About Android O – The next version of Android is bigger and better?
Google held its opening day of its I/O conference yesterday where it announced a ton of new products from an iOS Assistant app to new VR hardware.
Google I/O, which takes place from May 17-19 at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California is always a big draw thanks to new product announcements revealed there.
But the biggest reveal of all for many was Android O.
This coming version will be the eighth major release of the world’s most popular mobile OS. But just what will Android O entail in terms of new features and capabilities?
Here are the top ten things you need to know about the next major release.
Android O: Name
Google seems to like naming its Android OSes after candy (Android L was “Lollipop” Android M was “Marshmallow”) so what could Android O possible stand for? Google didn’t actually reveal its codename at I/O, so we’re going to have to wait until closer to the public release to actually hear what it will be called (besides the obvious Android 8). Many have suggested silly things like “oatcake” or “orange”. However, Google might not limit O to generics. After all, Android 4.0 was called Kit Kat. I’m really hoping they go down the brand name route for Android O. Tops of my list is Oreo, because it’s the best cookie ever. But if they want to get really crazy they could call it Orly (a popular candy bar in Chile), Orion (a popular candy bar in the Czech Republic), Old Faithful, or–and this would be awesome–Oh Henry!
Android O: Release Date
At Google I/O the company released the second developer preview of Android O. We can expect a third developer preview sometime in the late-June to early-July time frame, and a fourth developer preview in late July. As for a public release date, expect to be downloading it for certain phones come August or September. There are a few reasons for this. First, Nougat appeared during the same timeframe last year. Second, an OS update spurs sales of new devices—important for the holiday shopping season that begins this fall. Third, Apple will be releasing iOS 11 around the same time (probably in September), which will mean Android devices will need some new features to tout.
Android O: Which phones will be the first to get it?
Right now the developer preview is installable on Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and the Pixel C. As for consumer devices, of course, just because Android O gets a public release in August/September doesn’t mean all phones will have access to it right away. It’s almost certain that Google will release a new Pixel flagship phone around the time that will ship with Android O preinstalled. Older Pixel and Nexus phones should get an Android O downloadable update shortly after that. As for other major flagship phones from the likes of Samsung, LG, and HTC? Expect an Android O update for some of those devices before Christmas, with virtually all of them getting the new OS by early 2018.
Android O Feature: Battery Life
One great thing about Android O is it will limit the processes applications can perform in the background when multiple apps are running. This means that all devices should see more battery life once you install Android O on them.
Android O Feature: Picture-in-Picture
Another really welcome feature of Android O is Picture-in-Picture (PiP). While iOS has offered PiP on the iPad and some Android tablets also have PiP, we’ve yet to see it backed into Android on the phone. That’s all changing with Android O. Now you’ll be able to keep watching Netflix in a tiny window if you suddenly remember you need to bang out that email you forgot to send. This is great for larger-screened phones.
Android O Feature: Smart Text Selection
This is a rocking feature: text selection is much smarter in Android O. Now the OS will know to select all the text, for example, when you are trying to copy and address. Smart text selection also includes the ability to tap on the selected text and, if it’s an address, begin directions there or if it’s a phone number, dial the number.
Android O Feature: Notification Dots
Notification dots will now appear above apps that have pending notifications. Yay! But it gets better: long tap on a dot to get contextual menu actions you can carry out in a single tap.
Android O Feature: Autofill
It’s a pain having to type in your information, such as addresses, usernames, and even passwords on forms in apps and on the web. Android O makes this easier by allowing the OS to autofill your info across apps and the web.
Android O Feature: Wi-Fi Awareness
Ever have two devices what want to talk to each other but can’t because both aren’t on the same internet network? Well that doesn’t matter anymore. In Android O a new feature called Wi-Fi Awareness will allow Wi-Fi devices to talk to each other via an ad hoc local network.
Android O Feature: Vitals
While this feature won’t be obviously noticeable when using Android O on your device, that doesn’t matter. Vitals works in the background keeping your device more safe and secure from viruses, hackers, and worms. Think of it as a new security layer for Android.
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