Android devices are about to learn some new tricks. Google has unveiled the next version of Android, now known as Android Oreo, and gave us additional details on when we can expect to get the updated version of Android. The announcement caps off a summer of updates to the Android O beta, in which we learned a lot about what's coming to Android phones. 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 becomes available for your phone. (Image Credit: Google)
Once Android Oreo 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 Oreo 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 Oreo development will also bring more speed and greater performance to Android devices. At the Google I/O 2017 developers conference in May, 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 Oreo will offer picture-in-picture (PiP) support throughout the OS. iOS users already enjoy picture-in-picture support, but only on the iPad. This feature will be all over Android devices as they get their Oreo updates, 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.
A clever, new feature will automatically turn your phone’s Wi-Fi back on based on your location. This way, your phone can connect to your home network when you arrive, saving you from any fiddling with the device.
To enable this feature, go to Network and Internet > WiFi > WiFi Preferences. Then toggle on the setting. Your phone will then use its location knowledge to reconnect to networks like your home Wi-fi. It’s a clever way to save on data usage and use the phone’s internal smarts without flipping the Wi-Fi on and off.
Android Oreo takes the ability to customize your home screen even further with pinned shortcuts and widgets. When you long press an app icon, you’ll see distinct buttons that each have a description about what those shortcuts will do when pegged to your homescreen.
Touch and hold one of them and drag them to an open spot on the home screen. Now, you’ll be able to directly launch that action. In our example, we’ve added a shortcut to the “I’m Feeling Lucky” function of Google Play Music.
If you use a password manager, Android Oreo’s autofill capability will greatly simplify your life. The new autofill feature allows developers to create services that can directly input information into forms. While some had found a workaround for this in Nougat, the process for Oreo is simpler and should enable more third-party apps to participate. Companies like Dashlane and LastPass have already detailed how they will support this feature. (Image Credit: Tom’s Guide)