Last year, Google released Android Oreo (i.e Android 8.0). Although it has been a year, not every smartphone is fortunate enough to get the Android Oreo upgrade. According to Google, only 4.9% of Android devices have got Android Oreo running and nearly 0.8 % of Android devices have Android 8.1 installed. You can refer the official Android’s developer distribution dashboard for the exact figure till May 7, 2018.
So, considering the fact from Android’s official webpage– Android Oreo is still new for a lot of users across the globe. Whether you recently upgraded to Android Oreo or simply got a new smartphone with Android O running, there’s a lot of new things that the previous iterations did not include. In this article, we will be talking about the key features that Android O has to offer.
Android O: Key Features
1. Picture-in-Picture Mode
This feature was one of the most awaited functionality for Android devices. Well, it wasn’t something completely new (Android 7.0 also had it for Android TV users) but the native support for Android smartphones is definitely something exciting.
In this mode, you get the ability to continue a video call or watch a video while you switch to another app. The video or the video call app will be minimized to a floating window and will appear as an overlay on top of the current app you are using. With this addition, multi-tasking on Android phones has essentially improved.
2. Notification Improvements
It is always hard to manage a bunch of notifications at once. So, with Android Oreo, a few (but major) improvements have been made. Here’s a list of them:
- Notification Channels: It would definitely be handy if you could categorize the app notifications – that’s what you can do with the introduction of notification channels on Android Oreo. You can create and customize your own notification channel by the type of notifications you get or by filtering them as per the applications you use. To understand more about it, you can refer to Android’s official developer guide.
- Notification Dots: For some, the notification badges on the app icon seem to annoy but for the rest – it acts as a reminder in case you dismissed all the notifications you had. This feature was only available for certain Android launchers but with Android Oreo, you get the unread badge or notification dots on the app icon without needing a separate launcher.
- Snooze: Just like the snooze functionality for the “Inbox” app, you can now snooze any notifications to pop up later with the same level of importance they appeared initially.
3. Autofill Framework
Unlike LastPass and other password managers, the autofill feature (for login, payment, etc.) was tough to implement for other applications. Now, with the introduction of this framework, other app developers will be able to easily integrate the feature where the user will be asked whether or not he/she wants to utilize the feature.
4. Adaptive Icons
The default icon pack with the stock launcher isn’t always impressive and that is why we prefer to install Nova launcher (or similar) as soon as we get a new device. But, with the concept of Adaptive Icons, the default system icons would look more polished and should blend in well with some visual effects added. It will also improve the way the icon packs look on your home screen on supported launchers.
5. Pinned Shortcuts and Widgets
Android app shortcuts were introduced with Android Nougat (i.e Android 7.0). And, in order to access it, you need to tap and hold on the app icon. However, with the addition of pinned shortcuts (as shown in the image above) in Android Oreo (Android 8.0), you can add a separate app icon on your home screen or widget space for a quick shortcut – which is a great feature.
6. Project Treble
Project Treble is a major overhaul of the Android OS framework to make it easier for the manufacturers to push faster Android updates. As Google stated in its blog:
“With Treble, a new stable vendor interface provides access to the hardware-specific parts of Android, enabling device makers to deliver new Android releases simply by updating the Android OS framework—without any additional work required from the silicon manufacturers.”
7. Connectivity Improvements
Android Oreo comes baked in with a lot of useful connectivity feature support. Some of them are:
- Wi-Fi Aware: It facilitates communication between apps and nearby devices over Wi-Fi without needing an Internet Access Point.
- Bluetooth: It adds the support for Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) 5.0 standard.
So, these are the key additions in Android Oreo (Android 8.0) when compared to Android Nougat (Android 7.0). If you want the detailed changelog of Android Oreo (fonts, APIs, and so on) you should read Android developer’s blog post to get a detailed info on it.