Android O Developer Preview - 10 New Features & Updates!

Oh boy, the Developer Preview of Google's next iteration of Android: Android O is out for testing out of nowhere. It's not sure, though, that what exactly the 'O' in Android O will stand for. With the first developer preview of O, we see some new features and changes that we can expect in the final builds when it's released later this year. 
In this post, let's have a rundown of ten new features in the developer preview of Android O.

1. Background Limits

This one is kind of those 'behind the curtain' scenes which the end user probably won't be seeing, but it will help a lot with the User Interface and Battery Life. Android will intelligently manage what apps can do in the background, similar to iOS. Take for example, if you're using WhatsApp up front, but you also happen to have Google Maps in the background, Android will then reduce the use of GPS to save some battery. This is a really nice addition, given that Android has been getting better at battery life since the inclusion of Doze, and this will only improve it further.

2. Notification Channels

Grouping of notifications was introduced with Android Nougat, and it was quite a useful feature. With O, users can now group similar type of notifications and interact with them collectively. For example, you'll now be able to delete/archive/reply to all promotional emails you receive straight from your notification drawer.

3. Notification Snoozing

You will now be able to snooze notifications from a particular app for a set time. It's similar to what 'Do Not Disturb' mode does, but instead of silencing the entire system, Android O will let users silence only an individual app or a set of apps straight from the notification panel. This will come handy when you're reading something or are playing a game, and you don't want your phone to annoy you by notifying about messages by that boring friend.

4. Custom Lock-screen Shortcuts

Finally, you'll be able to assign custom shortcuts to your lock screen and replace the stock Voice Assistant and Camera shortcuts. You'll be able to add an app of your choice, whether it's your favorite game or a messaging app you use very often. But guess what, Google's been so late at bringing this feature that it will rarely be used. The reason? Well, with the inclusion and improvement of this superior hardware called 'the Fingerprint Scanner', most of us dive right into the home screen, rarely having a look at the lock screen. It's a welcome addition, nonetheless.

5. Autofill APIs

If you're using a Password Manager to save all your passwords (and other details), Android O will let you an easier way to autofill them securely into related fields anywhere across the system. Be it in the browser or in an app, users will now be able to select the password manager of their choice (like we pick the keyboard of our choice) and the fields will be auto-filled.

6. Adaptive Icons

The Pixel Launcher bought support for Adaptive Icons and starting Android O, the OS will support Adaptive Icons system wide. All icons will be masked into a particular shape, and the same will be visible everywhere throughout the system (home screen, application drawer, shortcuts, app info screen, sharing dialogue and more).

7. Picture in Picture

Android O is bringing PiP, which is basically a floating window that can be used to watch a video/photo while doing something else. It has been available in the iPads for a while now, and manufacturers like Samsung and Lenovo have had similar features (read: this feature) for a while now. This will further improve the multi-tasking experience as users will be able to do anything else while watching Game Of Thrones!

8. More Connectivity Features

With Android O, some new ways to communicate with other device are added. HiFi Bluetooth Audio, for example, will make music sound much better and vibrant on Bluetooth headphones. NAN (Neighbourhood Aware Networking) will allow supported devices to connect and communicate with each other through Wi-Fi, without the need for a central access point. A new Telecom Framework is also added to help third party apps to make calls without using the system phone app.

9. More Support for Physical Keyboards

Android O brings more support for physical keyboards. This means the end users can now take more advantage of the navigation keys on a physical keyboard and use them across all apps. This can be useful for tablet PCs and could pave the way for Android Laptops and Chromebooks!

10. UI Updates

Android O supposedly brings system-wide theme support, though, at the moment only a white theme is present, and it only inverts the color of the quick-settings panel. Hopefully, we'll get a pitch-black theme (for OLED displays) very soon. Also, Android O brings support for wide-gamut color, which means that apps will be able to take full advantage of complete colors in the upcoming (better) displays. Also, in the Pixel phones, users can now swipe anywhere up on the home screen to bring up the app drawer (earlier, the app drawer came up only when swiped up from the dock). The settings page has also got a visual make-over (white background with black icons and text), and the slide-in menu is also missing. Additionally, settings seem to have been grouped differently (for better or for worse) in the Settings Page. The Notification Panel now shows more information (Battery Percentage, Day, Quick-setting Editor and System UI Tuner).

These are the best features and changes we found in the new update. Keep this in mind, that this is a Developer Preview, and is not even a Beta build. It's out only for developers to test and suggest new features. We will be seeing a lot of new features and additions as the development of Android O progress, and we'll cover them all here at TheTechSite. 

Meanwhile, let's guess. What do you think will the 'O' in Android O be called? Let us know in the comments! If you found this article useful, do share it!
Peace Out!

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