A new version of Android is coming. Google has just released the first Android O Developer Preview which lets developers have a look at the underpinnings of the new OS and all the new features it will bring. Apart from devs, we also get a chance to see what Google has been cooking.
At present through there isn't a lot that is new in Android O, its more a tease about upcoming changes. Although there are some noteworthy changes:
- Background Limits: Android O will be limiting apps running in the background, especially those with services running in the background or sending location updates. This would improve battery life and performance.
- Notifications: Android O will let you manage the kind of notifications you get from an app, you will therefore be able to have more control over what apps can show on the shade. There will be some visual tweks as to how notifications are grouped.
- Picture In Picture for Smartphones and Tablets: PiP support is coming to android smartphones for video as well. Android TV has PiP available since Android Nougat update, but finally it would be coming to phones as well. This would let content apps to show a separate floating window with video content and controls.
- AutoFill APIs: Google will now let AutoFill apps work on Android, so your favorite password manager would be able to enter usernames and passwords without the need to switch to the password manager app.
- Bluetooth Audio: High fidelity bluetooth audio support is coming with the new version along with support for Sony's LDAC codec.
- Adaptive Icons: Adaptive icons will change based on interface they are shown in and can also be animated. They will work in the launcher, shortcuts as well as settings.
- Keyboard Navigation: Android O will add better support for physical keyboards, making navigation easier with a keyboard and mouse.
Should you download Android O?
You shouldn't. The first developer preview of Android O is available in the form of a factory image file but it is not meant for use on your primary phone. It is for developers who want to start updating their apps before the final build goes public. However, if you have the Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Pixel C or the Nexus Player lying around, gathering dust, you can download the specific factory image from here.
You would have to possibly wait a few months when this becomes a part of the Android Beta program and is more stable for everyday use. At present Google says that the next developer preview will be coming mid-May with the 3rd preview arriving mid-June.
We will keep you updated when we get to know about more features of Android O.