Android 8.0 Oreo is the next major update to Android which is all about speed, performance, security, and improving the overall usability of the OS. Android 7.0 Nougat was already a huge update in terms of the features that it introduced, and with Android Oreo, Google is focusing on adding minor little features that’d help increase its usefulness.
The official announcement from Google regarding Android Oreo only highlights a few key new features in the OS, but it brings more to the table than that. Keep reading below to know all the new features — however minor — that Android Oreo packs.
Top New Android 8.0 Oreo Features
Picture-in-Picture first made its debut on Android TV with the Nougat update and with Android Oreo, Google is bringing the feature to Android smartphones and tablets. Picture-in-Picture allows one to watch videos in a small windowed form while using other applications. This means that you can continue having a conversation while watching a video. The PiP window can be dragged anywhere on the screen and can be resized as well.
Google has introduced a new Autofill API in Android Oreo that will allow password managers to easily fill your login credentials in other apps without using any hacks or workarounds leading to a better user experience.
3. Notification Badges/Dots
While iOS has supported notification badges since eons, Android has lagged behind in this department. There are plenty of third-party launchers on the Play Store with support for Notification Badges, but Google has not supported the feature so far on an OS level. That changes with Android Oreo as Google is introducing official support for Notification Badges/Dots in the OS.
Similar to iOS, any app icon will now display a dot if there is an unread notification related to the app. Google then further improves this concept by allowing users to long press on the app icon to quickly view the unread notification. One can also act on the notification or dismiss it from the same window if they wish to.
4. Notification channels
Building on the redesigned notification experience which Google debuted with Android Nougat, it has introduced Notification channels in Android Oreo. Aimed at being able to further prioritize notifications from apps, Notification channels will allow users to create a custom channel for each notification.
In simple terms, users can create a ‘channel’ for a particular category of updates from a certain app. So, for example, you can have a ‘Business’ channel in Feedly, and then you can prioritize/customise notifications from this channel as you like. Similarly, you can have multiple channels for different WhatsApp groups that you are a part of and customise their notifications as you wish to.
5. Notification timeouts
Developers will be able to specify timeouts for notifications in Android 8.0. This way they can send users time sensitive notifications and automatically dismiss them if they choose to not act on it within a certain time.
6. Snooze Notifications
Forget alarms; you can now even snooze regular notifications from any app in Android Oreo. Swiping right on any notification in Android Oreo will show the snooze option, with the timings limited to 15 mins, 30 mins, and 1 hour.
7. New Media Notifications
Ongoing media notifications have been completely overhauled in Android Oreo and now color themselves based on the album art of the media/song being played. This does not require any developer input and is done by the OS automatically. While this does look beautiful, it also ends up creating a color mismatch with other notifications.
9. Persistent Notifications for Background Apps
Android 8.0 will display a persistent notification for any app that is running in the background. Additionally, a notification is also displayed if there is a screen overlay.
10. Background Limits
Since Marshmallow, Google has been working on making Android more power efficient by imposing restrictions similar to iOS. With Android Oreo, there is a limit on the number of apps and services that can run in the background on an Android device. This limitation applies to apps that make use of any of the three activities: 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.
11. Quick Tiles Now Act as Toggles
In Android Nougat, tapping on the Wi-Fi tile in Quick Settings would expand it to show the list of available Wi-Fi networks around. In Android Oreo, Google is changing this behavior and making the tiles act as toggles. So, tapping on the Wi-Fi tile will now toggle Wi-Fi on/off. You can still see the available list of Wi-Fi networks around you by tapping on the Wi-Fi text in the tile instead of the icon.
The same functionality stands true for Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and other similar tiles.
12. Redesigned Settings Menu
Google redesigned the Settings menu completely in Android 7.0 Nougat, and with Android Oreo, it has once again revamped the menu completely. This time around, Google has taken cues from Samsung’s User Experience UI for the redesign. All options are now neatly tucked under the appropriate category, with advanced options hidden by default so as to not overwhelm users.
13. Redesigned Battery Menu
In addition to the Settings menu, Google has also completely revamped the Battery menu in Android 8.0. The new menu now shows the remaining battery percentage and time left — depending on your usage — right at the front. Other relevant battery related information like the time since the last full charge and screen usage is also shown below it.
The new Power management section provides handy options like being able to toggle the battery saver, battery percentage, and other options that can greatly affect battery life like Adaptive brightness and display timeout.
14. Detailed Battery Usage
The redesigned Battery menu now also provides more details about an app’s battery use. This includes the amount of power it has consumed while being actively used and while it was running in the background.
15. Redesigned Storage Menu
The Storage section has also received a much-needed revamp in Android 8.0. Google has now made it more user-friendly, and like the redesigned Battery menu, it now shows the relevant information right up front. Apart from showing the amount of available space on your device, the redesigned storage menu also highlights the Smart Storage feature which is otherwise buried so deep into the OS that most users are oblivious to its existence.
16. Smart Text Selection
Text selection in Android 8.0 is going to get smarter with the menu now showing suggestions relevant to the content highlight. So, if you highlight a phone number or address, you will automatically get an option to open the Phone app or Google Maps.
