Android Oreo is OFFICIAL and will start rolling out to Pixel and Nexus phones inside the next few weeks.
Google did its usual ceremonial unveiling of a massive Oreo statue at its Mountain View HQ.
The update, which we’ll dig into below, adds in a bunch of new features and cosmetic updates.
Google was also keen to push the idea that Android Oreo will be more widely disseminated than Android Nougat, which is currently up and running on just 15% of Android devices.
“We’ve been working closely with our partners over the last many months,” said Google, “and by the end of this year, hardware makers like Essential, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony are scheduled to be launching or upgrading new devices to Android 8.0 Oreo.”
Android Oreo will be the eighth major release of the world’s most popular mobile OS.
But just what will Android O entail in terms of new features and capabilities?
Here are the top ten things you need to know about the next major release.
Android O: Name
It’s called Android Oreo, as expected.
Android O: Release Date
Android Oreo will hit Pixel and Nexus phones in the coming weeks. Google says the majority of its Android partners should have updates out before the end of 2017.
There are a few reasons for this. First, Nougat appeared during the same timeframe last year. Second, an OS update spurs sales of new devices—important for the holiday shopping season that begins this fall. Third, Apple will be releasing iOS 11 around the same time (probably in September), which will mean Android devices will need some new features to tout.
Android O: Which phones will be the first to get it?
Right now the developer preview is installable on Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, and the Pixel C. As for consumer devices, of course, just because Android O gets a public release in August/September doesn’t mean all phones will have access to it right away.
It’s almost certain that Google will release a new Pixel flagship phone around the time that will ship with Android O preinstalled. Older Pixel and Nexus phones should get an Android O downloadable update shortly after that. As for other major flagship phones from the likes of Samsung, LG, and HTC? Expect an Android O update for some of those devices before Christmas, with virtually all of them getting the new OS by early 2018.
Android O Feature: Battery Life
One great thing about Android O is it will limit the processes applications can perform in the background when multiple apps are running. This means that all devices should see more battery life once you install Android O on them.
Android O Feature: Picture-in-Picture
Another really welcome feature of Android O is Picture-in-Picture (PiP). While iOS has offered PiP on the iPad and some Android tablets also have PiP, we’ve yet to see it backed into Android on the phone. That’s all changing with Android O. Now you’ll be able to keep watching Netflix in a tiny window if you suddenly remember you need to bang out that email you forgot to send. This is great for larger-screened phones.
Android O Feature: Smart Text Selection
This is a rocking feature: text selection is much smarter in Android O. Now the OS will know to select all the text, for example, when you are trying to copy and address. Smart text selection also includes the ability to tap on the selected text and, if it’s an address, begin directions there or if it’s a phone number, dial the number.
Android O Feature: Notification Dots
Notification dots will now appear above apps that have pending notifications. Yay! But it gets better: long tap on a dot to get contextual menu actions you can carry out in a single tap.
More Power To Google Assistant
The new code inside Android Oreo has shown that Google is planning on making Assistant a lot more useful. Google Assistant will, inside Android Oreo, be open to developers, so they can leverage it within their applications.
This means you can use Assistant whilst inside an application; Assistant will simply work in the background. This keeps people inside applications and also serves to bolster the usability of applications in the long run.
This is the sort of innovation Google Assistant needs if it is to become indispensable. Like Android, Google wants Assistant to be everywhere and used by all manner of applications. By doing this Google ensures Assistant grows and evolves beyond phones and smart speakers.
Android O Feature: Autofill
It’s a pain having to type in your information, such as addresses, usernames, and even passwords on forms in apps and on the web. Android O makes this easier by allowing the OS to autofill your info across apps and the web.
Android O Feature: Wi-Fi Awareness
Ever have two devices that want to talk to each other but can’t because both aren’t on the same internet network? Well, that doesn’t matter anymore. In Android O a new feature called Wi-Fi Awareness will allow Wi-Fi devices to talk to each other via an ad hoc local network.
Android O Feature: Vitals
While this feature won’t be obviously noticeable when using Android O on your device, that doesn’t matter. Vitals works in the background keeping your device more safe and secure from viruses, hackers, and worms. Think of it as a new security layer for Android.
These Smartphones Will Get The Upgrade – Check List