- 1 Android O release schedule
- 2 Notifications shade
- 3 Notification handling
- 4 Quick Settings
- 5 App badges
- 6 Settings Menu
- 7 System UI Tuner
- 8 Status bar
- 9 Do Not Disturb
- 10 Navigation bar
- 11 Lock screen
- 12 Picture-in-picture support
- 13 Audio
- 14 Notification channels
- 15 Physical keyboard support
- 16 Unknown sources
- 17 Background process limits
- 18 Adaptive icons
- 19 Autofill API
- 20 Wider color gamut for apps
- 21 Other stuff
- 22 Conclusion:
The Android developer Google has launched Android O developer recently that works for Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player. This article aims to walk you through the new features and changes the new feature has got.
Android O release schedule
The Android O version that the Google is looking forward to releasing will be the Android 8.0 <insert O dessert name here> version. Google has already released the timeline for the rollout of the Android O version into the market. While the second developer preview being scheduled to be out in mid- May, third in mid-June, the fourth is set to be out in mid-July. The final public version of Android 8.0 can be accessed through Pixel, Nexus and Android One devices sometime in Q3, most probably by late August or early September.
The new Android O version is gearing up to change the devices like never before. Most of the visual changes are related to the settings menu and also in the notifications tab.Android O focuses on providing the customers with greater access to the Android system by including new options on the notifications channels and settings menu. The long awaited features like picture-in-picture mode and unread notification app badges are brought into reality through Android O. It even comes with brand new features that include better Bluetooth audio support and adaptive icons. Given that it is still in its inception stages it seems to be feature promising version.
The notification shade provided by the Android O has a strip of six toggles at the top, which are slightly re-ordered from what they appear in Nougat.The font for the date and time is reduced, and hence information occupies little space, giving extra space for the status bar icons. It has even got Wi-Fi and cellular connections icons, battery icons beside the shortcut to the settings menu and the Quick Settings Carat.
The notifications are similar to that of them in Nougat. The notifications show elaborate on dragging it, thereby saving time and providing easy access to the users.
The new version that is gearing up to release have few new features about the notification handling. The notifications even come with a snooze option besides disabling option. When the notification is swiped to a side, two icons appear one for the notifications toggle, which lets the user disable the notification and a clock icon that allows the user to snooze the notification for time limit ranging from 15-60 minutes.
The quick settings screen show that the number of colors made available for Pixels is more compared to Nexus devices. While the Nexus devices still have the same blue-gray background with aqua accents, Pixel devices are provided with near-black and bright blue accent scheme.
In the Android O version, the line underneath the Quick Settings performs a double function. When the line underneath is tapped, it opens the mini settings, thereby providing better accessibility. Similar to the option provided in Nougat users can tap the pen icon to edit or reorder the Quick settings or add another page. It even provides the same shortcut to switch users or to add a guest.
The new Android version adds native support for app badges. The app badges are the numbers that are displayed on an app icon to denote the unread notifications count. The user is provided with complete control over these through the toggle in the individual app notification settings.
The most changes through Android O are visible on the settings menu. There is a new color scheme provided for both the Pixels and Nexus devices. The scheme includes black and white approach which accents in blue tones. It has even undergone reshuffling to a certain extent. The settings menu is small and organized compared to the one in earlier versions. The options include “networks and the internet,” “connected devices,” “apps and notifications” and “security and screen lock.”
Most of the settings menu have been modified, including the sub-sections. The appearance of the battery and the storage sections is new, and the app info pages are also now visible in the new format. A lot of options have been clubbed under a broad topic, thereby giving it an organized look.
System UI Tuner
There are new features added related to the display settings. Pixel devices presently have an option named ‘device theme’ with two choices: Inverted or Pixel. These settings change the quick settings area from light to dark. The theme might evolve in further previews that are yet to be released by the Google.
System UI Tuner can be used to modify certain things in the new Android version just like it is possible with Nougat. To enable the UI Tuner, swipe down the notifications shade or quick settings, followed by which long press the Settings gear icon. Once the option is added to the menu, the user can feel the vibrate.
The new version has four areas (for now): status bar, do not disturb, navigation bar and lock screen. The status bar even in the new version has toggles that allow the users to enable or disable the icons which are displayed on the status bar. The option to display the battery percentage inside the battery icon which was a System UI Tuner option in Nougat is no longer available. However, there is an option “Always show percentage” which when enabled displays the battery percentage visible at all time in the status bar.
Do Not Disturb
This option has two toggles: while one allows do not disturb mode placed under the volume slider, the other to disable the do not disturb mode by pressing the volume up button.
The new feature about the navigation bar provided by the Android O is that it has layout option which lets the user choose between normal, compact, left-leaning or right-leaning. This option comes handy for the users with large-screened devices.