17. New Emoji
Google is finally ditching the blobs with Android 8.0 and replacing them with an emoji set that is more understandable. Google is also adding full support for Emoji 5.0 with the latest release of the OS.
18. New Emoji Support Library
To solve the emoji fragmentation problem in Android and to ensure that a system update is not required to add support for new emoji, Google has introduced a new EmojiCompact support library with Android 8.0.
Developers can use the new support library to ensure that their app can render even the latest emoji characters despite it not being supported by the OS. This library is compatible with previous versions of Android dating back to KitKat.
19. Turn On Wi-Fi Automatically
There’s a new option in Android 8.0 that will automatically turn on Wi-Fi whenever you are near known high-quality saved networks. This means that whenever you come back home, Wi-Fi will automatically turn itself on and connect to your home network.
20. Faster Boot Times
Among other improvements, Android 8.0 also comes with faster boot times. In fact, Google says that your Android device should now boot up to 2x times faster when compared to Android Nougat.
21. Better App Performance
Thanks to some underlying changes in Android 8.0, certain apps will perform up to 2x faster in the latest release of the OS. Google says that this is achieved purely due to system enhancements and with no additional input required from developers.
22. Lower RAM Use
Thanks to an improved garbage collector in Android 8.0, apps will consume less RAM on the latest version of Android.
23. Support for High-Quality Bluetooth Streaming Codec
With the 3.5mm audio jack being phased out slowly by smartphone OEMs, Google is adding support for high-quality Bluetooth streaming codecs to Android Oreo. This includes support for codecs like aptX, aptX HD, AAC, and LDAC.
So, once Android Oreo drops, when paired with compatible headphones or earphones, your Android device should offer significantly better audio quality.
24. Bluetooth 5.0
Apart from support for high-quality Bluetooth audio streaming codec, Google is also adding support for Bluetooth Low-Energy 5.0 and AVRCP 1.4 standard. Many existing Android flagships like the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11 already come with Bluetooth 5.0 and all the relevant features will be enabled once these devices are updated to Android 8.0.
25. Smart Sharing
In Android 6.0, Google debuted Direct Share letting users directly share something to a contact in WhatsApp, Telegram, or any other popular messaging client. In Android Oreo, Google is building on Direct Share and introducing Smart Sharing. The Share menu of the OS will now display the list of apps depending on the type of content being shared. So, for example, if you try sharing a GIF, various messaging apps on your phone will be the one suggested first.
Developers will also have to update their app and add the appropriate intents to help Smart Sharing work properly.
26. Redesigned Icons
Throughout Android Oreo, you will notice that Google has redesigned many of the system icons. This even includes icons that are without a label like the ones primarily found in the Settings menu.
27. Multi-display Support
Google is adding multi-display support to Android with the latest version of the OS. In addition to that, if an app detects that it is running on a device that has multiple displays, users will be provided with the option to launch the app on a specific screen or move it from one display to another.
Sadly, only one app remains active even while using multiple displays in Android Oreo to preserve battery life and resources. All apps and activities not in focus are automatically paused, and they only resume once they are again in focus.
28. New Theme for Quick Settings
Google redesigned the Quick Settings panel in Android 7.0 Nougat, and with Android 8.0, it has given the panel a new theme. The new black on white background theme is a refreshing new change from the previous dark theme used in Nougat.
29. Tweaked Ambient Display
Google has tweaked Ambient Display in Android 8.0, and it will now display the time and date along with unread notifications from only certain apps.
30. Custom Ringtones and Notification Tones
With Android 8.0, setting your favorite tune as your ringtone or notification tone will be significantly easier. Now, when you open the Ringtone selection menu, you will find an ‘Add ringtone’ option from where you can pick your custom ringtone file irrespective of where you have saved it on your device. The same also stands true for notification tones.
31. Pause System Updates
You will finally be able to pause system updates from downloading midway. This surprisingly minor feature was missing from stock Android for all these years.
32. VoIP Apps Now Integrate with SystemUI
Taking a cue from iOS, Google will be allowing third-party VoIP apps to integrate natively with Android’s SystemUI framework for an improved user experience starting from Android 8.0. This will be possible with the new ConnectionService API that will also allow VoIP apps to work in harmony alongside other audio apps. This will also make it possible for VoIP apps to display incoming call information on your smartwatch, car infotainment system, and other such devices.
33. Smarter Search in Settings
The search function in the Settings menu is getting smarter in Android 8.0 as the search results now display your installed apps along with a small subtext to better explain the listing. This might seem like a minor change, but it will greatly help in expanding the usefulness of the search function in the Settings menu.
34. Adaptive Icons
Google introduced circular icons with Android Nougat to help standardize icons on Android. However, app icons are still a mess on the OS. Different Android OEMs have different implementations of icon shapes and size meaning that icon developers need to support every single one of them.
