Last week, company executives at Google I/O 2017 released a beta version of Android O to the public. The second developer preview of the upcoming mobile OS has several new features, and it is expected to launch over the summer to Nexus, Pixel, and other supporting devices.
So far, Android O does not bring groundbreaking features like in previous versions. Instead, it focuses on seemingly small tweaks that, together, make the whole mobile experience better than ever.
There were a lot of announcements at Google I/O, with only perhaps the Google Assistant upcoming updates being as relevant to mobile users as the new version of Android. Here is all we know so far about the mobile operative system.
Headlining the new set of features launching with Android O is picture-in-picture mode. The name is self-explanatory, as it rids smartphone users from the dread of closing or pausing apps, games and videos to open or use other ones.
Instead, this new mode allows people to keep talking through a video call, for example, while taking notes on another app. You can also watch YouTube videos and have those playing even after you exit the platform.
New emoji set
The blob emoji style was short-lived, and judging by the internet’s rejoicing after discovering the new rounded icons, they won’t be missed much. These new emoji look very similar to iOS ones, and they are the fourth generation of smileys in the Google ecosystem.
Android O has a new discrete way to keep you up to date right within your apps. Notification Dots are a non-invasive way in which the OS lets you know there is something new you should check out in any given app. It displays a dot in the corner of the icon and you can long-press it to see what it’s all about.
App icons and widgets
Users will be able to change the shape of the icons in the upcoming version of Android, with four options from which to choose: square, rounded corner rectangle, squircle, and cylinder.
The in-app widgets introduced in Nougat are also back with a redesigned interface. Some apps show shortcuts for some key options upon long-pressing their icons, and you can customize these in Settings.
Aside from all of the above, latest news about Android O says, it brings AI smarts to optimize performance and battery life. From the Settings menu, it shows users a more detailed breakdown of drainage and potential issues that might affect device use.
Furthermore, there are options like smart text selection and auto Wi-Fi enabling that just make life easier. There are also reports of Google fixing a notification drop option with fingerprint scanners, adaptive icons with Chrome, and the ability to pause large OTA updates.
Android Orange Sorbet..?
There is one remaining detail that users and fans both have yet to decipher: what will be the official name for Android O? Many suggest the next sweet treat in line to join Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop and more is no other than Oreo.
There are supporting theories behind the Android Oreo name, including Google’s previous partnership with Nestlé for KitKat five years ago. The cream-filled cookies were also part of a package of sweets that developers received at the Google I/O this year.
Other options like Oatmeal Cookie and Orange Sorbet just don’t have the same ring to it, although some support the theory of an Orange-themed Android based on early design identity of the O icon.
Still, we probably won’t have to wait much to find out, as Google tends to reveal the official name for their next full version during the summer each year. There was no open voting in 2017 either, so it is safe to say the title has already been decided.