Google has officially announced the next version of the Android operating system and it is called Android Oreo! If you are a mad Android fanatic like me, then you probably already know this by now. Historically, Google has named its versions of Android after different tasty sweets or desserts, each version is named alphabetically – it started with Cupcake, Donut, to the more recent ones such as Marshmallow and Nougat. One of the big reasons why I love Android is because of the delicious sweet treats that the releases are named after.
There was a buzz of excitement at Google I/O 2017 this year with people trying to guess the next version name. Suggestions of Oatmeal Cookie, Oreo, Orange soda and some even suggested Ouma Rusks (okay I admit – that one was all me). On Monday the 21st of August, the announcement was made that Android O would be called Android Oreo!
Oreo has got to be one of my personal favourite biscuits. Every time I travel to the USA, I make sure to make a trip to a Target to try find a strange flavour of Oreo (I’m looking for the lemon flavoured ones next!). More recently in SA, the chocolate coated oreos have become my new favourite, I’ve eaten far too many of those. A few hours before the announcement, I decided to bake an Oreo cake, hedging my bets that the new name would be Oreo.
— Rebecca Franks (@riggaroo) August 21, 2017
Anyway, I could go on about my relationship with Oreos but you are probably here to read more about the features of Android Oreo that I am most excited about.
There are a couple of improvements to the notifications in Android Oreo. My personal favourite is the Notification Channels. If an application is targeting Android Oreo, notifications have to be placed into a certain channel. This gives users fine-grained control over their notifications. For instance, if you have a banking application that sends you important notifications about your bank balance but they also spam you with promotional notifications, you can now block the promotional notifications. Another new feature is Notification Badges, which give an indication if you have any unread notifications.
For more developer information regarding notifications, check out this post.
Picture in Picture Mode
Android TV has had Picture-in-Picture mode for a while, now this feature is available for Android Oreo users. Picture-in-Picture mode means you can browse around your device and keep watching your favourite vlogger. Try watching a video from Google Chrome to see it in action.
For developer information about PIP mode – read here.
Battery Life Improvements
With Android Oreo, a bunch of new battery life improvements have been added. Whilst these are not entirely visible to the user, devices running Oreo will have better performance on boot and will last longer due to more background processing restrictions. This is great news for end users, but for developers there are some changes to the way in which background processing works. Be sure to check out the post here for more information.
Project Treble is probably one of the most underrated new features introduced in Android Oreo and has only seen a minimal amount of media coverage. This feature is quoted as “The biggest change to the low-level system architecture of Android to date” from the Android developers blog. With adoption levels of newer Android versions being notoriously slow to update, Project Treble aims to try fix this problem. By creating a common interface that vendors can rely on, adoption of the new Android OS should be far quicker with Project Treble.
Unfortunately with Project Treble, the solution to the device fragmentation and slow updates won’t be solved tomorrow. This will only be for new devices going forward but for me it is a step in the right direction, for users and developers.
For more information about Project Treble, read this post.
One of my personal favourites from the release of Android Oreo are the new Adaptive Icons. Adaptive icons allow device manufacturers to set a “clipping mask” on their app icons. As a developer, you would provide two layers for your icon, the foreground layer and the background layer. The system can then use any clipping mask, allowing your icon to look great on many different launchers. Below is an example of the Book Dash Adaptive Icon in action:
— Rebecca Franks (@riggaroo) August 16, 2017
For more information about Adaptive Icons in Android, refer to this post.
The traditional Android blob emojis have now been replaced by newer emojis in the new version of Android. There have been some mixed reactions to this but I’m happy that emojis have been a focus in this release.
A great part about this change to the emojis on Android is the Emoji Compatibility Library. Even if your device doesn’t get an Android Oreo update, developers can use the Emoji Compatibility library to get access to the latest emojis. No more seeing weird tofu emojis in apps and not understanding why, yay!
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Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Oreo. With all my content, the views expressed in this post are my own.