Google has just announced the first developer preview of its upcoming mobile OS release called Android O. The update offers various features that you might learnt about previously including background limits, picture in picture, new notification channels, adaptive icons, etc.
This one is very important update for developers. Just as Marshmallow and Nougat, it doesn’t have all the features that will be clear for the common user. There’s no huge Material Design facelift as in case of Lollipop. There are many developer-focused add ons and they will become very useful for all with time.
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Google’s limits on backgrounding is meant for “improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance.” It is a limit that the company is placing on what apps can do in the background. According to Google, it covers 3 aspects including implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. It states that this is a “significant change,” but the benefit for the end user will be improved battery life on almost any device.
In addition, the update brings “Notification channels” as well that are new categories defined by apps in order to manage content of notification. It will enables users to have more control over what notifications they get for any app. Like, a sports news app may allow users — on an OS level — to get only notifications for a particular team that you select than all notifications from the app.
Google expressed that Android O brings “new visuals and grouping” to notifications, which should “make is easier for users to see what’s going on when they have an incoming message.” Additionally, Android O brings the picture-in-picture display functionality as well from Android TV over to phones and tabs. Having support from third-party apps, users can do things such as watch a YouTube video in a detached window, reading their email at the same time. Android O features other windowing features as well such as a new app overlay window and multi-display support.
For developers, Android brings Autofill APIs that support an “autofill app” almost just as a user can select a “keyboard app”. It implies that apps such as 1Password or LastPass can be used system-wide, offering simple access to user data like “addresses, user names, and even passwords.”
In addition, Google is adding font support in XML, adaptive icons, support for wide-gamut color for apps, new APIS for Pro Audio, a variety of connectivity developments, better keyboard navigation new APIS for Pro Audio, WebView enhancements and lot more.
According to Google, this is just the start for Android O. Features such as a smart text selection floating toolbar w/ Assistant integration, better to MediaRecorder API, and “tons of enterprise stuff” is also on the way – there is lot more than we can expect from this OS for sure.
This release is just for developers so it is not possible to get your hands on it through the Android Beta program at the moment. You need to flash the update on a very limited list of compatible devices manually. The factory images appear to be making their way to Google’s site at the moment. Stay tuned for more on Android O.