Such is the speed at which the software development world works, as soon as we’ve settled into a new version of the Android operating system, another one gets slated for release.

Google has made what’s set to be version eight of its Android operating system – codenamed Android O – available for developers to preview. For the time being, though, Android O is not launching into the Android Beta, with it only available as a manual download for developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device.

Google told TechCrunch that it wants to give developers “time to test for compatibility, explore new features and send feedback”.

However, given the lack of new features on show in Android O, developers might feel like they’re not missing out on a great deal by not having access to it…

So, what can we expect from Android Oreo (as some people have taken to calling it)?

• Notification channels. This appears to give developers the ability to group their notifications, a bit like you can your apps (i.e. by ‘Politics’, ‘Technology’, etc.).

• Picture in Picture. When watching video on Android O, you’ll be able to shrink the video down into a floating window and do other things on the device, like take a call.

• Multi-display support. Pretty self-explanatory: developers will now be able to launch an activity on a remote display.

• Keyboard navigation. With the advent of Android Apps on Chrome OS, Android O will allow developers to better support arrow and tab navigation in their apps.

• Background limits. Android O puts automatic limits on what an app can do while running in the background; in three areas specifically: implicit broadcasts, background services and location updates. It’s all in the name of better battery life.

• Wi-Fi Aware. The updated OS will support Neighbourhood Aware Networking, which makes it possible for apps and devices to talk to each other when internet connectivity is lacking.

That’s not bad going, I guess. While there aren’t any wholesale changes, there are a few nice tweaks and updates that look set to improve UX. We’re hoping to see a few more features incorporated before the public launch in the third quarter of 2017, too.


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