Android Oreo Unveiled with New Features
During a total eclipse of the sun, Google today announced Android Oreo, ending the months-long guessing game about the official nickname for the new Android 8.0 mobile OS, previously referred to as Android O.
Much speculation had Oreo as the final moniker, but others said that choice might involve licensing/trademark problems, so alternatives such as oatmeal were also offered up.
The company cited new features such as picture-in-picture, Autofill (for task navigation), better security, improved speed and more in Android Oreo.
Specifically, here's a list at some of the new features coming in Android O, as described by Google:
- Notification Channels: Android O introduces notification channels to provide a unified system to help users manage notifications. When developers target Android O, they must implement one or more notification channels to display notifications to their users. If developers don't target Android O, their apps behave the same as they do on Android 7.0 when running on Android O devices.
- Adaptive Icons: Android O introduces adaptive launcher icons, which can display a variety of shapes across different device models. For example, a launcher icon can display using a circular shape on one OEM device, and display a squircle on another device. Each device OEM provides a mask, which the system then uses to render all icons with the same shape. The new launcher icons are also used in shortcuts, the Settings app, sharing dialogs and the overview screen.
- Picture-in-Picture mode: Android O allows activities to launch in picture-in-picture (PIP) mode. PIP is a special type of multi-window mode mostly used for video playback. PIP mode is already available for Android TV; Android O makes the feature available on other Android devices.
- Autofill Framework: Users can save time filling out forms by using autofill in their devices. Android O makes filling forms, such as account and credit card forms, easier with the introduction of the Autofill Framework. The Autofill Framework manages the communication between the app and an autofill service.
- Android TV Homescreen: This makes it easy for users to find, preview and watch content provided by apps. Apps can publish one or more channels, and users can control the channels that appear on the homescreen. Users will be able to get started with creating channels using the new TvProvider support library APIs.
- Smart Text Selection: In Android O, Google is applying on-device machine learning to copy/paste, to let Android recognize entities like addresses, URLs, telephone numbers and email addresses. This makes the copy/paste experience better by selecting the entire entity and surfacing the right apps to carry out an action based on the type of entity.
- TensorFlow Lite: As Android continues to take advantage of machine learning to improve the user experience, Google wants its developer partners to be able to do the same. Today the company shared an early look at TensorFlow Lite, an upcoming project based on TensorFlow, Google's open source machine learning library.
"We're pushing the sources to Android Open Source Project (AOSP) for everyone to access today," Google said in a blog post. "Pixel and Nexus 5X/6P builds have entered carrier testing, and we expect to start rolling out in phases soon, alongside Pixel C and Nexus Player. We've also been working closely with our partners, and by the end of this year, hardware makers including Essential, General Mobile, HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are scheduled to launch or upgrade devices to Android 8.0 Oreo. Any devices enrolled in the Android Beta Program will also receive this final version. You can learn more at android.com/oreo."
David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.