The developer preview of Android O is out, and there are some interesting features on the horizon.
The next version of Android, reported to be called Android O, will soon be in our hands. However, developers already have their mitts all over the developer preview and there are some nifty new features to talk about. Google has focused on battery, but there’s a lot more that it’s doing. Here’s what we’re excited about so far.
Battery size on smartphones have been getting bigger, but improvements to battery life aren’t really worth writing home about. Google introduced its Doze mode with Marshmallow and improved it last time, in an effort to manage idle battery drop on Android phones. It seems the company is tuning background processes on Android once again, to manage what apps do in the background.
Google has partnered with Sony to bring native support for its hi-res audio codec on Android O. The company’s LDAC codec is now integrated on Android, meaning hardware with support for such hi-res audio will be able to take advantage of it. So, if you’re using headphones like the Sony MDR-1000X, you’ll be able to use it’s hi-res audio capabilities.
This feature is somewhat confusing, but seems interesting. According to Google, notifications will now be in “app-defined categories for notification content”. We’re not quite sure what this feature will be, but it seems like what you see on Gmail. It’s possible that mails on your Promotions tab will be grouped together, while those from Forums appear together, and so on.
You will also be able to snooze a notification, a feature that many business users will appreciate. This means you can now schedule a notification to appear later. For example, if you receive an important work email at midnight, you can snooze it to appear again in the morning, when you’re actually at your workplace.
As smartphone screens get bigger, this particular feature could be quite important. PiP may allow you to place the Netflix video window on one corner of your screen, while you respond to an important text or email. The same may be possible with Facebook’s live videos as well. The feature should especially be useful on tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S3.
Wide gamut colour
This is another background feature that many may find unimportant. However, we’re hoping it means Android will now support 24bit panels. That, ideally means much better colours on your smartphone screens. Currently, phones have 8 or 16 bit panels, but perhaps Samsung, LG and others are looking to use a better grade of display.
Android hasn’t done well on tablets so far, but Google isn’t quite giving up at the moment. Android O will support keyboard shortcuts, something that laptop users looking for such tablets may enjoy. So, a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 will now be easier to use, at least on paper.
Will OEMs actually bring this to its devices?
The big question, though, is how proactive OEMs will be in bringing the new operating system to its devices. Android Nougat is almost a year old now and we barely see any devices running the OS right now. Companies like Xiaomi, Oppo and many others have launched devices in the past week or so, running Android Marshmallow, which is quite disappointing. Let’s hope Android O makes this easier too.
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