Finally, the much awaited Google’s Android O was officially unveiled as ‘Android Oreo’ after months of speculation regarding the name during a live stream event in New York on August 21st.
Google said in a blog post: “Today, we are officially introducing Android 8.0 Oreo, the latest release of the platform – and it’s smarter, faster and more powerful than ever. It comes with new features like picture-in-picture and Autofill to help you navigate tasks seamlessly. Plus, it’s got stronger security protections and speed improvements that keep you safe and moving at lightspeed. When you’re on your next adventure, Android Oreo is the superhero to have by your side (or in your pocket!).”
So, let’s have a look at some of the important features of the latest version of Google’s Android software while you wait for the update to come to your smartphone:
- Picture-in-picture (PiP) mode
One of the biggest features of Android Oreo, the new picture-in-picture mode would allow users to see two apps at the same time. For instance, you can watch a YouTube video while sending e-mails in the Gmail app or place a WhatsApp video call while browsing the web. Google also says that apps will be able to put themselves in picture-in-picture mode.
- Background limits
Google’s new iterations of Android have always been seen as an improvement over the previous one. This time too it is no different. The power saving feature in the latest version of Android Oreo de-prioritizes app functions running in the background to preserve battery and memory, and the device’s interactive performance. This means Google has increased the automatic limits on what apps can do in the background in a number of key areas (for instance, broadcasts, background services, and location updates) resulting your battery to likely last much longer than it currently does on Android Nougat.
“These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them,” reads a Google blog post.
- Notification channels and dots
Google allows the users to have greater control over their app notification categories that allows you to effortlessly pack certain alerts together depending on subject matter.
The tech giant writes: “Users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the apps’ notifications together.”
Android Oreo allows you to snooze notifications and schedule them to reappear at a later time such as after 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour. However, some notifications, like ongoing or persistent notifications, cannot be snoozed.
Another new feature will be Notification Dots, which are little dots that appear on app icons indicating new notifications, such as a new email or message. In other words, these will allow you to quickly see the waiting notifications without having to open up the app or swipe down the notification bar. It looks similar to the app badges we have seen on the iPhone’s operating system for years.
- Autofill APIs
With the Autofill APIs feature, Android Oreo allows the users to autofill forms and passwords thereby saving you some time. The latest Android operating system will work with your favorite password manager apps to retrieve passwords saved in your account on Google Chrome and autofill it on your smartphone.
Google explains: “Android users already depend on a range of password managers to auto-fill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Now we’re making this work more easily available across the ecosystem by adding platform support for auto-fill.”
- Camera app improvements
Google is offering a new double-tap feature with the latest version that lets you quickly get to 50% zoom. This means you can double-tap on the screen to zoom in 50% (and double-tap again to zoom out). There’s also a new dedicated button that allows you to switch between photo and video modes by tapping on the icons, unlike previously where the users were forced to swipe.
- Smart text selection
Oreo also brings smart text selection that can automatically recognize items like names, addresses, phone numbers, and URLs. For instance, when you select a phone number, you get a link to the dialer, or it will offer up a link to Gmail when you select an email address, and when you select a website link, you see a menu shortcut to Google Maps.
- Greater security
Android O is more secure than ever with Google Play Protect. There is greater protection against the OS being compromised with malware, as the service scans your incoming and installed apps for malware, sending you notifications if it identifies anything suspicious or needs to take action.
- Android Instant Apps
Android Oreo lets you go straight into the new apps from your browser without the need to install them first.
- New emoji and icons
Google has redesigned the entire emoji icon set, as the Android Oreo will come with 60 new emojis that includes the latest raft of expressions, animals and objects such as starstruck, throwing up, fairy, mermaid, giraffe, wizard and even more options. It also includes new color support for app developers and the ability to animate and change the shape of icons.
- Better keyboard navigation
Another big change is the improvement of keyboard navigation. According to Google, “In Android O, we are focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for ‘arrow’ and ‘tab’ navigation that aids both developers and end users.”.
- Support for wide color gamuts
With the increasing trend of constantly improving smartphone displays by making them HDR compatible, Android Oreo will now make it possible for app developers to take advantage of support for wide-color gamut displays.
“To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (Adobe RGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, and so on,” Google advises developers.
- Find my device
Similar to ‘Find my iPhone’ on iOS, Android Oreo too comes with a feature that lets you locate, lock or remotely wipe your phone or tablet if it’s lost or stolen.
- Other highlights
The new software has a range of other upgrades that includes improved Wi-Fi connectivity, adaptive icons and wireless sound. A list of all the features currently publicized can be found on the Android website.