Android O: Can it eclipse Nougat and previous versions?
Is it Oreo? Is it Oreolette? Is it Oatmeal Cookie? While Google is yet to officially announce the name of the next Android version, the wait is slowly coming to an end. The company will roll out the Android 8.0 operating system in a few hours from now, which is also coinciding with the solar eclipse across North America. The announcement is expected at 11:40am Pacific Time (which means 2:40pm Eastern Time in the US, and 12:10am Tuesday Indian Standard Time).
The update will be available for download immediately on the Pixel and Pixel XL phones, as well as some of the earlier Nexus phones. If you don’t own any of these phones, you will have to wait a bit longer for your phone maker to confirm when they will roll out the newest software for your phone.
Android O isn’t trying to redesign the wheel. Instead, the focus is on taking what Google has with Android 7 (Nougat), and improving on that. The main focus is on faster boot time, quicker app load time and significantly better battery life. We take a look at some of the other crucial improvements that Android O will bring to your phone.
Android O will allow you to club app notifications into channels, which means you will be able to group notifications from apps. For instance, club together notifications from news apps separately from social media updates. There are improvements to notification handling too, such as the addition of notification dots on the app which need your attention—this is something that happens in Apple’s iOS for iPhones too.
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Very useful for a variety of use cases, particularly for video playback, this will let the user minimize one app into a smaller box on the screen and open a second app at the same time. Phone makers such as Google already allow a very productivity centric multi-window option, that lets you run two apps side by side on the same screen. Hence, if you are watching a video on YouTube, and want to chat with a friend simultaneously, you can press the home button and the YouTube video will be reduced to a small pop-up window. You can open the messenger app and chat on the rest of the page. This feature will work with a wide range of apps including Google Maps and Netflix.
Google is swapping the old cylindrical design icons with more rounded off square icons. There will also be the option to switch to the teardrop design icons, similar to the Google Allo and Duo apps. The icons will have some animation too, when the user interacts with them.
Android O will run high quality Bluetooth codecs—the LDAC, designed for high performance and low latency audio streaming. It enables transmission of three times more audio data compared to audio transmitted through standard Bluetooth audio codecs.
Google Play Protect
To tackle the growing menace of malware sneaking thorough apps, Android O will come with a built-in security tool called Play Protect. At the I/O event earlier this year, Google had said that Play Protect scans as many as 50 billion apps a day to ensure that the phones people use are safe and malware free. The feature is integrated in the Google Play app on every Android device, and will use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify risky apps.