Opinion: Android O is just Nougat with sprinkles

Each year, millions of Google loyalists expectantly await the release of their smartphone’s new mobile operating system. And every time, changes take a little getting used to, but ultimately improve both battery life and productivity. Usually, there’s even an element to aesthetic updates which heighten the excitement of the general masses. But in the year 2017, Android fans may be a little disappointed.

Android Marshmallow brought about Google Now on Tap, app permission customization, and a streamlined Chrome experience, to name a few. Then, Nougat introduced the much-desired notification tray interactions, multi-window support, and improved security and battery life. And we waited expectantly for Oreo (or whatever Google chooses for a name).

And now the beta is released. But Android O doesn’t seem to hold the same level of prowess. It lacks substance, and it fails to impress. While it’s worth noting that my experience is primarily from the 3rd Developer Preview, aside from a couple minor UI changes, it’s the same operating system with a little bling. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either.

Let me elaborate.

It’s So Basic

Android O looks like Nougat, works like Nougat, smells and tastes like Nougat. And while that’s not a bad thing, it’s not something that should be released as a next-gen operating system. The many tiny updates to UI and UX are essentially what should be released in Nougat 7.3 or something. We will get notification badges, custom lock screen apps, and WiFi Awareness. These are nice, but they’re not huge, and they don’t really matter to the majority of Android users. There are even some other features, but nothing big enough to warrant a whole new Alphabet letter. 

No News is Good News

While Android O will only help Google’s mobile operating system improve, the update also indicates that the tech giant is slowly running out of ideas. This doesn’t mean that the Mountain View company has nowhere to go, however. It simply means Android has reached such level of maturity that minor tweaks and enhancements will dominate future releases. While there isn’t much excitement in that, at least Google didn’t straight up scrap it (yet).

Looking to the Future

The 2017 letter “O” probably won’t be the last major update to Android, but for Google enthusiasts, the endearing little green robot may be soon replaced. We all know Google gets bored of its programs, services, hardware, and other snazzy ideas on a regular basis. Somehow, despite very few of the original components still existing to this day, fans continue to eagerly await each and every new announcement. Perhaps Fuchsia really will be the next big player in the mobile device world.

Featured-image: Droid Life