Google announces first Developer Preview of Android O
Just like last years timing, Android O was expected to drop anytime now. Today, Google is releasing a developer preview of Android O, just over one year after first dropping details on Android 7.0 Nougat. Just like last year, the company is highlighting a handful of major features and letting developers know how they can try it out.
Judging from the info Google has released today, Android O doesn’t have a big, attention-grabbing consumer feature like split-screen multitasking. This time though Google is not pushing it over the Android Beta Channel, instead developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device will have to manually download and flash their devices.
Notifications: Android O is adding a new feature called notification channels. From what we understand, this will give developers the ability to group notifications from their apps into groups. Users will then be able to manage those notifications based on those channels.
Picture in Picture: Android O video apps will be able to put themselves into a Picture in Picture mode so that video will still play after you switch to a different app.
Background limits: The last few Android releases put a heavy emphasis on improving battery life. Android O adds to this by putting automatic limits on what an app can do while they are in the background. These limits focus on three areas: implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates.
Adaptive icons: To have better integration between the app and the device UI, developers 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.
Android Wear is not receiving any O previews for hardware at this time.
Google also notes that Android O will support a number of new Java Language APIs and that the Android Runtime is now significantly faster, with some benchmarks seeing a 2x improvement. Like last year, Google promises it will do a deep dive on all things Android at its I/O developer conference in May.