Android O: Latest News And Features

- May 12, 2017-

UPDATE: Oreo name teaser found in Google Creative Lab app

Read More: Android 101: A New User's Guide to Getting the Most Out of Android

Android Nougat was officially released eight months ago, in August 2016, and we've been seeing a continuous rollout on Android flagships ever since. 

So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Google has been working on the next Android 8.0 update. 

Its features have been announced and the developer preview is available. 

Plus, Google's Beta Program website seems to indicate that the Android O beta is coming soon. 

While we don't yet know what the O stands for yet, Google has hinted.

Android O: will it be called Android Oreo?

A Reddit user found an easter egg in a Google Creative Lab developer's app called ShortStories, which is a text-based game that explores different UI functions of Android. 

The user, Zitroney, made it to the Dialogs section of the app where he unlocked the Android O section on a path when the player has to seek Android sweets. 

Once he happened upon the O, the description seemed just like an Oreo: "disc-like," "chcocolaty, crunchy," and "dark brown in color with a milky white center".


This is just a tease, and not an official confirmation from Google that Android O will be Oreo. 

Remember when so many people thought Android N would be Nutella rather than Nougat? 

There could still be a surprise name coming for us.

Check More: 10 Android Features You've Never Heard Of

Android O Public Beta

The Android Beta Program website just got a bit of a refresh, and something big is on its way. 

The Android Nougat beta is officially complete, and it's time to make way for the Android O public beta.

For those who don't know, the beta program allows users with Google's Pixel and Nexus devices to try out new builds of Android before they rollout to everyone else. 

They tend to be buggy, but fans don't let that hold them back from testing the very latest. 

We reported a while back that the Android O Developer Preview had been released, 

but now it seems the public beta is coming soon for everyone else who wants to opt in. 

Here are our first impressions of the Developer Preview.

Devices which were enrolled in the Android Beta Program have all been updated to the most recent public, stable version of Nougat, 7.1.2. 

Note that if your phone is still running the Nougat beta for some reason, you can download the latest OTA image and sideload it without wiping the device.

There's no word yet on exactly when the Android O Beta Program will begin, but keep an eye on and we'll be sure to update you as soon as we hear it's available. 

More information is likely to come during Google I/O, and it's possible the public beta will be made available at the same time as the second developer preview - both are happening in the middle of this month.

Android O Developer Preview

Along with the announcement of its features, the Android O Developer Preview images were made available for the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel and Pixel XL. You can download them here.

While the official Android O release date is still unknown, as we've seen in the years before, 

we should get official confirmation and a glimpse into the first developer version of Android O at the Google I/O Developer conference between May 17 and 19 this year.

Google posted the new release timeline on their developer site, which tells us that the final release of Android 8.0 is expected in Q3 2017.


Android O Features

Most of the features and changes announced today were aimed at developers, 

so it's hard to know in a broader sense what the new version of Android will bring to the table in terms of user experience.

Here are some of the new features and what they'll bring:

Background limits: To protect user's battery life and performance, Google has put automatic limits on app's background activities. 

These background limits will specifically include implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.

Notification channels: These are new categories for notifications that give users very detailed control over notifications - not just by app, but by channel or topic. 

These channels will be visually grouped together on the notification shade.


Autofill APIs: This allows users to choose a central, platform-wide autofill app, just like they can select a keyboard app. 

This will be important for both convenience and security.

Picture-in-picture: Apps will be able to put themselves into Picture-in-Picture mode, and there will be more robust windowing features. 

For example, apps will be able to do native overlay windows rather than using system alerts. There will also be multi-display support, so you can launch apps on a remote display.


Adaptive icons: The system will display icons in different shapes and animate interactions with them from several screens. 

This should make the UI more beautiful from the launcher to the settings menu.

Connectivity: Audiophiles will be happy to hear that Android O will support high quality Bluetooth audio codecs like LDAC. 

Android O will likely get Bluetooth aptX support as well, but this was not explicitly stated. Wi-Fi Aware will allow nearby devices to recognize each other without internet access. 

Spps will also be able to display their information (like calls) on different UIs (like car head units).


Keyboard navigation: "Arrow" and "tab" navigation has been improved, since Google Play apps on Chrome OS make using keyboard navigation more prevalent. 

This will be a welcome update for those using a keyboard as their input device.


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