Google Android O is taking shape, for the better
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Google has released a developer preview called O for the next version of Android. What the O will be finally named will be decided later this year when the new OS and the new Pixel smartphones will be released.
The developer preview provides app developers an early look into the features of the new OS so they can test and validate their apps for the new OS. This allows them to make their apps ready by the time new OS is available to consumers. Google will provide more details on the upcoming OS at the Google I/O Conference in May 2017.
Here are some of the key features of the upcoming Android OS.
Battery backup has been at the top of Google’s agenda since last couple of years. With Doze and Doze 2.0, they have been able to minimize battery drain caused by background activities. However, this worked only when the phone was not being used. With Android O, Google is trying to limit the activities of background apps even when you are working on other apps in the foreground. Apps in the background will be updated or synced less frequently.
With Android N, Google made notifications panel more interactive. And, with Android O, they have taken it a step further. Users can club their notifications into channels. So all notifications from news apps will show up together under news and all notifications from social media apps will show separately under social media. User can fine tune their notifications further by creating categories within these channels. Also, if a user is busy and can’t check a notification right away but doesn’t want to miss it either, they can snooze a notification to show up after a few minutes again.
The new OS will require some hardware upgrades from phonemakers too, as far as new phones are concerned. Android O will support advanced Bluetooth audio codecs such as Sony’s LDAC codec. It enables transmission of three times more audio data compared to audio transmitted through standard Bluetooth audio codecs. This means smartphones with Android O will be able to stream higher quality audio even during Bluetooth streaming.
Wireless connectivity made better
Another notable feature that could be seen in Android O is Wi-Fi Aware. Also known as Neighbour Awareness Networking (NAN), this technology allows users to connect and communicate with other users in their vicinity over a secure wireless network. This will allow users to chat with each others over messengers, send and receive files and even challenge each other in two player games without requiring an internet connection.
More options on lockscreen
This option to access an app from the lockscreen itself is very popular with users. In phones running stock Android UI, shortcuts are limited to camera or phone call. A lot of custom UIs allow users more options such as access to Facebook or Google Maps first thing after the lockscreen. With Google O uses can customise the lockscreen shortcuts and add more options and the ones that they actually want.
New look icons
The idea behind stock Android is to keep things lighter, but at times the interface looks too bland. With Android O, users can superimpose a new shape or design over the app icons. User can choose the shapes and even add some animations when they interact with the apps. This will give the interface a more symmetrical and lively look.
Better cache management
Android O will allocate a fixed amount of storage space for every app’s cached data. When a user clears cached data in the phone’s settings, cached data of those apps will be deleted first that have exceeded their limit. The system will also delete the oldest cache files first.