The next version of Android is official, and it’ll be released later this year.
Google announced Android O and its features moments ago. Among the most important consumer-facing features are background limits, notification channels, picture-in-picture support, and adaptive icons. So, like Android 7.0 Nougat, this version of Android doesn’t quite come across as a dramatic change for the platform.
Let’s have Google explain some of the features:
- Background limits: Building on the work we began in Nougat, Android O puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance. To make this possible, we’ve put additional automatic limits on what apps can do in the background, in three main areas: implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates. These changes will make it easier to create apps that have minimal impact on a user’s device and battery. Background limits represent a significant change in Android, so we want every developer to get familiar with them.
- Notification channels: Android O also introduces notification channels, which are new app-defined categories for notification content. 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.
- PIP for handsets and new windowing features: Picture in Picture (PIP) display is now available on phones and tablets, so users can continue watching a video while they’re answering a chat or hailing a car. Apps can put themselves in PiP mode from the resumed or a pausing state where the system supports it – and you can specify the aspect ratio and a set of custom interactions (such as play/pause). Other new windowing features include a new app overlay window for apps to use instead of system alert window, and multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display.
- Adaptive icons: To help you integrate better with the device UI, you can now create adaptive icons that the system displays in different shapes, based on a mask selected by the device. The system also animates interactions with the icons, and them in the launcher, shortcuts, Settings, sharing dialogs, and in the overview screen.
When can you expect to see Android O on phones and tablets? Google isn’t exactly sharing that just yet, but the usual summer-to-fall release is likely.
The first developer preview, however, is live already. But remember it’s intended for developers only. Even people enrolled in the Android Beta Program won’t be able to download and install Android O today. You’ll need to take the manual download and flash route.
The Android O Developer Preview can be used on the Pixel, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Nexus Player. It’ll be updated again in mid-May, mid-June, and sometime in August. Then the public will get its hands on Android O in a completely stable state.