Google previews Android O

A new developer preview reveals that Google is working to upgrade user experience by better managing battery consumption, notifications, and customising the user interface.

The Google I/O may be due in May, but the tech giant has already teased developers with a preview of the latest iteration of its Android OS, with a focus on improved battery life and other upgrades. And it’s called O.

Speculation is rife online already as to whether the featured sweetmeat nickname will be Oreo, Orange Taffy, Oatmeal Cookie, Ontbijtkoek (a spiced cake from Holland), Obbattu (a sweetened flatbread from Andhra Pradesh), or some other dessert item yet unheralded.

 

The logo for Android’s latest iteration was revealed on Google’s developers blog on Tuesday.

VP of Engineering David Burke on Tuesday posted an update on Google’s Android Developers blog, sharing an overview of Android O. The major upgrades this time include…

Background limits

… which ensure that an app automatically goes inactive or reduces the breadth of its background tasks — and, therefore, its drain on the device’s battery and RAM — when the user is not using it actively. Background location limits help manage how often apps can detect the device’s location. Limits on “implicit broadcasts” ensure that background apps do not kick in as often whenever the phone is charging. Then, there are…

Notification channels

… which would allow developers to segregate between different kinds of notifications — news, text messages — to give the user better control over the chaotic barrage that can ensue because you are subscribed to hundreds of apps. Notifications could also be grouped by type, making them easier to browse through. There’s more in…

Autofill APIs

… which do the work of password managers that retain and suggest information we key in repetitively, like usernames and passwords, personal data, etc. Now, with platform support, users would be able to install an app, like any other, to manage their mundane information.

Picture-in-Picture display

… will let users multitask with their device — like answering a phone call while watching a video, or booking an Uber — a feature previously available only on Android TV. A new app overlay window would replace annoying system alert windows.

Adaptive icons

… can help further personalise the user’s experience of his device by modifying the look and feel of the icons based on the mask or layout selected.

Android updates percolate comparitively less among users than iOS’s. According to CNET, only 2.8% of Android users had adopted Nougat, while nearly 80% of Apple users had the latest iOS 10.

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