Back in April, Google teased everyone when they released the first preview of Android O, the successor to the current Android 7.0 Nougat.
The OS still doesn’t have an official name despite having a logo. The preview was pretty substantial, although we weren’t able to take a good look at it, not until now when they officially released the second developer preview at Google I/O 2017.
Unlike the other releases before it, there’s not a lot of visual change that happened with Android O. This new iteration of Google’s mobile operating system looks visually the same with its predecessor, the Android 7.0 Nougat.
I think that it is a good thing since their engineers were more focused on adding new features and refining other tiny details.
We have listed below five of the most interesting new features that we will be seeing in the upcoming Android 8.0 O.
This feature isn’t entirely new as it is already a feature in Android TV, other Android apps, and some iOS devices. But what Google is gonna is that they’ll be incorporating it natively with Android O, so it will work seamlessly with the upcoming mobile devices that will support it.
As what Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, demonstrated in Google I/O, PIP lets you watch a YouTube video while using a completely different app. Once the home button is pressed, the video will be shrunk down into a small window and it will float from anywhere your screen and wherever you wanna place it.
This feature can be useful when you’re watching a tutorial on YouTube and wanting to write down notes. Another example is when you’re talking with a friend via video call and you want to check out a news article you were talking about in Google Chrome.
Again, this isn’t the first time we’re seeing this feature. We have seen iOS made it popular with their iPhone. A lot of Android third-party launchers and manufacturer-made UI tried to replicate Apple’s software feature, but none of those copy-cats seemed to get it right. But now, Google is finally and officially adopting it with Android O. They’re calling it Notification Dots.
Other than the official support, Notification Dots has some extra features up its sleeves. Aside from just having a small dot appearing at the top of an app icon where a new notification has been received, you can long press the subjected app icon to launch immediate actions to respond to it or quickly check what was the notification all about.
Smart Text Selection
Now this next one looks a bit promising. The highlighting and copy/pasting texts is a legacy feature to almost all of the devices that existed back then and now, but Google is giving it a facelift in Android O.
With the help of Google AI, Android O can intelligently detect the words that you’re about to highlight and suggests a fitting action to use the selected characters.
If you highlight a phone number, the OS will automatically display a dial button. Also, if you highlight an address, it will automatically give you an option to check it out on Google Maps. What’s more interesting is that you just have to pick one word and it will automatically highlight the full address for you.
Do you always use different devices every time (Like what we do when reviewing gadgets)? and are you tired of always typing down your account details in all of your social media apps? Well, this new Android O feature will be a good news for all of us.
The auto-fill function, which is currently only available to your web browser, can now work natively within smartphone apps. This new auto-fill function lets social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and others to pull out the saved account details from the browser. This translates to a faster and easier access to accounts as you do not have to type in your username and password every time.
This last one actually consists of three features. Vitals, as what Google fittingly called this feature, incorporates the tools needed to aid all of the vital aspects: security, battery, and optimized performance. Some of Vitals components will be implemented not just in Android O, but also in other older versions.
Google scans 50 billion installed apps every day and removes/disables an app once they find it potentially harmful. The company has been implementing this feature for quite some time now, but a lot of users aren’t actually aware of it since they are doing it behind the scenes. So, to give users a peace of mind, they have introduced Google Play Protect, which is embedded directly in the Google Play app.
There’s also a new internal feature called Wise Limits, which basically manages the apps running in the background. It will then try to stop apps from running so it can free up space and save battery.
And the last branch of Vitals is the Play Console Dashboard. Now, this feature is made for the developers, but it will still entirely benefit the users. This new software analyzes apps and then points out six top issues that it has. The data recovered from it can be a reference for the developer when improving the app, thus, benefiting the people using their product.
Android O Release Date
Android O is still being seeded to developers as of the moment. However, it is said that the official version will be made available to Google devices (Pixel, Nexus, and Android One) anywhere between August and September. If you do not own a Google smartphone, then you might expect an Android O update later this year. But to be more realistic, expect it next year.
Device adaptation has always been a problem with Android. Just like what we see today, a lot of newly released handsets still has Android Marshmallow on them, while older devices are just starting to be updated to Android Nougat despite the upcoming availability of Android O.