Android O is the next major version of the OS following Nougat. Similar to Marshmallow, the next version of Android is all about refinements and better user experience. That is not to say it does not come with new features though. It does though compared to the barrage of features that Google debuted with Nougat, they might feel a bit underwhelming.
Android O Features
Let’s have a quick look at some of the key new features in Android O before jumping over to its release timeframe and possible name.
Ever since Marshmallow, Google has been working on making Android more power efficient by imposing restrictions similar to iOS. With Android O, Google is introducing an automatic limit on the number of apps and services that can run in the background of an Android device. This limit will specifically relate to three main activities that an app can do in the background: location updates, implicit broadcasts, and background services.
By limiting apps from continuously asking for your location, Google is hoping to save precious battery life of your device. Similarly, by limiting the background services and implicit broadcasts, Google will be able to keep rogue apps in check from slowing an Android device by occupying precious resources and silently draining its battery. These restrictions apply not only to third-party apps but also to Google’s own apps and services including Google Play Services.
With Android Nougat, Google gave the notification system in Android a huge revamp. Now with Android O, Google is building on that and offering Notification channels that let users bundle notifications from a specific category of apps into a channel. Here’s how Google explains the feature?
Channels let developers give users fine-grained control over different kinds of notifications — users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.
Picture in Picture
Google first debuted Picture in Picture on Android TV with the Nougat update last year. As the name suggests and as seen on iOS 10, Picture in Picture allows one to watch videos in a small windowed form while using other applications. This means that you can continue working a chat conversation while watching a video. The PiP window can be dragged anywhere on the screen and can be resized as well.
As the name suggests, the Autofill API will allow password managers and similar apps to easily fill login information in other apps without any hacks and workarounds. This should allow password managers to provide a better user experience.
While LastPass also currently offers the ability to automatically fill login information in other apps, the implementation is wonky and hacky in nature. With the new Autofill API though, this will no longer be the case. You can find a video of 1Password for Android making use of the new autofill API in Android O to fill login information in other apps here.
High-quality Bluetooth Audio Streaming
Google is finally getting around to adding support for high-quality Bluetooth audio codec in Android. Contributed majorly by Sony, LDAC is a new audio streaming technology from Sony that provides a richer audio experience.
There are more features in Android O than just mentioned above. Make sure to read all about them below.
Android O Name
Like with previous releases of Android, Google has not yet confirmed the final name of Android O. The final name will only be revealed once the OS is ready for public release which is still a few months away from now. Going by Google’s naming scheme of naming Android after a dessert, Android Oreo sounds like the most plausible name for the final release of Android O. However, if history is anything to go by, the most likely name is the one that is never selected as well. Another possible candidate for the final name of Android O is Oatmeal Cookies or a combination of Oatmeal and a sweet dish. It is possible that Google will also hold a contest like last year to allow users to select the final name of the OS.
Android O Release Date
When Google dropped the first Developer Preview of Android O in March, it also provided a time frame as to when the final build of Android O will be available. The first beta build of the OS should drop in May possibly after Google I/O. The third Developer Preview build with the final APIs will release in June, with the final DP build releasing in July or August.
As for the final release of Android O to AOSP and OEMs, that should happen in Q3. If you are looking for a more specific release date, you will have to wait for Google to make an announcement on that front.