Android O: everything you need to know

Android O

Google has just released their new updated operating system, Android O, into the wild. While it’s still in developer preview mode, there are plenty of exciting points to look at so that we know what will be coming to our phones in the future.

While Google hasn’t announced a name for Android O yet, they have traditionally gone for sweet treats with Android I becoming Ice Cream Sandwich and Android L becoming Lollipop, so it’ll likely be called something like Android Oatmeal Cookie.

What’s new in Android O?

Android O seems to be focused on improving multitasking and battery life. Google added a function to restrict background activities in Nougat, and this update allows it to happen without user input to automatically optimise battery life.

As for multi-tasking, Android O will feature a picture-in-picture mode to allow the user to play videos while also browsing websites or social media – making multitasking on one device far easier. There will also be multi-display support allowing you to easily launch a program on a second screen.

They are also introducing an improved autofill framework to cut down on repetitive tasks, and a Copy Less function which should make it easier to transfer text from one app to another, such as texting someone the address of the restaurant you were just looking at in a different app.

This update is also said to support adaptive icons, able to be animated, and improved gestures to shortcut to favourite programs – although this last one may not be ready in time for the Android O launch.

Android robot lights

Should you download it?

Currently, Android O is only available as a developer preview, which is not recommended for consumer use as it may still have glitches and bugs that developers will be working to fix. Your applications may not work properly and you wouldn’t yet be able to rely on it in an emergency.

While it might be tempting to have a look, especially with some of the great features we’re hearing about, this is definitely something to wait for. If you’re tech savvy and have a spare phone lying around that could support the new software then you might be able to indulge your curiosity. However, the preview is currently only supported by Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C, and Nexus Player phones.

When will we get Android O?

It’s still too early to say for sure when Android O will start making its way onto our phones, but we believe the initial launch will happen around August or September this year. This follows the pattern of previous releases such as the final release of Nougat in August 2016 which happened with very little fanfare.

This release is in what Google call the canary stage, aimed at getting developers thinking and planning before the official developer release at their I/O conference in May. We’re sure that we’ll hear about more features and design tweaks then – keep your eyes peeled on The Hub for the latest updates!