Google un­veils fi­nal ver­sion of An­droid Oreo

MARIE BLACK re­veals ev­ery­thing you need to know about new OS

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Google has un­veiled the fi­nal ver­sion of An­droid 8.0, aka Oreo. We ex­plain the new fea­tures com­ing to your An­droid de­vice.

Re­lease date

The search gi­ant un­veiled the De­vel­oper Pre­view of An­droid O in March 2017, ahead of its May Google I/O De­vel­oper’s Con­fer­ence. Since then we’ve had var­i­ous public be­tas, and on 21 Au­gust Google an­nounced the fi­nal ver­sion. It will be­gin rolling out the OTA up­date to

Pixel and Nexus de­vices soon, but right now is push­ing Oreo only to An­droid Open Source Project (AOSP) for other man­u­fac­tur­ers to be­gin work­ing on their own up­dates. Those on the public beta will also be up­dated to the fi­nal ver­sion from today.

Google states: “We’re push­ing the sources to An­droid Open Source Project (AOSP) for ev­ery­one to ac­cess today. Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds have en­tered car­rier test­ing, and we ex­pect to start rolling out in phases soon, along­side Pixel C and Nexus Player.

“We’ve also been work­ing closely with our part­ners, and by the end of this year, hard­ware mak­ers in­clud­ing Es­sen­tial, Gen­eral Mo­bile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Ky­ocera, LG, Mo­torola, Sam­sung, Sharp and Sony are sched­uled to launch or up­grade de­vices to An­droid 8.0 Oreo.

“Any de­vices en­rolled in the An­droid Beta Pro­gram will also re­ceive this fi­nal ver­sion.”

New fea­tures

2x faster to boot up Min­imises back­ground app ac­tiv­ity Aut­ofill re­mem­bers app lo­gins Pic­ture-in-Pic­ture lets you see two apps at once No­ti­fi­ca­tion dots quickly show you what’s new, and can be swiped off screen An­droid In­stant Apps launch within your browser with no in­stal­la­tion Google Play Pro­tect scans apps to keep your de­vice and data safe Im­proved bat­tery life Re­designed emoji li­brary with over 60 new emoji

An­droid O fo­cuses on ‘fluid ex­pe­ri­ences’ and vi­tals, with new fea­tures head­lin­ing dur­ing its first public ap­pear­ance at Google I/O 2017 in­clud­ing pic­ture in pic­ture (multi-win­dow­ing mode), no­ti­fi­ca­tion dots (long-press an app short­cut to view the no­ti­fi­ca­tion right there on screen).

There’s also aut­ofill (like in Chrome but now in apps), and Smart Text Se­lec­tion (au­to­mat­i­cally recog­nises names, ad­dresses and phone num­bers so you don’t have to fid­dle around with se­lec­tion han­dles; it can also sug­gest a rel­e­vant app).

An­droid O is much more stream­lined than Nougat with var­i­ous OS op­ti­miza­tions. The bot­tom line, ac­cord­ing to Google, is that de­vices boot twice as fast and all apps run faster and smoother by de­fault.

On the sub­ject of apps Google is also in­tro­duc­ing Play Pro­tect, which in­stalls every app on a per-de­vice ba­sis in or­der to keep things ul­tra-se­cure.

O also adds ‘wise lim­its’ to back­ground pro­cesses such as lo­ca­tion track­ing to sen­si­bly keep bat­tery us­age at a rea­son­able level.

There are many more changes com­ing to the OS, in­clud­ing such things as a re­designed Set­tings menu and Project Tre­ble - the lat­ter in essence en­sur­ing all users get An­droid OS up­dates much faster.

No­ti­fi­ca­tions in An­droid O

Many of the new fea­tures re­gard no­ti­fi­ca­tions, and in An­droid O we will see user-cus­tom­iz­a­ble no­ti­fi­ca­tion chan­nels whereby alerts are grouped by type. Users will be able to snooze no­ti­fi­ca­tions, and de­vel­op­ers can set time lim­its for no­ti­fi­ca­tions to time out. Also ad­justable

will be the back­ground colours of no­ti­fi­ca­tions, and the mes­sag­ing style.

