What is Android O?

What is Android O?

At its I/O 2017 Developers Conference, Google announced the upcoming version of its hugely popular mobile operating system – Android O. It subsequently made Android O Developer Preview available to app developers and device manufacturers for evaluation and testing. Android O Developer Preview supports a wide variety of hardware devices – smartphones, tablets and TVs.

Also, Google allows developers to receive over-the-air (OTA) updates by enrolling their devices to Android Beta Program. Based on the Android O Developer Preview, we can identify a number of new features and enhancements to be provided by the upcoming version of world’s most popular mobile operating system.

Important New Features and Enhancements in Android O

Background Limits

Android O aims to improve battery life and save power by restricting specific background activities. It further implements limit on background services, location updates, and implicit broadcasts. Hence, the developers are no longer required to measure the amount of power consumed by their Android apps. The users even have option to set limits for background services and location updates by changing the default setting.

Picture in Picture

Like Android TV, Android O will support Picture in Picture (PiP) display method. The support enables users to shrink the view of an app into small secondary window and access another app seamlessly. The users even have option to decide the screen on which a specific app will run. The developers can take advantage of PiP to create Android apps that can be shrunk into small secondary windows.

Notification Channels

Android O enables app developers to group notifications according to their type by creating notification channels. The Android app developers can even create user-customizable channel for each type of notification. Also, they can display notification badges directly on the app launcher screen, and allow users to snooze the notifications.

Native Autofill APIs

Most Android users rely on third-party password management apps to avoid typing login credentials and other repetitive information frequently. Android O will make it easier for users to fill login details and other repetitive information automatically by supporting auto-fill option. The Android app developers can use Autofill APIs to make it easier for users to set up new mobile apps and perform various recurring transactions.

Adaptive Icons

Google helps app developers to overcome Android device fragmentation using adaptive icons. Android O will enable developers to use adaptive icons whose shapes keep changing automatically according to the underlying device.

Redesigned Keyboard

Google currently allows Chromebook users to download Android apps from Play Store. Android O will come with a redesigned keyboard to make it easier for Chromebook users to navigate apps. The users can use the physical keyboard to avail both arrow and tab navigation options.

Wide Gamut Images

The upcoming version of Android will enable imaging app developers to use third-party displays. The developers can now create imaging apps that display a wide gamut images on devices that include panels supporting a variety of colors. Google recommends developers to make the app enable flags according to specific activities and load bitmaps through a robust embedded wide color profile like Pro Photo RGB or Adobe RGB.

Improved Audio Quality

Android O improves audio quality using Sony’s LDAC codec as well as a new native API – Aaudio. The LDAC codec provided by Sony helps the mobile platform to improve audio quality based on the Bluetooth A2DP protocol. At the same time, Aaudio will boost the performance of mobile apps requiring high-quality and low-latency audio.

New APIs

Android O supports Java 8 extensively. Hence, the developers can now avail an array of new Java language APIs while developing apps for the upcoming version of Android. At the same time, they can boost the performance of Android apps by leveraging a runtime which is both stable and fast.

However, the users must remember that Android O Developer Preview is not a stable version of Android. Hence, they can experience a number of issues including call audio routing, music audio routing, Wi-Fi driver issues, reduced battery life, and crashing of apps. The normal users must use Android O only after its public release. But the app developers and device manufacturers can run Android O Developer Preview on compatible devices for testing purposes.

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