Android O is the next big Android operating system that should be rolled out to select Android devices later this year. We have installed the public beta of Android O on our Google Pixel XL, which will give us a glimpse at some of the big new features we can expect in the new operating system. We have narrowed down 9 of our favorite features of Android O that we would like to share with you.
The first feature is Picture-in-picture. In theory, this feature will let you watch a YouTube video, for example, while you navigate through your phone and do other things. You’ll see that this feature is extremely basic right now. It will not actually let you watch a YouTube video while the Picture-in-picture mode is active. But hopefully, that will change in the final build so you can watch a YouTube video and move it around as you see fit, maybe scroll through some Twitter feeds, all while watching your favorite YouTube video. We’re likely going to see HBO and Netflix update their apps to support PiP in the future when Android O becomes official.
Notifications have been improved once more in Android O. You can group your notifications into app-defined categories in your notification panel. One example would be if you had a channel of applications that were all news-related, you can interact in notifications settings for all the apps in the news channel at once. It’s a very handy app as it will keep you and your phone more organized.
Snooze notifications, in particular, have also been updated. All you need to do to snooze notifications in Android O is slide your finger across a notification and then select how long you’d like to snooze it for-- 15, 30, or 60 minutes. It’s as easy as that.
Android O lets you customize your lock screen with a bunch of different shortcuts. Typically, Android lets you swipe left or right to activate Google Now or open the camera app. But in Android O, you can go into the settings and select various other shortcuts to activate.
And in addition to lock screen shortcuts, Android O also provides better support for developers to make navigation and shortcuts easier to use via a physical keyboard. An arrow and tab navigation button will make navigation much easier for example.
Auto Fill API
What’s also neat is Android O’s Auto Fill API. With this new API, you can register your favorite password manager app as a systems official Auto Fill application; therefore making sign-ins much easier and less time consuming. When a password field appears, all you need to do is paste a stored password from the list. It’s pretty beautiful.
The last three of my favorite features in Android O are a bit more difficult to show on video. But man are they useful. Android O supports a wide color gamut, meaning the operating system will support devices with displays that feature HDR or other wide color ranges that display the feature might employ. The feature to support wide color gamut displays is really all about future proofing.
With the help of Sony, Android O supports Hi-Fi Bluetooth audio. Sony has contributed its LDAC wireless audio codec to Android O, which allows approximately 3x more data than other technologies to be transmitted over a Bluetooth wireless network with superb quality. Sony has reportedly contributed more than 30 feature enhancements and 250 bug fixes to improve the overall OS.
The last feature that arguably might be the most useful is the improvements made to the battery life. Google has taken the doze battery saving feature to a whole new level further optimizing how the operating system is able to limit and manage what apps do in the background while multiple apps are open. One example that CNET notes in its report is that if you’re using Instagram but have Google Maps open in the background, location services will update the location less frequently for maps to keep it from draining your battery as fast.
As I mentioned at the start of this video, a lot of these features are still half-baked and will need to be tested in detail to see how they perform on a daily basis but they are all welcomed features that should make Android even more capable.
Which feature of Android O are you most excited for?