I have installed the latest version of Android on my Google Pixel XL. On August 21st, Google officially named Android O Android Oreo and they pushed the update out to Pixel and Nexus devices. I have the update installed here so let’s take a look around and see what’s new. If you own a Galaxy S8 or any other OEM device that’s relatively new, it should receive the update but probably not for a few months or so as it has to be approved by your manufacturer and your carrier. One of the reasons why I booted this device up for you right here is just to show you how fast it boots up. So with Android 8.0 Oreo, it takes only around 18 seconds to boot up. Previously, it was around 50 seconds.
So let’s go ahead and start talking about some of the features. I will be highlighting some of the biggest features starting with notification dots.
So we’ll see little notification dots next to app icons once there’s a notification for that application as you can see right here. So you’ll see in the notification panel, I have a notification for the Google app that says “Death Note now in theaters” and so for the Google app right here, we’ll see a little notification dot and if I long press this, a couple of menus will pop up. One of the menus mentions “Death Note now in theatres”. And as you can see, the pop up menu has been slightly redesigned from previous versions of Android.
So with Android Oreo, not only can you jump to a specific area of an app like voice search or search. You can actually jump to this notification just by long pressing the app icon.
Autofill and Smart Text Selection
There’s also an autofill and smart text selection feature. Password managers will now be able to use the autofill API to fill forms and passwords. Since it’s baked in the OS, it should be much more seamless than ever before. It’s hard to show you because this feature is so new. But basically, if you have a password manager app like LastPass, it should be updated over the next few weeks or so to support Android Oreo devices and let you sign in using the autofill API with like Twitter, for example or other social media applications.
I can however show you the smart text feature. So if I copy a random address, this is just literally a random address that I picked. And I go and paste it into a Google Docs spreadsheet just to show you I can highlight it all, select all, and you’ll see Artificial Intelligence automatically realizes that this is an address and you can tap on this button here and it will pull it up in Google Maps. This will work with phone numbers and various other info as well. It’s a very cool feature indeed.
Some of the settings are condensed and will need to be expanded. If you go to sound, you’ll notice that not all of the settings are able to be viewed. You have to hit Advanced to see all of the settings here. The goal is to make it easier to look at. So while it will take some time to adjust, it should ultimately pay off in the long run, at least that is the idea.
The battery section has been updated quite significantly. You’ll see there is a section for last full charge and screen usage since full charge. That’s kind of cool. Battery life should be improved on devices running Android Oreo by limiting how apps are used in the background.
Find My Device is a new feature in Android Oreo and it’s similar to Apple’s Find My iPhone. There’s not much to see here but if you have this feature on, you can go to Find My Device via Google and it will show you where this device is located and will let you remotely lock and erase data on it if it falls in the wrong hands.
One of the biggest new features is the Picture-in-Picture mode and it’s pretty awesome. If you go to a browser and load up a video in Chrome, all you have to do is open a video, go to full screen, and then if you go home, you will see the window is minimized and you can drag it around the screen, we can multitask and do all that fun stuff while still viewing the video. Apparently, YouTube does work but you need YouTube Red to take advantage of the Picture-in-Picture mode unfortunately.
Android Oreo does add the ability to double tap the screen to wake it up and if you have a message here, you can quickly instantly reply to it straight from the ambiance display. And if you’ve ever downloaded a third party app, you’ve probably familiarized yourself with the unknown sources section in the settings that allows you to do so. With Android Oreo, you can whitelist app installations from Google Chrome, Drive, Gmail, and various other third party applications like Facebook. So if you were to download an APK from your favorite site from Gmail, it can be installed without any issue.
With that said, Google Play Protect is built into Android Oreo and what it does is basically check your apps and devices for harmful behavior and will notify you of any security risks that are found. It’s a nice little behind-the-scenes security feature built into Android Oreo.
Those are some of the best and most interesting features found in Android 8.0 Oreo