Android O – what we know so far
The majority of Android users are still waiting to update to Android Nougat – in fact it is estimated that since its release in August last year, only 3% of all Android phones have upgraded to Nougat – but Google has just unveiled Android O to developers.
The full version isn’t expected to be released until the autumn of 2017, with many predicting it will coincide with the launch of the Pixel 2, which would run the new OS – similar to what Google did with Android Nougat and the Pixel.
Between now and then, developers will test Android O until Google settles on a final version.
Developers might be the only ones who are currently able to have a play with Android O, but here are a few things we already know about the new OS:
Google has said it is focusing on “improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance” with Android O. The thought of an improved battery life is sure to be appealing to many smartphone users, who long for the days when batteries lasted for longer than one day.
One of the ways in which Google will enhance the battery life is by automatically limiting what an app can do when it is open in the background, stopping an app consistently using data even when it’s not the main app being used.
The restrictions include apps broadcasting in the background, services and location updates.
Your WhatsApp messages and FitBit reminders might be welcomed, but with so many apps sending through so many notifications, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Sure, some notifications we want to get, but there are others that we’re not fussed about.
Android O is trying to fix this by creating ‘notification channels’ which will enable phone users to manage the notifications they see. Through the channels, users will be able to manage each app individually with “fine-grained control”.
This feature is already available on Android TV and is aimed at helping users multitask. So users can watch video and reply to messages, “picture in picture” keeps videos playing in a smaller screen while users can text, call or browse.
What will it be called?
As has been the tradition over the last few years, Google releases its developer preview with a letter which is then expanded into a name that is related to a sweet product. Previous examples have included Android N becoming Nougat and L becoming Lollipop.
Although Google won’t yet announce what Android O will officially be called, people have already started to speculate. The most popular name seems to be Android Oreo, but Google has mostly kept away from brand names for the software, so we’ll have to wait and see what they actually go for.