Google unveiled the name of their next Android OS during the Solar Eclipse, along with announcing to the world just how close they were to getting Android 8.0 Oreo. According to the Mountain View company, Android Oreo source code has already been submitted to the Android Open Source Project so that ROM creators can also begin working on their Android Oreo-based ROMs. Additionally, Google made special mention that they have also been working closely with their partners, and “by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo.” Besides having a delicious name, here are five features of Android Oreo that are extremely exciting and are going to help you enjoy your device even more.
Picture-in Picture with Video Support
Currently, Android 7.0 Nougat supports a multi-window mode where you can dock windows with static content with no problem. Unfortunately, if you’re watching YouTube video and trying to take notes in Google Keep in a separate window, you’d notice that the minute you dock the two apps, the video playback stops. This is going to change with Android 8.0 Oreo. We’ve been using Android Oreo since its early beta days and found that the mode has been working beautifully, allowing us to play video content (irrespective of the app) in one window while allowing the other window to have any other type of content. Of course, if you dock two video playback apps, one of them will be paused, as the feature only supports one video playback at a time.
Probably one of my most favourite features of Android Oreo is the notification dots. Right now, there’s no “stock” way for you to know whether a particular app has notifications pending on it, except for the overcrowding of the notification bar on top. With notification dots, that is about to change. Any app with an un-opened notification will have a small dot appear on the top right corner, letting you know that there’s something here that you haven’t yet seen. Additionally, long pressing on the icon will actually show you the notification on the screen itself, without having to even open the app. iOS users have enjoyed this feature thanks to force touch, but Android users will also be able to interact with their app notification without having to actually open the app
AptX HD & Sony LDAC Bluetooth Support
Audio quality is one of the least talked about features of a smartphone. LG and Sony kicked off the movement to bring good quality audio output back to smartphones, but Google is taking it one step further by bringing support for AptX HD and Sony’s LDAC codecs to Android Oreo. Both these codecs will enable streaming in higher quality to compatible Bluetooth devices. If you’ve been tethered to your smartphone because you refuse to give up the superior quality of audio wired headphones/earphones can provide, well, you may soon find yourself giving up the cables thanks to Android Oreo.
Autofill from Chrome
One of the most annoying things while setting up a new app has been having to refill the log-in information. For example, as a reviewer, I tend to change phones very regularly, having to sometimes setup as much as three phones in a week. Having to log into the Facebook app has always been an additional step, which will now be eliminated thanks to Android Oreo, which will bring Autofill from Chrome. Basically, all your auto fill settings from Chrome, including saved passwords will now be available system-wide for the corresponding apps. In our Android O Beta hands-on, we found this feature to work flawlessly and are super glad to see it has made its way into the final built.
Super Fast Boot Time
Google has promised that boot times will drop to almost half one Android Oreo is installed on a device. Companies sometimes do go out on a limb and make tall claims, but this is not one of them. Our Google Pixel XL is booting up significantly faster than when it was on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The boot time is easily half of what it used to be and the OS in general also feels very smooth. You’re going to love having this OS on your phone, provided the OEMs don’t mess it up with their own layers of sometimes unnecessary junk.
Bonus Feature: 60 New Emoji
No smartphone based conversation is complete without emoji, and Google is bringing over 60 new, redesigned emoji that have a more 3D-esque appearance to them. The new emoji look a lot more similar to what you see on the Facebook app. The new look is definitely fresh, and while I like the new look, it will come down to a personal preference when it comes to these emoji.
Android Oreo has a lot more to offer than the features listed above, most of them working behind the scenes like the new Background Limits which will govern which apps can use resources in the background and which will be put to sleep, resulting in better battery life. In the last few months that we’ve been using the Android O Beta build, we’ve had no issues with the phone’s performance. This is a very well matured version of the Google OS, bringing features that focus on UI, UX, security, utility and even entertainment. The final version of Google Android Oreo is now avaialblefor the Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel, Nexus 5x, Nexus 6p, Pixel C and Nexus Player are already available for download from the Android Developer hub and if you’re up for a little challenge, we recommend that you go ahead and install this ROM on your compatible smartphone. The public build of the final version of Android Oreo for these devices will start rolling out very soon, but it may be a few more weeks (or even months) before we see OEMs such as Samsung and LG roll out the OS to their flagships and other devices.