Now with Android 8.0, Google is introducing support for Adaptive Icons. Thanks to this feature, Android Oreo will automatically crop and align app icons to make sure they all have the same shape and size. This will also ensure that app icon developers will not have to support different types of icon shapes and size.
35. Wide Color Gamut Support
Android devices have started coming with displays that support wide color gamut like DCI-P3, but the OS still does not support them natively. It has been up to Android OEMs to add support for wide color profiles in their devices and Android developers were left to figure out on their own if a device supported it or not.
With Android Oreo, Google is introducing native support for wide color gamut displays and allowing developers to displays these colors in their app if a device supports it. This will particularly benefit developers of professional photo editing apps and users who use their Android device for any kind of professional photo or video editing work.
36. Detailed Backup Breakdown
Google automatically backs up your system settings, contacts, and other data to the Google account with which you sign into your Android device. The feature has never really worked as advertised by Google and since the company has hardly ever mentioned it, most people are blissfully unaware of its existence as well.
In Android 8.0 though, Google now provides a detailed breakdown of all the data that it backs up to your Google account. Located under Settings -> System -> Backup, you now get a detailed look at when your calendar, contacts, messages, device settings, and other data were last backed up. All these backups are stored in your Google Drive account.
37. Keyboard Navigation
With Android apps now making their way to the Chrome OS and Android OS being used in a variety of devices with different form factors, Google is adding better support for physical keyboards to the OS while also offering a reliable and predictable “arrow” and “tab” navigation for developers and users.
38. Unknown Sources
So far, sideloading an app only required one to enable the Unknown Sources from security settings. In Android 8.0 though, you will first have to grant permission to the app which you are using to download the APK. This means that if you try downloading an APK from Chrome, you will first have to toggle the “Trust apps from this source’ permission for the browser. It is only after this that you will be able to download and sideload the APK on your device.
39. Tweaked System Fonts
Google has tweaked the stock system font in Android 8.0 to make it clearer and bolder in certain areas thereby making it easier to read. For example, the lock screen font size has been tweaked to make it look cleaner.
40. Smaller APK Size
Developers will no longer have to include their own custom font package which should help in reducing the APK size of their apps.
41. Control Night Light Intensity
Google debuted Night Light — a blue-light filtering feature — with Android 7.0 Nougat last year. This year with Android 8.0, the company is updating the feature to allow users to be able to control the intensity of the filter, i.e., you can now manually adjust the intensity of the yellow tint that occurs when Night Light is enabled.
42. Quickly Access Widgets from an App’s Shortcut
Accessing all the widgets of an app on Android has so far been a sub par experience. Google is fixing this with Android 8.0 by allowing one to quickly access all the widgets offered by an app through launcher shortcuts. When you deep press on the icon of an app on your home screen, the available launcher shortcuts for it will show up. From that same menu which pops up, simply tap the drawer icon to see all the available widgets offered by the app.
43. Wi-Fi Aware
Android 8.0 will introduce support for Wi-Fi Aware based on the Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN) specification. This will allow compatible Wi-Fi Aware devices and apps to communicate with each other over Wi-Fi without first having to connect to an active Wi-Fi network.
44. AAudio API
A new native audio API from Google in Android Oreo that offers high-performance low-latency audio for apps that specifically require it. Apps that will be making use of this API will write and receive data via streams for optimal performance.
This new API should lead to Android finally getting some decent audio creation apps.
You can read more about AAudio API here.
45. Tweaked APK Installer UI
The APK installer UI has been tweaked and it now also shows a ‘Cancel’ button. This button is automatically grayed out once the progress bar crosses a certain threshold though.
46. Apps Can No Longer Draw Over SystemUI
If you are using apps that let you tweak the look of the on-screen navigation bar on your Android device, you will be disappointed to know that these apps will no longer be able to work on Android 8.0. Any app that draws over SystemUI will simply not function under Android 8.0.
47. New System Animations
Google has tweaked many of the notifications in Android 8.0 and has also introduced new ones. For example, there is a slick new animation when you open or close a notification in Android Oreo.
48. Enabling Developer Options Now Requires PIN
Enabling the hidden Developer Options in Android 8.0 by tapping on Build Number 7 times now requires one to verify their identity by entering their pattern/PIN/password as well.
49. Project Treble
This is one of the significant underlying changes in Android 8.0 that will make it easier and faster for OEMs to roll out updates for their devices. The benefits of Project Treble is not going to be immediately obvious and primarily only those devices are going to benefit from it which launch with Android 8.0 out of the box.
You can read more about Project Treble here.
50. Update GPU Drivers Through Play Store
So far, Android OEMs have had to update the GPU drivers on their devices by rolling out software updates. While GPU drivers are not frequently updated by OEMs anyway, having to roll out a software update to update GPU drivers is not a convenient and cost-friendly method.
With Android 8.0, thanks to Project Treble and the modular nature of the core aspects of the OS, OEMs will now be able to push GPU driver updates to their devices through the Play Store. This should possibly lead to them pushing out more GPU driver updates as it will be both faster and economical from them.
Missed any new feature in Android 8.0 Oreo? Drop a comment below and let us know and we will add it to the list above.