Google launches An­droid O beta

Tech gi­ant’s lat­est op­er­at­ing sys­tem in­cludes Google Play Pro­tect and help­ful in­ter­face tweaks, writes BRAD CHACOS

Android Advisor - - Contents -

An­droid O has been avail­able as a De­vel­oper’s Pre­view for a while now, but at the Google IO con­fer­ence, Google took the wraps off some new fea­tures de­signed to make the next-gen ver­sion of An­droid more ac­ces­si­ble, se­cure, and long-last­ing.

Let’s start with ‘Fluid Ex­pe­ri­ences’, or aes­thetic de­sign tweaks to the op­er­at­ing sys­tem. An­droid O ac­tu­ally adds some handy new fea­tures on this end, such as a ‘pic­ture-in-pic­ture’ mode that min­i­mizes an

open app to a small win­dow in the corner if you need to mul­ti­task. Who says you can’t mul­ti­task on phones?

An­other ad­di­tion, ‘no­ti­fi­ca­tion dots’, steals the look of iOS’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion bub­bles on home screen apps, but makes it more use­ful. A dot plopped on a home screen app means you have a no­ti­fi­ca­tion from it; long-press­ing the app’s icon will pop the no­ti­fi­ca­tion de­tails up right there, over the icon.

Other Fluid Ex­pe­ri­ences take the hassle out of ev­ery­day tasks. An opt-in aut­ofill func­tion taps into Chrome’s pass­word sav­ing fea­ture to help you eas­ily log into stand­alone apps, while a smart text se­lec­tion fea­ture uses on-de­vice ma­chine learn­ing to au­to­mat­i­cally select the en­tire name or ad­dress you’re try­ing to select. Even bet­ter? Those smart selections come ac­com­pa­nied with rel­e­vant con­tex­tual ac­tions, such as the op­tion to call a se­lected phone num­ber, or open an ad­dress in Maps.

Vi­tals

Google is also fo­cus­ing on your de­vice’s core health in An­droid O, via se­cu­rity en­hance­ments and tweaks to the core OS. Most no­tice­ably, all An­droid O de­vices that come with Google Play pre­in­stalled will also ship with a new app called Google Play Pro­tect. Think of it as a se­cu­rity hub for your phone, scanning your apps for mal­ware and gen­er­ally mak­ing sure your de­vice stays se­cure. None of it is new, per se, but it was han­dled in the back­ground be­fore. Google Play Pro­tect makes it ob­vi­ous.

Op­er­at­ing sys­tem op­ti­miza­tions also help An­droid O de­vices boot twice as fast as their pre­de­ces­sors,

Google says, and apps load much faster as well. The firm is also bak­ing ‘wise lim­its’ into An­droid O to tame apps that want to run wild in the back­ground – sav­ing your pre­cious bat­tery life.

An­droid Go

Fi­nally, An­droid O marks the de­but of an ini­tia­tive dubbed An­droid Go. This is de­signed to run bet­ter on phones with lim­ited hard­ware, in re­gions with lim­ited in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity. It fea­tures stream­lined ver­sions of An­droid and Google’s core apps, along with a self-con­tained ver­sion of the Play Store, and en­ables Google’s Data Saver fea­ture by de­fault. Look for it on phones with less than 1GB of mem­ory.

Cu­ri­ous? While Google didn’t re­veal An­droid O’s launch date – or what the ‘O’ stands for – the com­pany has re­leased a beta ver­sion of the De­vel­oper’s Pre­view.

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