It’s that time of year again for Google to get the ball rolling for the next generation of its Android operating system. Around this time last year, we were introduced to Android N (which would later be called Nougat). Yesterday, Google released the first developer preview of Android O. Although Google hasn’t officially confirmed it, the new version of android is has a high possibility of being Android Oreo.
As with any major Android release, there are a lot of little things going on under the hood that are meant to improve both performance and the user experience in everyday scenarios. Android O is no different. The big takeaway with this release is that Google is trying to put a muzzle on power consumption, and the company is tackling that issue head-on with Background limits. Background limits will make it hard for an app to “go rogue” in the background, eating up valuable system resources (and as a result, putting a major dent in your battery).
These automatic limits will focus on implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. Google says that new guidelines based on minimizing impact in these key areas will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery. In other words, app developers are going to want to pay close attention to how their apps are using background resources or they may find some pretty big incompatibilities with Android O.
This wouldn’t be a new version of Android without enhancements to the notification system, and Google doesn’t disappoint. Google is introducing the concept of notification channels, which can group notifications into user-defined categories. This provides a system-wide organization structure for notifications that has previously been built directly into some apps. A good example is labels in Gmail.
Adaptive icons allow developers to pick a base background image that Android will use to conform its shape to mesh with your given home screen theme. As an example, Google shows both the squircle- and round-style icons which can be deployed in Android O.
Other features include Picture-in-Picture, which will allow you to have an overlay video window when working in another app. Imagine being able to watch a YouTube clip that pertains to a subject that you are reading about in Chrome. You’ll also have the ability to invoke playback controls like “Play” and “Pause” for the video overlay. Changes have been made to make the Autofill API more inclusive and easier to use, keyboard navigation has been improved and wide-gamut color support has been added for apps.
The Android O Developer Preview is currently available for download for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C. This release is by no means meant for consumers, so only developers should take the risk right now on Android O .
Android Nougat, the previous most version of the operating system did not meet the set targets. Even though it was introduced on August last year, Android Nougat has only been installed on 2.8 percent of all Android devices. Android Marshmallow commands the largest share with 31.3 percent (as of March 6th).