Android O Developer Preview: What’s New?

Android O Developer Preview has been introduced, it is possible to install it. It will be a few months until we start to see Android O rolling on all Android devices, but now we know at least what we are missing. We have made the rounds of the novelties in this file which will be charged regularly.

What is Android O Developer Preview?

Google, since the previous versions of Android, deploys a preliminary version of Android. Named “Developer Preview”, this version was released as of March last year. We then took advantage of several versions of Developer Preview, and then enjoyed a final version in the second half of 2016. The schedule will be similar on Android O.

This version is reserved for developers, it allows to use and to integrate the latest APIs of Android and Google Play Services, to allow them to prepare an update of their apps. This “Developer Preview” is a first version that does not integrate all the new features of Android O, but it allows to discover the first features.

Google will then take advantage of the Google I/O to announce the main features of its OS, and announce a deployment date for the final version.

Multi-window

Google is preparing “multi-display support for launching an activity on a remote display”. Basically, Android O would have a “PC” mode in the image of Continuum on Windows Mobile 10. A feature that would make it easier to enjoy big screens of tablets, monitors and TV, allowing to resize the apps encapsulated in windows, like what already allows Linux, Windows or Mac OS. This mode could be activated remotely, it would be enough to connect a screen to its smartphone to activate it.

This feature resembles the multi-window mode that was already enabled in Android N Developer Preview, but was not present in the final version of Nougat.

Besides, there are a number of tricks to use his Android as a PC, waiting for the next version of Android.

Restricted background activity

A power-saving feature, which would make the application’s functions failing in the background, making it easier to charge your battery at the expense of having to reload some application functionality that would otherwise Ticks in the background.

Picture-in-picture

As expected, Android O incorporates a picture-in-picture mode, as on Android TV and iOS. The videos you watch will appear in a small window, allowing you to continue watching your video while using other features of your device.

Multi-tasking management

Android O adopts a multi-task management closer to the operation of iOS. This is a topic we discussed in our folder “Why does Android require more RAM than iOS?”. As of Android 7.0, Android could already restrict certain activities of an application in the background.

Android O continues in this direction: it allows to better manage the priority of the resources of the apps in the background, which will necessarily have an impact on the saving of energy and thus the improvement of the autonomy of the battery of your Android.

Android O thus imposes new limits on developers, who will have to notify the system to access basic services: location, sending of a signal and so on.

Self-completion APIs

It is an API that seems specifically designed for password managers, and all applications that store personal information. Google facilitates the life of these tools by setting up a complete API Autofill API. Concretely, an application such as Dashlane (or its competitors) will be able to more easily fill out your forms (logins, bank cards, addresses) in native applications and web pages.

For Google, this is a more convenient, integrated and secure way to allow self-completion tools (auto-fill) to run on Android.

Manage Notifications

Android 7.0 Nougat had introduced many novelties in the management of notifications, Android O continues in this direction. Indeed, Android O Google makes it easier to group notifications, by type of notifications.

Notifications are always managed by the application that delivers them, but users can better control how things are displayed.

Managing fonts

Android O makes it easy to access custom fonts in applications. The applications will be able to access tailor-made font sets, which also includes emojis. The write font is specified directly in the application’s XML file.

Wider color palette

Android O improves color management with support for several profiles: AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, and DCI-P3. The big difference between these color spaces is their gamut. That is to say the set of colors that they are capable – potentially – of reproducing while retaining nuances. These are essential tools for creative applications, especially for manipulating RAW files, for example.

Adaptive Icons

The application icons will be richer: Android O introduces adaptive icons, which can display a variety of shapes on different devices. For example, a launcher icon can display a circular shape on a specific smartphone and display a square on another device. It is the constructors who provide a mask in their themes, which the system then uses to transform all the icons with the same shape. You can find more details on the official dedicated page.

These adaptive icons will allow developers to better integrate their app icons with alternative themes and launchers.

High-definition audio and connectivity

Google has integrated a number of connectivity technologies: among others, high-quality Bluetooth audio through the Sony TAAC codec. TAAC, with data transmission three times higher than standard Bluetooth, delivers enhanced wireless audio experience.

NAN (Neighborhood Aware Networking), on the other hand, allows two (compatible) devices to communicate with each other.

Much better VOIP Apps

Buried in the change notes is news about a “telecommunications framework”, which will allow VOIP applications to act as the main phone application of the device. Currently, only the classic phone application can trigger most features associated with voice calls, but this framework will allow any (allowed) application to function as the primary application of the phone.

Java 8

Android O also supports the latest version of Java 8, which should ensure better performance for Android applications but also more stability.

Improved WebView and Java 8 APIs

Android O also improves the functionality of the WebView, the WebView component for displaying Web content. This rendering engine has been revised and articulated on Chrome since Android 7.0 Nougat. In other words, developers who decide to display web pages within their application, for example, go through Chrome.

In Android O, the connections will be more secure, and Google ensures more stability.

Android O Developer Preview: What’s New?
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