Android devices will learn some new tricks with the Android O update that Google previewed at its I/O 2017 today (May 17). The update starts with better battery life and increased performance and will also include new security measures, easier text selection and a picture-in-picture feature for improved multitasking. Here's what Android O will do for you when it arrives later this summer.
Once Android O hits your phone, expect improved battery life, thanks to Google's Vitals initiative. Google's adding what it calls "wise limits" to create automatic caps for what apps can do in the background. These limits will curtail excessive use of background services and location updates, so your apps won't be able to do too much damage to your battery when you're not using them.
Android O allows users to see notifications they've missed without pulling down the drop-down menu from the top of your screen. Apps with missed notifications will sport a badge that draws its color from the apps icon, so you can quickly scan your home screen to check out the state of affairs. (iOS users are familiar with this, with the red badges on their app icons.) A long-press on an app with a Notification Dot will open a menu (that looks like 3D Touch) of those missed notifications.
The Vitals project driving Android O development will also bring more speed and greater performance to Android devices. At I/O 2017, Android product manager Stephanie Saad Cuthbertson explained that the company has seen its Pixel handsets boot twice as fast, with similar gains in the Google Sheets app.
You'll be able to take that YouTube video or your video call as you switch from app to app, as Android O will offer picture-in-picture (PiP) support throughout the OS. We weren't able to test out this feature in the Android O preview build for developers, but Google announced it at the I/O 2017 keynote.
iOS users already enjoy picture-in-picture support, but only on the iPad. This feature will be all over Android devices when Android O arrives, and users will activate it by simply hitting the home button while watching a video. PiP videos can be dismissed by simply swiping the clip away.
Autofill with Google allows users to easily fill in forms on their mobile devices using information previously entered elsewhere. That's how Android's vice president of engineering Dave Burke easily filled in his Twitter user name and password on his Android device when demoing the feature at I/O 2017. Autofill apps will be able to store and secure user data including addresses, usernames and passwords. (Image Credit: Tom’s Guide)
The more we rely on our smartphones, the more our mobile security becomes important. That's why it's great to see Google Play Protect, a new service suite that will scans your apps for threats, and constantly checking for the latest risks, which will be found and detected via machine learning. If such an app is found on your device, it will delete the dangerous app from your handset or tablet.
One of the more annoying parts of using a smart phone is fidgeting on your screen with your fingers to select a specific amount of text. Android O's Smart Text Selection makes it easy to pull out addresses, business names and other selections by automatically selecting the entire amount of text by tapping on it. Android will use machine learning to power this feature, but Google executives promised your text will stay on your device and not get sent to the cloud.