At Google I/O 2017 we learned about no­ti­fi­ca­tion dots – when you have a no­ti­fi­ca­tion a small dot ap­pears on the short­cut for that app. Long-press the app short­cut and you’ll be able to view the no­ti­fi­ca­tion right there with­out pulling down the drop-down no­ti­fi­ca­tion bar:

Smart Text Se­lec­tion

An­droid O will be able to recog­nise names, ad­dresses and phone num­bers – some of the most com­monly copied in­for­ma­tion types – so you no longer need to fid­dle around with text han­dles (it will au­to­mat­i­cally

se­lect the cor­rect por­tion of the text). As well as the usual copy and paste con­trols An­droid O is also able to serve up rel­e­vant app sug­ges­tions for how you might wish to use that data.

Back­ground lim­its

In An­droid Nougat Google in­tro­duced the abil­ity to restrict cer­tain app ac­tiv­i­ties in the back­ground, and in An­droid O it im­proves on this by plac­ing the pri­or­ity on ex­tend­ing bat­tery life with­out user-in­put.

Im­proved Aut­ofill Frame­work

We’ve pre­vi­ously seen aut­ofill in Chrome, and with An­droid O Google is bring­ing it to apps. Users will have to opt in to this ser­vice, but will then find it eas­ier to fill in lo­gin and credit-card in­for­ma­tion forms with fewer mis­takes and much less rep­e­ti­tion.

Im­proved key­board con­trol

An­droid O won’t be re­stricted to phones, so there will be im­proved ar­row and tab key nav­i­ga­tion for when used with a phys­i­cal key­board.

Adap­tive icons

Icons in An­droid O will sup­port vis­ual ef­fects and can be dis­played in var­i­ous shapes on dif­fer­ent de­vices.

Pic­ture-in-Pic­ture mode

Pic­ture-in-pic­ture (a multi-win­dow­ing mode), which is al­ready avail­able on An­droid TV, is com­ing to An­droid O. It’s clever enough to min­i­mize video em­bed­ded in Chrome. It must be full screen, but

then you tap the home but­ton and it changes to the above left im­age. Above right is the ex­panded im­age you get from tap­ping. Tap and hold lets you drag it around the screen.

Con­nec­tiv­ity en­hance­ments

Wi-Fi Aware will al­lows apps and nearby de­vices to dis­cover and com­mu­ni­cate over Wi-Fi with­out an in­ter­net ac­cess point. We’ll also see im­proved Blue­tooth sup­port for high-qual­ity au­dio through the Sony LDAC codec, and new ways for third-party call­ing apps to work with each other and with your net­work op­er­a­tor’s spe­cial fea­tures.

Multi-dis­play sup­port

In­ter­est­ingly, An­droid O will be able to sup­port mul­ti­ple dis­plays, al­low­ing a user to move an ac­tiv­ity to one screen to the next.

Bet­ter man­age­ment of cached data

Every app will have a stor­age space quota for cached data, and when the sys­tem needs to free up disk space it will delete data from apps us­ing more than their al­lo­cated quota first.

New en­ter­prise fea­tures

Google says it has made the pro­file owner and de­vice owner man­age­ment modes more pow­er­ful, pro­duc­tive and eas­ier to pro­vi­sion than ever, with high­lights in­clud­ing the abil­ity to use a man­aged pro­file on a cor­po­rate-owned de­vice and en­ter­prise man­age­ment for file-based en­cryp­tion.

You can read about the new up­dates com­ing to An­droid O in more de­tail over on the An­droid De­vel­oper’s site (tinyurl.com/y7p9g6jt).

We were al­ready aware of a few user-fac­ing fea­tures com­ing to An­droid O thanks to a tip-off from Ven­tureBeat (tinyurl.com/yc8n­t95p), though there was no con­fir­ma­tion that they would make it through to the fi­nal build.

