OS is also getting a better keyboard support for improved app navigation. The tech giant explains it’s “focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for ‘arrow’ and ‘tab’ navigation” for Chromebooks and devices with larger form factors.