What’s up with the Android ‘O’?In 2008 the Android operating system revolutionised the tech world by towing smartphone experience into a whole new dimension. The Operating System (OS), without fail, has been working on making user-experience sweet—quite literally with its confectionary-themed versions.
In 2008 the Android operating system revolutionised the tech world by towing smartphone experience into a whole new dimension. The Operating System (OS), without fail, has been working on making user-experience sweet—quite literally with its confectionary-themed versions.
Except for the first two versions, the progressive Android versions have been launched in the alphabetical order. So far, Android has completed the milestone of N for Nougat (version 7.0) and is striding toward the version 8.0, dubbed Android “O” for now (since the official name for the version has not been disclosed).
Yet to be launched officially, Android O has only been accompanied with two developer’s previews of the version. While these previews by Google do put light on the functionality and potential of this latest version, two more previews are expected to be unveiled prior to the official launch that will paint a complete picture of what to expect.
The previews that are currently available on Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X or Pixel C smartphones have hinted at numerous changes and improvements in the OS. Here are the 10 new and enhanced features of the soon-to-be-launched version:
This feature is a revamped version of the multi-window feature on Nougat to support multitasking.
This functionality was already available for the YouTube app and now Android O has broadened the scope further. With this feature, users can see a small floating window of the minimised app as they navigate another app. The floating window can be adjusted to any location within the screen as per the user’s convenience.
Smart text selection
Highlighting, copying, and pasting features for text have prominent Android features for a while. However, Android O aims to enhance these features with artificial intelligence. In this feature, Google AI works intelligibly to gain insights into the information carried and suggests an app best suited to handle a string of highlighted text. For example, if the highlighted text is a phone number then a ‘call’ icon appears along with the copy and paste options, suggesting the user make a call. Along with the phone numbers, places and email addresses are also identified, suggesting the user with options like viewing the location on the map and sending an email, respectively.
We have seen enhancements on the notification panel every year and this year is no exception. For notification handling, there is a toggle option to designate apps that the users seek to be notified from. This feature can be activated by long pressing the notification. However, on swiping a notification to the side a little, two icons pop up. Among the two, one helps in accessing the notifications toggle and other includes a clock icon to snooze the notification. Tapping the clock icon lets the user snooze the notification automatically for 15 minutes. But on clicking the drop-down menu, the snooze can be customised for 30 or 60 minutes instead or can be disabled completely.
Background process limits
Battery draining has been a major issue on smartphones and tablets. Now, Google has tried to address this issue proactively with this new operating system. With Android O, Google has sought to optimise the background processes to limit the amount of battery drainage. This optimisation includes de-prioritisation of the apps that are running in the background. With this feature, users can also see the list of apps responsible for devouring the battery juices with background activities.
Addressing the growth of computer viruses and threats within, Android O has also improved security options. In the older versions, attempting to add apps from outside Google Play required digging into the security setting and enabling unknown sources. However, in this new version, an additional permission has to be granted to the app being used to download the APK. This feature is brought on to discourage the installation of apps from vendors others than Google Play to negate malware invited by such apps. If Operamini is being employed to download the APK, the user will be first prompted to grant permission to the Operamini to install apps from other vendors. The permission can be granted through the “trust apps from this source” toggle in the special access section of the apps and notifications setting.
Another great new feature will be the enhanced audio quality. To ensure enriched audio quality, Sony has bestowed their LDAC Codec to Google for inclusion in this new operating system. This means if you have LDAC-equipped Bluetooth headphones you will experience much better audio quality in Android 8.0. In addition to LDAC, Android O is also compatible with aptX and aptX HD as well as SBC and AAC. The feature also includes surplus settings for audio sample rates and bits per sample with a native AAudio API on the top. The AAudio API comes handy for apps that require high fidelity and low latency audio.
Android O users will see a small dot over the app icons. These little dots are the visual indicators of the waiting notifications. Upon pressing the dot, a list of notifications will appear for you to respond to. This feature is handier than checking the notifications from the notification bar.
While surfing on the internet, apps like Google Chrome fill the username and password on the login page automatically. In Android O, this feature does not remain confined with Chrome. In Android O, the credentials are filled in automatically on any app that is frequently used on your device.
Faster boot times
Google has boasted that with the Android O not only does the operating system load up quicker but the apps running on it too perform faster and smoother. So with Android O on a device, users will experience rapid response and smooth performance.
Custom Lock Screen Shortcuts
Another nifty addition in the new Android is the System UI Tuner, which aids user with adding and customising their favourite app as shortcuts on a locked screen. Any installed app can be selected to show up in the bottom corners of the locked screen. This feature can come handy when seeking to save the time required in reaching the destined app.
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