Saturday, 22 July 2017

Android O : Features Overview

Android O is the new upcoming version of google's OS, which will ultimately become Android 8.0. Google has already released its third developer view and its features has been announced. Developer previews can be downloaded from its official site which is available for few devices. This new version has plenty of new changes and cool stuffs to explore. 
I am not sure about the official code-name for this upcoming version, but "Oreo" sounds to be a sure-bet at the moment.

Let's go ahead and have a look into the new features and functionalities of android-O.

1.) Settings Menu

The most obvious change you will notice is the redesigned settings menu. The new design has subtle dark-grey texts on white background. Strangely, the side hamburger menu that was introduced in Nougat has been removed now and the rest of the menu items has been rearranged to keep the setting area as simple as possible.

2.) Redesigned File Manager

File manager in android-o has also been revamped. It is good to have a built-in file manager for browsing the files, although the inbuilt file managers are not best in market. In android-o it is known as "Files" app. The "files" app has got some makeover in this version of android, but it is not feature-rich like other file managers like : Solid Explorer and ES File Explorer, but at-least, it enables you to browse, open and delete files.

3.)  Notification Handling

This is a new feature added in android-O. Now you can snooze individual notification. When you have a new notification, and you don't have time to deal with it, just swipe a little and choose snooze option to notify you later. You also have an option to choose the snooze length from the drop-down.

4.) App Badges

Android O has added native support for app badges. It is a small bubble with the notification count in the corner of app-icon. Off course, this feature was available in third party custom launchers, but it is good that google has absorbed this feature into stock android. You also have a complete control on this badges from individual notification setting.

5.) Picture-in-Picture Support

Similar to android TV, android-o has a full support for picture-in-picture mode. With this feature you can have a small app window floating on the screen, while you can navigate to different area or to entirely different app. Android O will have support for custom controls like pause and play and developers will be able to set preferred aspect ratios. 

6.) Audio

You can now enjoy high quality audio with LDAC codec in the supported Bluetooth headphones. Sony has donated their LDAC codec to google for inclusion in android 8. It also has support for aptX and aptX HD, as well as SBC and AAC. Not only this, there is even setting for audio sample rates and bits per sample too. Android O has also added native support for AAudio API for the apps that require high fidelity and low latency audio. 

7.) Battery Saving : Background restriction

Android O might finally fix the wakelocks and stand by battery drain that exists in previous versions of android. Doze mode was introduced in marshmallow and it was further improved in nougat. But android-O adds restriction on actions that the apps performs in background. This restriction on background apps will ensure that apps won't run wild with background services or keep listener services (aka "broadcasts") open at all times. It seems Google is really starting to crack down on rogue battery drainers.

So far we can see android-O completes some of the work started by nougat and enhances the granular nature of controls. I'll keep you updated on what I find in the developer preview, so check back soon.