The customer can even add additional buttons on the left and right of the typical on-screen navigation buttons.
The new version moreover, provides an option for the users to choose from either clipboard, keycode or keyboard switcher. Clipboard allows the user to copy and drop it anywhere from the navigation bar. It comes handy for emails and phone numbers. Keycode assigns a numeric code to a button you can place on either side of the nav keys. For example: so as to avoid struggling to move the little cursor on the mobile screen either to the right or left, the users can simply assign Keycode 21 to the left button and Keycode 22 to the right. Followed by which the user can allot left and right arrow keys and start editing like a pro.
The brand new Android version O which yet to be released allows the users to change the options on the lockscreen depending on their choice. The shortcuts displayed on the lock screen can be edited and reordered. With regard to the notifications that pop up on the lock screen much details and information about it is expected to be seen in the new version. The ambient display has been restructured and modified.
Android O provides full support to the picture-in-picture mode, just like Android TV does. This feature is already quite evident in the youtube app, where the video keeps running in the small floating window even while searching for other videos on the app. With this feature being supported by the new version allows the users to multitask with so much ease and convenience. Moreover, it even supports custom controls like pause and plays through which developers will be able to set preferred aspect ratios.
Google has managed to get LDAC codec from Sony, and it is being included in the Android O version. LDAC codec allows the users with LDAC equipped Bluetooth speakers to enjoy better sound quality. Additionally, Android O supports aptX and apt-X HD as well as SBC and AAC. The new Android version that is in the process of entering the markets also has settings for audio sample rates and bits per sample too. Moreover, Android O adds a native AAudio API for apps that need high fidelity and low latency audio.
Notification channels are still cannot be clearly be analyzed just from the first preview. However, we can be sure that there will be huge flexibility provided to users with regard to notifications. The users can either block or edit the settings of the notifications and thereby customize it according to their interests and requirements. The user can do so by long pressing the notification or through the individual apps notification settings listed in its settings menu.
Physical keyboard support
Hardware keyboards are gaining significance about Android mainly because the Chromebooks now have access to all Google Play apps while the Andromeda platform continues to remain in shadows. Given that there is just one preview out Android O’s it is not possible to analyze or predict its hardware keyboard navigation support. However, it is sure that Google is attempting to introduce better predictable standards with reference to a physical keyboard used to navigate through the Android.
Google has made efforts to improve the security about the sources from where the apps and other content is downloaded onto the Android device. To download apps from sources that exclude Google Play Store have become more restrictive as the users now have to even grant permission to the app being used to download the APK. While earlier it just needed the users to enable the ‘Allow download from Unknown Sources’ in the settings menu. For example: If the users have to download APK through Google Chrome, they need to first grant permission to the Chrome app to install other apps via the “trust apps from this source” toggle in the special access section of the apps and notifications setting.
Background process limits
Google has been working to optimize the background process well so as to limit the amount of battery drain and resource use that apps are allowed to at the background. Android O is being designed in such a way that background processes that consume most of the battery are reduced and are being limited so as to ensure better battery performance.
With the new Android version that is yet to release Google to making an attempt to remove the inconsistent app icons by working on adaptive icon templates. Such a provision allows the developers with options to choose from multiple shape templates for each icon depending on the look of the screen. The Pixel devices are geared up to look the best with circular icons and give away the weird square icons mixed in with all the round ones. The color of the navigation buttons changes from white to black now, while opening the app drawer.
Android O besides many great features includes the Autofill AIPs. These basically help apps to manage passwords and form data better in reference to the earlier versions. Goggle in its blog post has stated that, “Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures user data, such as addresses, usernames, and even passwords”. To witness the complete potential of the Autofill AIPS we have to wait as the developers are still working on the final product.
Wider color gamut for apps
Android O provides support to “wide-gamut color for apps” which is a lot similar to native HDR support. However “wide-gamut color for apps” provides a larger palette of supported colors for app developers. Google in its blog post mentions, Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.)”.
There are various other features that are included in the Android O, besides the ones mentioned above. The new version adds font support, thereby allowing the app developers to define font style and weight. This can lead to a great development or might even result in different font styles for different apps. The other commendable feature is the Wi-Fi awareness system, which allows the Android O device or an app communicate with other devices and apps in the near vicinity even without requiring an internet connection. It even includes major optimizations like the Android Run-Time (ART) which is primarily responsible for handling apps and WebView has experienced some major enhancements which are yet to be discovered in the forthcoming previews.
Android is definitely moving ahead of Nougat in with regard to various features and is gearing up to improve the overall Android performance by providing greater flexibility and options to the developers. Google through Android O is trying to strengthen the granular notion of control. In totality, the first preview of the Android O seems to be packed with a wide variety of features.