Android O has been officially announced by Google at The Big G’s annual developer conference, I/O 2017.
Android was just one of things (or initiatives) Google talked about, but seeing that Android is up and running on billions of devices, news of a new update is usually met with plenty of interest.
The main thrust of Android O, according to Google, is about fluidity across all experiences within the Android ecosystem. Google also said it has doubled down on what it calls “vitals” – things like security and battery life.
Android O will also feature picture-in-a-picture as well, so you can run two apps – Duo and Calendar, for instance – at once, opening up tons of possibilities for multitasking.
“And Smart Text Selection,” said Google, “improves copy and paste—because who enjoys fumbling with text selection handles? By using machine learning to recognize entities on the screen—like a complete address—you can easily select text you want with a double tap, and even bring up an app like Maps to help navigate you there.”
Google is also adding a new Autofill API, essentially bringing the same autofill features from Chrome into the Android app sphere; it will mean apps which integrate the API will be able to pull autofill data from the Chrome browser application – for example, your Twitter login details for the Twitter app could be pulled down from your login via Chrome if you’re installing Twitter for the first time.
Google is also doing something to address “notification spam” some users experience on Android, although it will be something app developers need to opt into.
“Notification Channels mean developers will define categories for notification content,” reports GSMArena, “And you’ll choose to “subscribe” only to the channels you’re interested in. Additionally, notifications will be snooze-able in Android O.”
Another change to notifications is the introduction of iOS-style notification dots which will appear on application icons; however, oddly enough they won’t feature a number showing you how many notifications there are for that application. The dot will have a colour generated based upon the rest of the app icon’s scheme, and it will allow you to preview the notification via a long press of the app icon.
Android O: Improvements To Speed and Power Management
Google also plans on making Android O more efficient, meaning it will boot faster and be kinder to your battery. Apps will load faster and the overall performance of the software will be vastly improved over previous builds of Android.
Specifically on battery life, Google also revealed that Android O will do more when it comes to auomtaically monitoring applications and limiting what they can do in the background.
You can now try a preview of Android O by going to android.com/beta and downloading the software.
Better Security With Google Play Protect
Google’s introducing a new feature called Google Play Protect, which will be integrated with the Google Play store.
“This is basically the same Google engine that has automatically scanned your apps for malicious behavior,” reports GSMArena, “But now it will be much more visible to end-users. You’ll see information about when the last scan was performed, and will get an option to start a manual scan at any time. The Find my device feature will also live under the Play Protect umbrella starting in Android O.”
Android Go Announced (It’s Android For Feature Phones, Basically)
Google also confirmed that it is working on a lightweight version of Android aimed at entry-level Android phones (feature phones, basically).
“The goal is to get computing into the hands of more people by creating a great smartphone experience on all Android devices with 1GB or less of memory,” said Google.
It added: “Android Go is designed with features relevant for people who have limited data connectivity and speak multiple languages, and comes to life through three key areas: the Android OS, Google apps, and the Google Play Store.”
Apps like Chrome, YouTube and Gboard will all be rejigged to work on the Android Go platform.
The first Android Go handsets will start shipping in 2018.
Check out PAGE 2 for all the pre-Google I/O 2017 rumours…