Copy Less

This fea­ture is ex­pected to ease copying text from one app and past­ing it within an­other by giv­ing sug­ges­tions in the sec­ond app as to what you might be about to type based on what you were do­ing in

the pre­vi­ous app. Ven­tureBeat gives the ex­am­ple of find­ing a restau­rant in the Yelp app, then open­ing a text con­ver­sa­tion, be­gin­ning to type ‘It’s at’ and the restau­rant name pop­ping up as a sug­gested term. It is cur­rently un­clear whether it will be a new fea­ture on the Gboard vir­tual key­board or baked into An­droid it­self.

Open­ing ad­dresses in Google Maps

Right now it isn’t pos­si­ble to share your cur­rent lo­ca­tion on An­droid as it is in iOS, but ac­cord­ing to Ven­tureBeat there are some new changes com­ing that make deal­ing with ad­dresses eas­ier. If you click on an ad­dress in a text mes­sage, in An­droid N it does noth­ing but in An­droid O it could open that ad­dress in Google Maps. It says it is not yet known whether this will be func­tional only in Google’s Mes­sages app, or in all mes­sag­ing apps on An­droid O.

Im­proved ges­tures

Today you can quickly call up your con­tacts us­ing OK Google, but in An­droid O you will be able to draw on screen the let­ter C to open your con­tacts menu. This is sim­i­lar to what we’ve seen in many Chi­nese phones – the abil­ity to in standby mode draw on screen a let­ter and open an app of your choice – though here it should work when the screen is switched on and in any app. This fea­ture may not be ready in time for An­droid O, how­ever, the source warned.

Sup­ported de­vices

Google phones and tablets are al­ways the first to get new op­er­at­ing sys­tem up­dates, but even Google won’t sup­port them for­ever. Se­cu­rity up­dates are pro­vided for three years fol­low­ing the de­vice’s re­lease, or 18 months af­ter it is re­moved from the Google Play Store (whichever is longer).

So, for ex­am­ple, the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will be sup­ported by Google un­til Septem­ber 2017, which means they will get both An­droid Nougat and this year’s An­droid O. The Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 were both sup­ported un­til Oc­to­ber 2016, which means they get an up­date to An­droid Nougat but not An­droid O. Older Nexus de­vices will not be up­graded. Google has said it will roll out the up­date to com­pat­i­ble Pixel and Nexus de­vices soon, and we’ll up­date this ar­ti­cle when we have an ex­act date.

If you have a re­cent flag­ship phone or tablet from a well-known maker such as Sony, Sam­sung, HTC, LG or Mo­torola, it’s likely you’ll see the up­date rolled out within the next few months.

Google is al­ready push­ing out the code to AOSP for other man­u­fac­tur­ers to get started with, and says de­vices from Es­sen­tial, Gen­eral Mo­bile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Ky­ocera, LG, Mo­torola, Sam­sung, Sharp and Sony will launch or up­date de­vices run­ning An­droid 8.0 Oreo.

How­ever, be­fore you can get the up­date both the hard­ware man­u­fac­turer and mo­bile op­er­a­tor must be ready to roll it out, which can slow down things.

Or, at least, that has al­ways been the case in the past. Ahead of Google I/O the com­pany an­nounced Project Tre­ble, which in essence makes it eas­ier for man­u­fac­tur­ers to roll out op­er­at­ing sys­tem up­dates to cus­tomers faster.

In its pro­mo­tion of the Moto G4 Plus, Mo­torola has al­ready said it will re­ceive An­droid Nougat and An­droid O. OnePlus has also con­firmed the up­date will come to the OnePlus 3, 3T and 5.

If you are run­ning a mid-range or bud­get model it’s likely that you will never get An­droid O. An­droid OS frag­men­ta­tion is still an is­sue, and at the last count on 8 Au­gust 2017 there were still de­vices run­ning Ginger­bread (via An­droid De­vel­op­ers).

Credit: Google

Credit: IDG

Credit: Google

Credit: Google

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