The developer preview of Android O has landed. Android O introduces a variety of new features and capabilities for its beloved users and developers. Google did it again, by releasing the developer preview of Android O ahead of its annual Google I/O developer’s conference. However, we won’t be able to find the update on the Android Beta site. The first build is available for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel and Pixel XL, but must be manually flashed onto a device and is not intended for consumer use.
In August 2016, the final version of Android N was released and named Android Nougat, and we’re looking at a similar time frame in 2017 for the release of Android O, for which we will hear more details at Google I/O on 17 May. Till then, let’s look at what’s new in O:
Improving the battery life is one of the biggest and most welcomed features of Android O. Similar to iOS, Android O will limit and manage what app do in the background while multiple apps that are open.
To achieve increased battery life, the system will automatically control the active capabilities of apps running in the background without compromising on user experience and still reducing overall resource use.
Thre has been a majore redesign of notifications in Android O, this provides an easier, consistent and user friendly way to manage notification behavior and settings. These changes include Notification Channel, Snoozing, Notification Timeout, Notification Dismissal, Background Colours, and Messaging Style. These features may be an excellent catch for the users day to day life, as android vastly uses notifications to alert users. Even there are some Android tutorials available on web that can guide on how to use these features.
Talking about some features like Notification Channel, Android O introduces notification channel that allows you to create a user – customizable channel for each type of notification you want to display. The user interface refers to notification channel as notification categories. Snoozing, Users in Android O gets the much-needed option to snooze notification to reappear at a later time. Notification reappears with the same level of importance they first appeared with. Apps will be able to remove a snoozed notificaton or even update it, but updating a snoozed notification does not cause it to reappear.Messaging Style, Android has always been more focused on the UI of the OS and hence they transformed O with many UI changes in the notification like Messaging Style. It is used to display more content in the collapsed form. Messaging style can be used for notification that is messaging related.
Account creation, login and credit card transaction take time and are prone to errors. These repetitive tasks can easily frustrate the user and make him abandon your app.
Android O makes filling out forms, such as login and credit card forms, easier with the introduction of the Autofill Framework. Don’t worry if you an existing app in the Google Play store. Autofill will work with new as well as existing if the user opts into autofill.
The autofill API allows apps to register as a system-wide provider of autofill services. It’s similar to the way we select a keyboard. So, no more mucking around with accessibility settings or screen overlay. The autofill app stores and secures user data like addresses, usernames, and even passwords.
PICTURE-IN-PICTURE MODE (PIP)
With Android O, Android OS gets one of most sought after feature for mobile OS – allowing activities to launch in picture-in-picture (PIP) mode. PIP is a special type of multi – window mode mostly used for video playbacks. PIP mode can be found for Android TV even now, with Android O update, this cool feature is made available to other Android devices.
The gist is that while watching video on Android O, we will be able to shrink the video down into a floating window and interact with other apps on your android device. Apps will be able to put themselves into PIP mode from a paused or resumed state. As an Android Developer you can specify custom aspect ratios and interactions like Play and Pause while the video is playing in the PIP mode.
WORKING WITH FONTS
Android O introduces a new feature, Fonts in XML, which lets you use fonts as resources. No more need to bundle your fonts as assets. The Fonts will be are compiled in R file and will be available automatically in the system as a resource. You will be able to use these fonts using the new resource type, font. Additionally you can also retrieve information about to system fonts and provide file descriptors.
Though it’s just a developer preview, Google does make some mistakes also. Listing out the drawbacks won’t force us to stop using android anyway but we can just hope and wait for Google to come up with the first ever error free OS for its users.
Some of the drawbacks are Expandable quick settings only work when tapping the text and not the icon, Granular Battery usage for system-level items and service is gone, Battery percentage indicator can’t be placed in the status bar icon anymore.