Google announces Android O; developer previews now available

Today, Google has gone ahead and lifted the curtains on the next version of Android—Android O. Following Android N’s pre-Google I/O release, we all new Android O was due sooner or later. Of course, it doesn’t have a name yet, and we’ll probably have to wait until Q3 of this year when the final release is made public to know.

First of all, there will not be any OTA betas for the first couple of previews as Google notes that “these are strictly development images and that they could be very buggy and unstable, and are not suitable for daily use.” Images are available for the Nexus 5X, 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL. You can flash them from here.

Background limits

Google says background limits will allow for an even better battery life by strictly limiting what apps and services are allowed to do in the background of the OS.


Notification channels

Notification channels will “let users control your app’s notification categories.” For example, Twitter could create separate channels for mentions, likes, DMs, etc. The user then supposedly could easily enable or disable these specific app notifications accordingly from the system.

Notification snoozing

Photo: 9to5Google

Notifications can now also be snoozed for either 15 mins, 30 mins, or 1 hour. You can’t set them to snooze for a specific time, but still a welcome feature.

App badges

Photo: 9to5Google

Android has now gained support for notification badges on app icons—something that’s been on iOS for ages.

Autofill APIs
Photo: Android Police

With O, Android is officially getting Autofill APIs for developers. This means apps like LastPass will finally have an OS-level way to fill stuff in for you.

Picture in Picture support

Android O finally brings native PIP support. PIP video initially launched on Android TV with Nougat, but it’s now coming to all phones and tablets. Now you can watch a YouTube video and use a different app simultaneously.

Adaptive icons

Developers can now take advantage of Android O’s “adaptive icons.” What this means is that depending on the “mask selected by the device,” the system will display the icon in different shapes. The system also animates interactions with the icons and displays them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.

Bluetooth aptX support
Photo: Android Police

“High-quality Bluetooth audio codecs” are now supported by the OS. The screenshot above in developer options shows aptX, aptX HD, and Sony’s LDAC codecs.

Keyboard navigation

To put it shortly, navigating Android with a keyboard and arrow keys will (should) now be easier.

Wide-gamut color

Developers of photo apps can take advantage of newer devices that feature a wide-gamut color capable display.

Revamped Settings app
Photo: 9to5Google

With Android O, the Settings app gets a major redesign. From the completely white background to the new icon, it’s all brand new. Have a look for yourself with the screenshots above.

Tweaked quick settings panel

O brings some minor design changes to the quick settings and notification panel. Rather than describe them to you, I’ve gathered a couple of short screen recordings of them above.

Source: Android Developers Blog