Android O Developer Preview Now Available; Brings Enhanced Notifications, Improves Battery Life, PiP Mode, More

The Android 8.0 Developer Preview is now available for the developers to download. Since it is a developer preview edition, it is not aimed towards general users. Google has cleared mentioned in the release notes of Android 8.0 that its Developer Preview is not intended for daily use on phone or tablet for non-developers. As of this writing, it is called Android O. The official name of the new Android version will be revealed after a few months.

There are several improvements included in Android O. With the new Notification Channels, users will have the power to see only those alerts that are relevant to them. For instance, if a user wishes to see only technology news alerts from his news app, he would be able to disable news from other categories. It will also let users to snooze notifications so that they can be seen later. Notifications can be also set to dismiss automatically. Notifications can also feature background colors so that they can be distinguished easily.

Background Limits has been added on Android O to improve battery life significantly. It can severely control the battery power consumption by limiting services running in the background. It can also restrict broadcasts and location updates. Autofill APIs can let users make use of an autofill app to easily fill login information such as usernames, addresses and passwords. Since it is an API, it can be supported and implemented by developers.
With Picture-in-Picture (PIP), users can continue to watch a video while answering a call. Apps can be made to run in picture-in-picture mode from a paused or resumed state. Developers can also modify the aspect ratio and assign customized interaction like play or pause.
With Adaptive Icons toolset developers can create icons of different shapes for different devices. For instance, the Twitter app can have a circular shape on Galaxy S8 and have a square shape on Pixel phone. Hence, OEMs can use them to provide users with unique icons.

For better audio experience through Bluetooth, Android O will carry support for LDAC codec. Wi-Fi Aware will make Android O devices to discover and connect with each other without Wi-Fi or data connectivity. The inclusion of new “arrow” and “tab” navigation will assist in better predictable navigation on keyboards. Android O supports Java 8 language APIs and offers optimized runtime.

The formal launch of Android O is expected to happen at the Google I/O 2017 event that will be held in May. It is currently available for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel, and Pixel XL.

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