The next version of Google’s Android OS, tentatively named Android O, is now up for preview to all developers and interested enthusiasts (with Google branded devices) to tinker with. Here are some of the new features you can expect from Android 8.0, which will eventually have a dessert-related naming scheme, like its predecessors. Android 8.0 Oreo perhaps?
Improved Battery Life
Battery life has always been the Achilles’ heel of mobile devices. As with every iteration of the Android OS, Google does its best to optimize its power efficiency for maximum battery life.
Like iOS, Android O will now effectively control and limit background apps’ activities while other apps are open. It’s a much-needed quality-of-life change that goes well with Google’s never-ending goal of streamlining Android’s performance.
For example, you’re running a game on your device, while your Google Maps is in the background. Android O will taper off Google Maps’ background and location polling services to a minimum to preserve battery life for your gaming app.
Notifications Channels, Snooze Notifications
With Android O, users can group notifications into channels, or “app-defined categories for notification content”. You can lump together all your gaming notifications in a single channel for convenience in access and settings.
Snooze notifications are a new feature in Android 8.0 that gives you the ability to do as advertised. This is done by sliding your finger across a notification and specifying a snooze timer for it.
Picture-in-picture Video Support
This is a big one for the Android OS, as rival Apple’s iOS already has this feature working for the iPad. The picture-in-picture (PIP) feature will allow you to keep a video playing while using another app. A floating window will be enabled for the PIP-enabled video while you browse through the website, or access a different app altogether.
Lock Screen Shortcuts, Keyboard Shortcuts
Plenty of quality-of-life changes here in Android O when it comes to shortcuts. Users can now customize their lock screens with shortcut icons for easier access to their most-used apps.
For Android tablet users using physical keyboards, shortcuts have been added to improve OS navigation. Google has yet to announce whether these keyboard shortcuts will also be migrated to Chromebooks and Android-enabled laptops.
Wide-Gamut Color Support, HiFi Bluetooth Audio Upgrades
Audio-visual upgrades are also in Android O’s agenda. Wide-gamut color support is basically future-proofing on Google’s end. With device displays improving at a rapid pace, the Android ecosystem has to be ready to take advantage of graphical changes that come with progress.
For audiophiles with Bluetooth headphones and headsets, you’ll be able to hear better musical quality, thanks to codec upgrades in the OS.
More to Come in the Next Previews
This is only the first developer preview for Android 8.0, and around 3 more builds are slated for release later this year. Google has already published their timeline for the new OS, bookmarking Q3 2017 as the Final Release window for the public version of Android 8.0 for supported Pixel, Nexus and Android One devices.
More features are expected to be added as the developer previews roll in, but as of the first preview, Android O is shaping up to be one impressive, beefy upgrade of Google’s mobile OS.