Android Oreo is finally here and brings forth a bunch of smaller features intended to improve the already impressive mobile operating system.
Just a few days ago, Google dropped the final release of Android O, which has been dubbed Oreo. Nexus and Pixel users are the first to get it, with third-party devices expected to follow shortly after. Much like Nougat, it’s a smaller update which focuses on improving a lot of subtle things. The front-end remains much the same, so at first glance you may not realise much is different. If you’re wondering what the update entails, look no further as we’ve got the low-down right here!
Notifications have gotten a big improvement in Android Oreo. Perhaps the biggest aesthetic difference is the inclusion of dots, which act as a visual indicator for an outstanding notification. They also automatically colour code to the app icon itself. The notification dot isn’t just a visual indicator either, it’s also fully contextual. A long button press on the icon will reveal any outstanding notifications which are relevant, plus any app specific shortcuts.
The second big improvement is in the notification shade, which now reveals multiple options when swiped to the side. It’s possible to snooze notifications for periods of time and have them pop-up again as a reminder. Previously, you’d need to use an alarm app to achieve the same kind of prompting.
Lastly, there’s now a full menu which allows complete management of notifications on an application level. It’s possible to edit which apps will show notifications and ensure that they won’t bother you, thanks to a new feature which encompasses the whole notification channel.
Previously available on Android TV only, PiP mode is now finally coming to Android Oreo. Focused mainly on media playback, it allows you to carry on watching a video clip while working within another application. The clip will hover above the active application and can be dynamically moved around or closed, depending on when your boss is looking over your shoulder.
New Screen Sizes
Android Nougat had a maximum screen aspect ratio of 1.86:1, which is pretty much widescreen. With the advent of longer displays like those featured in the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, it has become apparent that a trend towards longer screens is the future. In Android Oreo, Google has got this covered. Applications no longer have a maximum aspect ratio, meaning that app developers will be able to adapt their user interfaces according to new display standards.
Much like a desktop operating system, Android Oreo is now focused on providing solid multi-screen support to non-mobile devices. If an application is running on a device which supports multiple displays, there is the possibility for it to show specific content across different windows. Users can move activity from one display to another using minimal effort.
WI-FI Aware is a fairly new technology, driven by the research and development from some of the worlds biggest tech companies. The idea is to allow devices and applications to communicate based on proximity, using WI-FI as a preferred connection method. This gets over the current limits of Bluetooth protocols, allowing large clusters of devices to communicate with one another. Android Oreo manages all this seamlessly in the background, allowing your handset to poll on the fly.