Android O News: Name, Release Date & Features

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.

Background Limits

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.

If you are a developer, make sure to check out Google’s documentation on background execution limits and background location limits for more details.

Notification Channels

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.

Picture in Picture Android N

Autofill APIs

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.

Read: Android O Features: All the New and Hidden Features We’ve Found So Far 

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.

More coverage

Android O Feature Highlight: Third party VoIP Apps Can Now Integrate with System UI

Android O Feature Highlight: Third party VoIP Apps Can Now Integrate with System UI

With mobile data getting cheaper across the world with every passing month and Wi-Fi access now becoming ubiquitous, VoIP calls and apps have surged in popularity. While plenty of VoIP apps are available for Android, they have been unable to integrate properly with System UI which leads to not working properly or behaving absurdly in certain scenarios.

Android O Feature Highlight: Redesigned Settings Menu

Android O Feature Highlight: Redesigned Settings Menu

Google gave the Settings menu of Android a huge revamp with Nougat. Now, with Android O, the company is once again giving the Settings menu a huge makeover.

Android O Feature Highlight: AAudio API

Android O Feature Highlight: AAudio API

Android has long struggled with high latency for audio. Due to this, professional audio apps were never possible on the platform. Google has been trying to solve the issue since Lollipop and has made great strides on that front. 

Android O Feature Highlight: Notification Timeout

Android O Feature Highlight: Notification Timeout

Google completely revamped the notification panel of Android with Nougat, and with Android O, the company is further building on it to make it more feature rich. Apart from being able to snooze notifications, Android O will also introduce notifications timeout feature.

Android O Feature Highlight: Support for Wide Color Gamut Modes

Android O Feature Highlight: Support for Wide Color Gamut Modes

Android OEMs have been aggressively pushing the display quality in smartphones with their flagship handsets every year. Not only do Android devices feature high-resolution displays, they are also color accurate. However, due to the lack of wide color gamut support in Android, third party apps have been unable to take advantage of these displays in their apps. 

Android O Feature Highlight: Apps Can No Longer Draw Over System UI

Android O Feature Highlight: Apps Can No Longer Draw Over System UI

Android O will mark the end of apps that draw over System UI as Google is deprecating the UI used by such apps. Instead, it will now be offering developers with a new ‘TYPE_APPLICATION_OVERLAY’ API that will only allow them to draw over other apps.

Android O Feature Highlight: Background Limits Will Lead to Improved Battery Life and Performance

Android O Feature Highlight: Background Limits Will Lead to Improved Battery Life and Performance

Since the release of Android Lollipop, Google has been relentlessly working on improving the efficiency, performance, and battery life management of Android. With Marshmallow, the company introduced Doze and with Nougat, it introduced an even refined version of Doze to further improve battery life. Now, with Android O, Google is introducing another new feature to effectively manage resources: background limits.

Android O Feature Highlight: Custom Ringtones and Notification Tones Can Now Be Easily Set

Android O Feature Highlight: Custom Ringtones and Notification Tones Can Now Be Easily Set

For an OS meant for smartphones and smart devices, Android can surprisingly fail at some very basic tasks. This includes the ability to set a custom ringtone or notification sound which is unnecessarily complex in stock Android.

Android O Feature Highlight: Picture-in-Picture Finally Comes to Phones and Tablets

Android O Feature Highlight: Picture-in-Picture Finally Comes to Phones and Tablets

Google first debuted Picture-in-picture support in Android with Nougat last year itself. Back then, however, the feature was limited to Android TVs only. With Android O, Picture-in-picture will be available for all Android smartphones and tablets as well.

Android O Feature Highlight: Notification Badges

Android O Feature Highlight: Notification Badges

Taking a cue from iOS, Google is introducing native support for notification badges in Android O. While many Android launchers have been able to replicate this functionality for quite a while now, it was wonky at best.