Ladies and Gentlemen, Say hello to Android O…
It’s almost exactly a year ago, that Google announced the developer preview of Android N and for the second year in a row, Google took the wraps off of a developer preview of the next significant version of Android, “Android O (Just Spitballing here, Android Oreo?)”.
Google isn’t yet telling everything that’s coming in O, and the large developer documentation is still on lockdown, but we do have a number of new features to go over.
As we all know, the first developer preview is not going to be that much stable. Google’s blog post mentions that ”it’s early days, there are still plenty of stabilization and performance work ahead of us. But it’s booting.”
The marquee feature is meant to address an eternal smartphone problem: battery life.
Google’s blog posts says that Android O ”puts a big priority on improving a user’s battery life and the device’s interactive performance.” Google plans to do this by adding “automatic limits” to what apps can do in the background in “three main areas: implicit broadcast, background services, and location updates”.
Let’s discuss what implicit broadcast means in terms of background processing. “Implicit Broadcasts” are device-wide announcements that any app can listen to. In older versions of Android, these were things like “connectivity change” from LTE or Wi-Fi. Any app can sign up to receive these broadcasts and could wake up the second they happened, which is not a great idea for performance.
Google exhibited a “vision” for how background processes would work in a “future release” of Android during its background processing talk at I/O 2016. All implicit broadcasts were shut off, and apps would have to totally rely on job scheduler. Doing this to everything would break a lot of apps, so the proposed change would happen only for apps that “target” the new release. “Targeting” a release of Android means an app is aware of Android features up to that release and would be signing up for new APIs and background restrictions.
|Adaptive icons display in a variety of shapes across different device models.|
The idea is to have your unique icon in the centre of a variable shape, with a background image that can be cut several different ways. This new type of icon will work pretty much everywhere you see an icon-on the launcher, shortcuts, settings sharing dialogues, and the overview screen-and system animation will be correctly applied to the variable shape.
Notification channels let users control your app's notification categories
Android has been the expert when it comes to tweaking the notification system. The big change is that apps can "group" their notifications into categories called channels.
Channels let developers give users fine-grained, control over different kinds of notifications-users can block or change the behavior of each channel individually, rather than managing all of the app’s notifications together.
Tons of new features:
Android users already depend on a range of password managers to autofill login details and repetitive information, which makes setting up new apps or placing transactions easier. Users can select an autofill app, similar to the way they select a keyboard app. The autofill app stores and secures the data, such as addresses, user names, and even passwords.
Wide gamut color support for apps:
Android developers of imaging apps can now take advantage of new devices that have a wide-gamut color capable display. To display wide gamut images, apps will need to enable a flag in their manifest (per activity) and load bitmaps with an embedded wide color profile (AdobeRGB, Pro Photo RGB, DCI-P3, etc.).
Font resources in XML:
Fonts are now a fully supported resource type in Android O. Apps can now use fonts in XML layouts as well as define font families in XML-declaring the font style and weight along with the font files.
In Android Nougat there was an optional multiprocess mode for WebView that moved the handling of web content into an isolated process. In Android O, multiprocess mode stays on by default and also developers will get crash handling in Android O for enhanced security and improved app stability.
If you want to give it a try on your phone you can download a preview from here.
That's about it for now. Stay tuned for more Android O updates on GizmoSpy.