Google Launched Android O Developer preview(initial release, alpha) on 21st March 2017 with advanced features like notification channels, Picture-in-Picture mode, Adaptive icons, Wi-Fi Aware. The next preview(beta) will release in mid of May 2017 and final release will be expected in Q3 2017.
Developers who own a Nexus 6P,Nexus 5X,Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device (emulator can be used) will have to download and flash their devices. “For this release, we wanted to focus on giving developers time to test for compatibility, explore new features and send feedback which will help make Android O a great platform” ,- Google said. We will see the features of Android O:
Many android services can be running at a time in background. So Android O puts some efforts to improve and maximize user’s battery life. Now user can put limits on background(implicit broadcasts, background services, and location updates). Now user can control automatic background services according to user’s need.
If android app supports multiple user accounts then notification channel can be used, which helps user to control over different types of notifications. Also, user can block or change the behavior of each channel individually (see the pictures), rather than managing all the app’s notifications together.
Users can save time filling out forms by using autofill API. User can select an autofill app in same way as they select keyboard app. Benifits are:
- Less time spent while filling form fields This API saves users from re-typing information.
- Minimize user input error Some time user select words from keyboard app which may be incorrect spelled.
Picture in Picture (PIP)
PIP mode is already available for android TV. PIP is a multi-window mode mostly used for video playback. Android O makes the feature available for phones and tablets.
Font resources in XML
Fonts are now a fully separate and supported resorce type in Android O. Apps can now use fonts in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML — declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.
Adaptive icons can display a variety of shapes across different OEM device. It is used as launcher icons which supports visual effects. Each device OEM provides a mask, which the system then uses to render all icons with the same shape. The new launcher icons are also used in sharing dialogs, Settings app, shortcuts, and the overview screen.
Adaptive Icons Android O(Source:Google)
Now developers have option to load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile like AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3 but the devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display.
Wi-Fi Aware is based on the Neighbor Awareness Networking (NAN) specification. Apps and nearby devices can be discover and communicate over Wi-Fi without an Internet access point with the help of this technology. Google is now working with their hardware partners to bring Wi-Fi Aware technology to devices as soon as possible.
In Android O Google focused on building a more predictable, reliable model for “arrow” and “tab” navigation that helps to both developers and users.
This API designed specifically for apps that require low-latency audio and high-performance. Apps using AAudio read and write data via streams is possible.
Android O provides APIs like Renderer Importance API, Google SafeBrowsing API, Version API, Termination Handle API for better stability and security. Also, these APIs will manage the
WebView objects that display web content in your app.
Accessibility is important part for any app which improve app’s usability. Android O supports the following accessibility features for developers who create their own accessibility services:
- Language detection
- Fingerprint gestures
- Word-level highlighting
- Accessibility button
- Continued gesture dispatch
- Hint text
Java updates and runtime optimizations
Google is now adding OpenJDK Java language features to Android. Also, the Android Runtime Optimization with improvements of up to 2x on some application benchmarks.
These are the top feature of Android O. You can see the developer preview for Android O.