Google on Tuesday rolled out the first Developer Preview of Android O, promising the software will address a number of issues, from improving battery life to providing users with better notifications. The final name of the software hasn’t yet been unveiled.
This is the second year in a row Google has quietly rolled out a big new Android update, doing the same thing last March with Android N.
According to Google, Android O is primarily focused on improving battery life, with step number one to limit what apps can do in the background (something iOS has done for a while).
Google is also making a point to improve Android notifications, a feature Google has been trying to perfect over the past few years. Android O is able to group notifications into 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.”
To me, it sounds like Google is treating notifications a lot like bundle email, though we’ll have to see how it works in practice.
In addition, there are some smaller additions coming, including a picture-in-picture mode for videos, multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display, improved keyboard navigation, and greater support for headphones with “high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs.”
Google is also introducing support for adaptive icons, which developers can enable so the system displays icons in different shapes based on certain criteria, like what device is being used and how big a screen is. Android O also introduced wide-gamut color for apps, which is exactly how it sounds.
The Android O Developer Preview is available for the Pixel, Pixel CL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, and Nexus Player.