While many of you may have been focusing your attention on the solar eclipse on Monday (c’mon we all looked directly at it…), many Android uses were focusing their gaze on another dark circular object…Oreos. To be more specific, the official of Android 8.0 Oreo, which has been in beta since May. While many of us were hoping for Android Nutella instead of Nougat last year, Android has finally returned to a branded OS, their first since Android 4.0 KitKat (2013). After having given it a spin on the Google Pixel, we have come up with a short list of our favourite features!
Love them or hate them, Android is finally doing away with their iconic “blob” emojis, and transitioning to a more traditional round cartoon version. There had often been confusion in deciphering emojis on different devices, but this should be a thing of the past moving forward as they are now more similar to those on iPhones.
2) Picture in Picture
Not just for our TV’s and computers any more, PIP has made its way to Android to allow for improved multitasking and productivity. No longer do you have to exit a video if you want to check something in another app, instead you can tap the home button to shrink the video and turn it into a movable window.
This means that if you are watching a program in Netflix, you will be able to minimize the window to search for for that actor’s name that on the tip of your tongue, without interruption of the video. As PIP continues to improve, its capabilities will expand, giving it more possible use cases.
3) Faster with a Better Battery
Two things that are often hard to quantify for the common user, performance speed and battery life, have been improved in Android O. Oreo’s quicker response times can be attributed to TensorFlow Lite, machine learning software which allows tasks to be completed immediately on the phone, rather than through the cloud. As for the longer battery life, this is due to the OS’s greater restrictions on apps running in the background. To quote Daft Punk, Android Oreo is now “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.”
4) Autofill Password in Apps
What is the most frustrating sentence in the world to see on your phone? Our bet is that your answer will be “Please choose a password that you haven’t used before,” even though it was the exact same password as the one that they told you was incorrect! Well Android has heard your calls and has taken autofill from Chrome, and transferred it over to the phone to work in Chrome on mobile as well as third-party providers.
5) Snooze Notifications and Notification Dots
One of the major focuses of the OS is its new emphasis on notifications, with multiple updates to how the user can interact with them. The most obvious additions are the new notification dots that appear on the top right corner of app icons, with their colour depending on the app. These icons are also connected to the cloud, so that if you check them on another device they will disappear as well. Secondly, you will now have the option to snooze notifications, just as if they were your 5:30am alarm. Allowing you to clear the notification from your tray, but have it reappear at a more appropriate time.
Android Oreo is in the rollout process for Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P devices now, with Pixel C and Nexus player to follow, before a staggered rollout to the rest of the Android compatible devices.